Friday, December 30, 2011

"Right here, right now,
There is no other place I want to be."

Hi there,

New Year's Eve and the blank page of new day and year will shortly be upon us.... Well, unless you're reading this after the event. In which case, err, hello. :-) Psst, if you're a time traveller, any chance of next month's lottery numbers? :-P

So, Christmas has been and gone in a flurry of shredded paper and sweet wrappers. Honestly, I could be describing the inside of a hamster's cage, rather than the big day at Jones Towers. Really, all went well and good fun was had by all. The nippers didn't get up too early - too early being pre-8AM - and despite both being very excited the night before, they did manage a good night's sleep to set them up for Christmas Day itself.

Presents were enjoyed by all - Wee Man, Little Miss and the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. I'll spare you the gory details and the looks on their faces made all the traipsing around the shops plus wrapping well worth it. I did well too - a few choccies, a kitchen gadget (not in a bad way) and also a very nice bracelet from Mrs J. No, not a man's bracelet, but something I was asked - with a sly wink - to open away from the kids. A very nice item and one that brought a smile to my face. Mrs J's parents turned up later on and by some miracle (Ed: she means Mrs J organising and each of them working together) the Christmas lunch was prepared without a cross word and it all came together nicely.

I've really enjoyed having the time off with my family. Sure, there's been a bit of running around between various in- and out-laws, but in the main, it has gone well and we're slipping into the last part of the holidays in a very relaxed mood. Sure, it'll be a shock to go back to work, but I'm trying hard not the think about that. :-)

One thing I was a little surprised about, was the reductions this year. It seemed that many retailers had decided not to wait until post-Xmas to reduce prices and as such, there were a few bargains to be had if you were quick. I know we did well replacing decorations that had become a bit tired and I was glad I hadn't bought them a week earlier. All pennies saved eh?

Mind you, I then spent said pennies on-line during a few of the sales. Oops. I'd had a look on a few favoured sites and it was as I hit Very that I could no longer resist - especially as two items where just around that tenner mark. What added to the experience was that Mrs J and I were looking together. Not just man and wife, but looking for each other and - as per last time - sharing our views. I really appreciated her time and patience on this - and yes, I did tell her so. She said herself that she was surprised that talking about buying clothes (for me) no longer bothered her.... which made me feel really happy.

Said items have now arrived and with the svelter figure the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is now sporting, she had modelled the new clothes. Yeah, I can't wait to try them all on, but you can't have it all can you? :-) Only a few more days until the next Chameleons meeting.... and then an Invasion at the end of the month. Fingers crossed.

Talking of fingers crossed, I felt that we trans folk are slowly slipping into the mainstream media: what with My Transsexual Summer (Channel 4), Chaz Bono on America's Dancing With the Stars, a CD character in Coronation Street (UK soap opera), etc. Okay, we've still got a way to go, but I am hopeful that each time Joe Public sees us on the street, we become a little more visible, a little less ignorable - is that a word? - and ultimately, more acceptable as just another element of society. You can but hope.

I guess that pretty much brings things to a close for 2011 for me. Thanks for reading / commenting and I hope that 2012 is kind to you.

Look after yourselves,

[ Today's lyric: Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones ]

Friday, December 23, 2011

"I got me a car, it seats about twenty,
So c'mon and bring your jukebox money!"

Hello dear reader,

All ready for the big day? I mean, Christmas, of course, but if you're planning something else cool, good luck with that one too. :-) Here at Chez Jones, after many a long night at the kitchen table, I think we are there in terms of having all the gifts wrapped. I did find one skulking at the back of my Lynn cupboard (!) for Little Miss, but luckily that was a nice easy one to wrap up.

Unusually, the fridge isn't groaning under the weight of enough food for ninety people. This time around we've tried a bit more planning - as way of a change! No, this time, we've pretty much got all that we need and last week's shop means we've got the necessaries in. I do need to get some puddings in for Christmas Day - as the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones's parents will be joining us. That'll please the nippers.... assuming I can get them to sleep on Christmas Eve. :-)

I've fallen behind a bit on my emails - both personally and for the Chameleons group too. Sorry if you're waiting on one from me. I will get back to you as soon as I can. Honest ;-)

Last night was the last Chameleons meeting of this year. We met up for an evening of tea & mince pies. Given the frenzy that surrounds Christmas, doing something laid back was very much appreciated. I had deliberated over what to wear the night before. Oddly, Mrs Jones and I were talking about it as she packed the presents away we'd just finished wrapping up. Why are you taking more than one outfit? A good question and one I still can't answer. I think I go for the scatter-gun approach to dressing up. :-) I took two dresses - patterned brown wrap + pink colour block; separates - cute cardy + short black skirt; lastly a long line wrap cardigan and leggings. Oh, don't forget boots and a set of heels.... and a coat, but we'll come back to the latter. ;-)

