Friday, April 30, 2010

"It was acceptable at the time"

Hi there,

It's Friday - or at least it is as I type this - so it must be time for another weekly blog post huh?

[ insert long pause here ]

This week has been a bit odd. It feels a bit like I've been treading water. So much seems to have come in - at home and at work - that I can't seem to swim fast enough to make any progress (Ed: keep flogging that analogy). There's nothing major / serious - although we did have a bit of a worry about the dog's health - just a continue flow of stuff that needed to be sorted out. But... it's a long weekend now - thanks to the May Day bank holiday - so no work stuff to have to worry about for a bit. Yay!

I got my P60 this week and for the benefit of our overseas readers, that's a tax form and it tells you what you've earned (and how much tax you've paid) over the year. Looking at the figure made me a little surprised, I suppose the overtime and other out of hours work soon adds up. In that way, I've something to be thankful for. Bright sides eh? ;)

Spare time being rather short this week, I've yet to catch up with emails - so my apologies to those I owe a reply to. The next Chameleons meeting is an 80s Party, so I'm running ideas through my head of what to wear. Funny, I pulled an 80s style jumpsuit off the sale rail the other month - gasped in horror at the baggy trousers + ankle cuffs (!!) - and put it back. Now I think that may have been just right because it was so very wrong. :) Still, there's a decade of mad costumery to go through. Not that I think too much about fashion and/or dressing up :) I wonder how much brain power I must lose to secondary processing over fashion / fancy dress pondering. Still, it passes the time while stuck in traffic (Ed: and meetings :P ).

As I dropped Wee Man off at school in the week, I stood in the playground chatting to him until the morning bell went. There's generally more mums than dads there and of those mum, a number of them will be off to the office after kissing goodbye to their offspring. A lot of them dress very well (IMO) and look good. Some opt for higher fashions rather than the more conservative / corporate look... not that it's a sea of black skirt suits like I imagine the City would be (Ed: and for the ladies, something similar :D ). I did wonder to myself, which fashions of the last decade (or this one coming) will cause people to chuckle and ask themselves why did I wear that?

Take care,

[ Acceptable in the 80s by Calvin Harris ]

Friday, April 23, 2010

"So you might as well be here, where the people care..."


Earlier in the week

Some weeks I start my blog posts way before Friday. Sometimes there's something I want to talk about or a point I feel that needs to be made. Other times it's a case of something to do - an exercise in writing for no reason other than the fun of it.

I had had a few thoughts tucked away for this post, however, having failed to write them down, they have floated off into the ether. So it goes sometimes.  With luck, they come back. In a way, I like to keep an idea in my head and turn it over, like the sea would a pebble, until the rough edge have been worn smooth. Then again, most of what you're reading comes live and direct from my head straight into the keyboard - if there is a such a process, I'm fairly sure it varies from week to week. Still, this is a blog and I never promised quality nor quantity... although I have fallen into regularity. If that's a word :)

The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones was off on business a few days ago and as such, I took the time to assemble a few ideas for the coming visit to Chams - which by the time you read this, will have been and gone. With summer approaching, I'm experimenting with jeans / trousers. I don't know if it's a fashion thing, but of the two pair of leggings I own, they don't fit properly - at least in my mind - around the ankle. They seem... too lose. Not an issue when you're wearing boots, but with ballet pumps or heels, it alters the look somewhat. Perhaps it's back to footless tights? Hmm....