I think it's because I'm never 100% sure which way my mood will take me. There is the odd occasion where I look at what I've brought along and thing 'meh'. It's rare, but it happens on the odd occasion, so taking extra items to mix and match is a way to hedge my bets. Take for example Thursday night, I'd gone with the idea of the patterned wrap dress and boots, only to decide on separates instead. Changeable, moi? :-)

Last week I'd almost run out of boob tape - or Zinc Oxide tape to be accurate - and so I popped into Boots to get some. This time they had in some new wide paper tape for injuries (!), so I thought I'd give that spin. Okay, it's not pain free after a number of hours, but certainly easier to put on and certainly more comfortable than the thinner ZO stuff. Also quite inexpensive. Please forgive the chest blemishes - make-up hides a multitude of sins! ;-)

Anyway, while getting changed I had a lovely long chat about music (of all things) with Alison, Amy, Maddy and Sue (I think I'm right with the last name). We're all different ages, so I found it interesting to hear what people liked and how the music they'd started listening to had changed. Certainly, there seemed to be a bit of a rock vibe to the tastes in question, but that seemed to alter as we all got a little older. Twenty five years ago, I guess that's the label the teenage me would have picked, but even back then, I couldn't resist a good dance tune... or some camp pop (Bananarama, Army of Lovers, Pet Shop Boys, anyone? :-P). I guess you can deny all you want, but once you're trans, long will it dominate your destiny. ;-)

After last week's visit to town and Maddy's talk about a Karaoke challenge, I was thinking about visiting the pub again. Yes, a bit naughty, but so it goes sometimes. It's a pain getting changed afterwards, but I was glad we made the effort. Sophie and I said we'd join Sam and company after we'd dropped Kate's car off at the hotel.... oh and after taking a few snaps with Val. Despite being a little late setting off, we were lucky with the parking. I did feel sorry for Sophie in her vertiginous heeled boots. :-) Hell, it's not like I was wearing flats, but extra care had to be taken navigating the hill.

Once inside, Kate treated us both to a drink and we settled down with the Karaoke song list. Chatting and jokes en shewed plus Gayna, Tayna and Sarah arrived. A song was picked - B52's Love Shack - and Maddy and I put our names on the hit list. A few moments later we were giving the song a proper mauling. It was a hoot and I think we both got into it. I'm not sure what the rest of the pub folk made of it, but there were enough smiles to go around. A little later on there was a draw - purely based on luck, not talent - to win a drinks voucher.... and we won! Yay! Free drinks for the Chams Massive!

Sadly, no luck on the aural vandalism around Fairytale of New York as I had to disappear just after midnight.... perhaps much to the relief of music lovers everywhere. I caught Gayna taking a few snaps, so I guess we'll see if they surface on Facebook. Oh and the lady who ran the Karaoke seemed to have a camera with her too. I hope those snaps don't end up on a Pop Music Hit list. ;-) All in all, a really top night and a wonderful way to see out 2010.

I'd just like to thank you for taking the time to read and comments on my ramblings over this past year. All that remains for me is to wish you a very merry Christmas and what 2012 has in store for you, I hope it's only good things.


[ Today's lyric: Love Shack by The B-52's ]

Saturday, December 17, 2011

"Five. Four. Three. Two. One!
Thunderbirds are go!!"

Jones? Jones! Where the in the name of all that's fancy is that... umm... woman? By the sacred bra-strap of Grayson Perry, you better have a damn fine excuse for being a day late!


I came here to drink my tea and blog.... and I've just finished my tea. ;-) Yes, a day late indeed. What is the world coming to eh? Tsk tsk and other onomatopoeia (Ed: Ooo, hark at her!), although for once, I do have a good excuse: Invasion.