Later in the week

With the magic of television, we skip forward to Friday :) Post-Chams is different. My skin feels better, perhaps it's the moisturising effects of my foundation or the whole cleanse/tone/moisturise routine that follows coming home. My feet are emitting the odd squeak (Ed: not literally) of pain after an evening in heels and my lips feel different to what they normally do. For the last few nights out, I've skipped on lippy and gone with a lip-gloss. The latter I got from Clinique and I love it: it stays put, feels good, colour's great too - what's not to like? :) Do I mind the very minor foot pain? No, not really, in some ways it's a little reminder of what went on. A bit like when you get home from a long walk and while your feet may twinge a little, there's that good feeling of having been somewhere. Not that I recommend trannying and hillwalking at the same time - it seems awfully drafty up on the moors (Ed: t'moors?)... and you'll wreck your stillies. :)

The AGM went well and we had a pretty good turn out too. I took a laptop along and did the minutes. I suppose in some way I'm keen to catch the history of the group. Talking of history, Sandy & Tracey both said that they ended up trawling through this little blog to help them remember what we'd all got up to. See, it's not all me-me-me :) Weak jokes aside, I'm glad that it was useful - I know I've flicked through older posts, so I had something to put on the what goes on part of the Chameleons Web site.

I won't bore you with the full ins and outs of the meeting. The minutes will go on-line later on and I'll put a link to them when they do. One item of interest is that the group is seeking funds from Self Help and if that goes to plan - fingers crossed - it'll help take the worry away over meeting the rent each month. Fund-wise, we're not doing too bad, however, Sandy was saying that ideally we want to keep enough people coming through the doors to ensure we're not dipping into the group's main kitty.

After the AGM I had a chat with the unusual suspects and - of course - a stop for a photo call too. Oh and my previous plan of skinnies, pumps and a top didn't feel quite right on the night. So on went something else instead - yes, I do pack a spare outfit. :) In an effort to return the favour to Sophie and reduce my shoe collection (Ed: that didn't work, 2 new pairs this week, 1 pair out. Do the math, Lynn), I'd brought along a pair of black suede heels (I'm a sucker for that style). Anyways, they didn't quite fit, but they went instead to Alison's misses (whose name I know, but won't pass on). "How do you walk in these things?" she joked. How very true!

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Galvanise by The Chemical Brothers ]

Friday, April 16, 2010

"But this photo of us, it don't have a price"


The slightly empty blogger post box looks back at me. I can think of stuff to write about, but it's beginning it. I mean, I don't know about you, but I do seem to wheel out the same starter lines. (Ed: You've just said one there :P). Anyways, enough with the written warbling - to business! :)

What's been going on? Well, Mrs Jones had a business trip away - so I was house husband for a time. To be honest though, I did rather enjoy it and it beats sitting, staring at a computer screen trying to coax someone else's system design into life. Luckily the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones's return trip was not affected by the ash from the Icelandic volcano. Phew!

I didn't get up to a lot of trans stuff - although I did look through my clothes wondering what should be passed on and/or go to charity. I had a go at modifying a pair of shoes too. Nothing to fancy, just fitting some straps to them. They are rather gorge and they were a bargain (Ed: yes, those 4 quid ones from the other month). Given that spring is trying to push winter aside - and the summer gear is creeping into the high street - I've been wondering about how to get through the summer months. Copious use of leggings and jeans, I think. Peppered with dashes of cute dresses and maybe a hippy-style vest if I'm lucky.

That talk of fashion brings me around to photographs and something that Rebecca asked last time at Chams: "Why do you post photos on-line?" At the time, I couldn't think of a proper answer - not that I laughed her off: clearly that would be rude. Having given it a bit more thought through the week, I'm still not 100% sure. Not that that'll stop me blogging it out loud :)

I guess the brutal - and perhaps obvious answer - is vanity. Yet, for me I don't think it is. To me - and not to jump on Petra's blog posts about the Seven Deadly Sins - that doesn't ring true. I don't think I've ever looked in the mirror and thought I look great! I think the the level of Britishness in my upbringing that puts a halt to such behaviour. :) I think the most I manage is, not bad or that'll do. So if it's not vanity what is it? A sense of belonging? A desire for flattery? Achievement? Wanting to join in the fun? Prolonging the moment through an image? All, some or none of the above? :)

For me personally, I think that prolonging the moment is certainly part of it. I get to look through old photos and besides the outfit, there's the memory of what I had happened around that time too. In the early days, it would have been one of those rare evenings on my tod. Now, in later years. its usually in the company of others, or rarely, when I'm out and about.

No-one likes to be ignored and perhaps there's an element of look at me going on too. Not so much comment if you think I'm cute - because I'm not and neither am I fishing for compliments. I am who I am - a tranny: a bloke in a dress if you will. Okay, sometimes it might be a nicely coordinated dress and accessories, but the truth is still I'm a chap at the core of it. Where am I going with this? :) Comments - yes, I suppose if I just wanted to write for myself, I'd keep a diary off-line. Instead, I have this blog thing and I get ideas, wit and - in some small way - little conversations through this medium....

... but really, maybe it's not those two factors alone: maybe it's acceptance. I can post an image and while, it's taken at face value, no-one laughs out loud or points at them and falls about. (Ed: if they do, they don't post them :P ). I've had criticism and compliments on images. I had one on Roses Forum about beard shadow. You could read that as a bitchy comment, but I didn't. The written word is hard to follow sometimes - I know my ramblings can be :) - so was it advice or a gag? Who can say, but the author?

To wrap up, I have been working my way through the odd fashion blog here and there. It's a fascinating microcosm - a bit like the trannisphere only there's less high street :) - and there seems to be as many photos of bloggers in outfits as there are in our little world. I wonder if they're wondering why they do it too? :)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Paparazzi by Lady Ga Ga ]

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Outside watch the world go by,
Inside time stands still as I wonder."

Hey all,

The last few days seem to have gone by in a bit of a blur. Time has revved up and stood still. Work-stuff, home-stuff and trans-stuff all floating around at once. What do I need to do? What to wear next week? Where am I going next? I think I'm over the jet lag (Ed: I should think so too, lazy mare), so I'm back in the groove of stumbling out of bed after another late night. Perhaps turning in pre-PM would help, but never mind eh? Apologies for the lateness of this post. I arrived home on Friday to find that our Internet connection was dead to the world. Oh well, I guess I'll be catching up with my reading then. :) Roll on WiMax and/or fibre to the home I say. :P

[ Update: Our connection is mostly fixed. Some speed issues, but a slow connection is better than no connection. ]

Day time has been a bit of a rush between meetings at work and running the kids to day care. The Easter holidays are just about over, so we'll be back to the School Run next week. Easter-wise, things went well over the long weekend. We managed a trip to a local castle as it's not far away and the grounds are big enough (and safe) so the kids can run around, climb about and generally let off steam. All good family fun. Today, Mrs J and I tool the kids to a park and the weather was perfect. A wonderful blue sky with clouds like white wisps of candy floss and just the right amount of sun to make it warm, but not hot. To top it off, we had ice-creams all round. Yum. :)

Trans-wise, not a lot to report other than I managed a spot of late night shopping the other night. Nothing hugely exciting - other than groceries - but I did spot a nice pair of black jeggings for a good price. They went in the basket after a quick try on. I guess I'm a bit of a hypocrite in that I like to work 9 to 5... actually, ideally it would be 11 until 2, but the pays not as good. :) But moving on, I like my evening and weekends to be at home, not work. That said, I'm happy to stroll into our local supermarket at PM to buy this, that and the other.

Thursday night rolled around quickly and it was off to Chams for a chat with the TG folk. We didn't have anything special planned, just an evening of good company and conversation. I opted for my ditsy print dress, heels (mais oui) and the new jeggings. I've had the heels a while and they have a studded detail on the strap and back of them. I'm not sure you can make it out of the snap. Oddly, that studded look keeps coming and going... or at least it does in the magazines I read. Not bad for a pair of shoes nearly 3 years old. Still, it's good to have something you can keep wearing.

Later on, Sophie was kind enough to offer me a pair of knee boots and that was an unexpected surprise. She'd taken a gamble on the size, but found that they didn't quite fit. Her loss was my gift, but she stubbornly refused to take anything for them (Ed: We'll see about that. :P ) I also met a new visitor - Penny - and had a bit of a chat. Rebbecca popped in later in the evening and we caught up. She also told me about the Trans-living weekend she went to and the hill running she managed (the latter clearly not in trans mode).

Next time around, in 2 weeks I think, we'll be having a meeting. I don't remember the last AGM but the forum has the details. Given the rises in costs, the group has been searching out grants or other such funding. As part of qualifying for it, we need to have a constitution. Sounds fancy, but I think we'll get it sorted by the end of the evening. The attendance fees have gone up to just under a fiver, but I still think that's good value. We've talked about moving to another location, but really, I like where we are and I think we would be hard pressed to find a venue as good as the one we've got. It's private, the car parking is excellent, we've got the run of the place and... it's starting to feel a bit like home. Not home as in you can kick your shoes off and put your feet up. But the Centre has a certain warmth of welcome. That and maybe a sense of history - although that may only be in my head. Talking of history, I may amend the Cham's website to include some of the stuff we've been up to. I'm hopeful it will give new folk an idea of what we get up to. Well, other than dancing naked around a bonfire, but to be fair, that's only when the moon is full (Ed: and the stars are right?)

Anyway, an evening out with friends for under 5 quid? You'd be hard pressed to get a pint and park at night in Nottingham for that. :)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric My Delirium by Ladyhawke ]

Friday, April 02, 2010

"I've seen life burn bright, I've seen it shimmer,
They fade like starlight to a glimmer..."

Hi folks,

So much for Final Destination - thankfully :) How's things with you? All good I trust!

Yes, I'm back and just about over the jeg lag. The flight was rather long and yes, we were both nervous. Yet, the Fates smiled and nothing serious happened. Yay! Everyone was fine at home and there was smiles all round when we got back. Indeed, a couple of midweek telephone calls seemed to find Wee Man in unusually high spirits, I don't know what Granny had been feeding him, but it can't be legal. (Ed: Child Services, if you're reading this, that was a joke).

Much as I enjoy a bit of travel - except maybe flying - it was good to be back. Back with the kids and good to be home in your own bed. Sure, meals out and the chance for a drink were nice, but I've put 2 lbs on. Bummer :) Oh well. On with the walking shoes and off we go I guess.

The wedding - which was the whole reason we went - was very good. It was outside and the venue looked out over a valley and up into the mountains. Despite people's warnings about it being bitter cold, it couldn't have been better weather. A wonderful blue sky and just the right amount of sunshine to keep us all warm. The bride, well, she looked great. It was a simple dress and shrug which suited her perfectly. The groom - like the rest of us - were dressed very casually, but then my friend B. was never one for suits and ties. The vows were said and readings were made. All very touching. I saw a few folk dabbing at their eyes behind sunglasses... including me (natch).

I'd remembered to bring my camera (and charger) this time around and while I was careful not to wave it around, I got a few pictures. Much of the day is very present in my head as I write this. It's nice to have that record to remind you when the details drift. As I held the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones's hand during the service, I was reminded of my own wedding and how much that meant. You may now honk into a bucket if you wish ;)

Talking to the locals was interesting. I mean, I think it's good to know people from other countries. Much as I liked the holiday, I don't think I'd like to live anywhere other than England. Sure, 90% of the people I meet abroad are pleasant and good natured. Yes, Britain has its fault - and no, don't ask me to list them :) - but I like it here I really do. I guess living just outside a city is fine for me. I get quiet nights but 'civilisation' - if you can call Nottingham that - isn't that far away. To each their own I guess.

Travel also lets you see how other cultures - okay, western cultures - dress. It's interesting - at least to me - to see how some trends are global (Uggs) and which ones are more localised. I guess certain climates and terrain put a limit on what you can wear. Equally, global branding and whatnot push trends across the planet. What I do like to see is how a country - or town for that matter - will take up a trend and make it their own in some small way. It's the little things I guess.

Chams is next week and it seems an age since I last felt the graceful swish of a skirt. Blimey, a long weekend and then a night out with the ladies. My cup runneth over. ;)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Call the Shots by Girls Aloud ]