Roll back a few months and a few folk got talking at Chams (I think) about 'doing an evening'. Something to fill those empty Fridays between Chameleons, BNO or Leeds First Friday. Like all social groups, there's often a fair bit of chat and exchange of ideas. This one, however, had a life of its own: perhaps helped along by Sam (lady of blog fame) and Maddy (lady of poster fame). Anyhoo, there was an ad on the group's forum, then a TV Chix post and lastly, a Facebook page too. Thunderbirds are go! ;-)

I cross my fingers and checked the family calendar. There's nothing on and as far as I know, nothing planned. I ask the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones if she minds me going along as it'll be 'another night out'. I'm conscious that she's not had a girls night out in December and by the close of the month, I'll have had three. Oops. Bad husband! :-) We have, of late, had a discussions and jokes about my trans state: all in a positive way I should add. Take Monday, for example: we both had a day off to finish off the Christmas shopping... which reminds me... I better finish the wrapping off before bed. Where was I? Oh aye, positive stuff. We bought items for our extended family and chatted without barriers. Forgive me if this sounds a little shallow, but stay with me; we looked and discussed clothes, make-up, jewelry, etc for the lady folk within our social circle and we were fully open: tran and wife if you will. Opinion was asked by both of us over ideas and I felt so at ease; a sense of release if you will.

I had in mind that I needed to buy Sophie a little something and Mrs J offered a few ideas here and there. She asked if there was anything I really wanted for Christmas and honestly, no, from a material point of view, not especially. What about a bracelet or a necklace? Make-up? The offer was genuine and as I gave her hand a squeeze, I couldn't help but smile and say something like that would be great, but I didn't have any wish list in mind. I also thanked her for being so cool about it.

Skip on the big night itself and I'd arranged to pick Sophie up and get changed there. Wee Man had been dropped off with Granny as like a lot of nippers, he likes to stop up and be indulged by grandparents. :-) As the Do didn't kick off until 8ish, I hung back to sort out a bath and story for Little Miss. Sometimes, fighting against the dreaded Tranny Flap (Ed: as in panic. If you thought anything else, you're very rude ;-P ) isn't necessarily a bad thing... plus it gave the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones time to unwind and put her feet up.

Peck on the cheek and Dad duties done, I was out of the door and on my way to Sophie's place. I was, as per, behind schedule, but Soph was cool about that (and was looking cool too!). I bribed her with a free cookie and Xmas present too. :-) I'm also - as Alison will attest to - not the quickest at getting ready. I had a fail over the application of false eyelashes, as for some reason I could not get them to stay. It was akin to wrestling with two drunken spiders covered in InstaStick. :-) I gave up and topped up my mascara to repair the damage. To try and speed up the process, I opted to try the nail wraps I'd bought back in November. While they were not much quicker to apply than nail varnish, they did give a lovely finish.

Once fully fabulous (see below for shot), we got into the car and headed into town. Now, I had made a plan to park in a local secure NCP, but once we were in, I found it shut at midnight. Duh! Cue a quick departure and parking just down from the pub. Luckily not too far to walk and nice and quiet. Bit chilly though and I was glad of my old coat. The funny thing about my coat is that I got it for a few bob in a charity shop. I've looked at replacing it, but not found anything I'm really willing to shell out on. Anyways, I had some lovely comments about it, which changed my perception of it.

[ NB: Talking of nice comments, in a much earlier blog post, I talked about giving compliments. There's a lady at work who has lost a fair bit of weight and really shaped up. Without trying to sound like an old perv, I asked her if she was sticking with the Keep Fit group, she said yes and I said you can really tell. She gave a big smile and said I had been the only person at work to say so.... and that it had made her day. Yay for good feelings! ]

The New Foresters was lively and I spotted a number of T folk in the crowd. The pub has a lovely welcoming feeling to it. The people within were welcoming and I felt very relaxed there. Sophie and I bumped into Tanya and a few trans peeps we didn't know (from the 'sarf' apparently, but iffy jokes aside, they were cool :-P ). We mingled, caught up with Maddy, Sam, Mrs Sam, took some snaps and had a few soft drinks before heading off to the second venue of the night - D2 - and I was glad of my coat! Brrr!! Well, except for Crystal who said she's used to far chillier temperatures. :-) It was an odd experience walking down the road in a city you know while in trans mode. I guess being well out of the usual Lager Loon areas helped, but I was a bit nervous and I was glad we went as a group.

By this point I had to spend a penny and after I managed to find a loo that had a lock, I then had to faff about sorting out padding and whatnot. Oh the vanity eh? A quick lippy and hair check, then back to the bar. I caught up with Maddy and we managed to catch up (despite the noise) over what she's been up to and how things are going. Woo, that place was *loud* but the dance floor was good and old-duffer-in-waiting that I am, I didn't recognise any of the tunes (but then I've never really been a clubber) until a Katy Perry remix came on. Okay, I'm a trans cliche, so sue me. :-) It wasn't long before the dance floor was a-jumping and then we had to head off NG1 (next door).

Getting in before midnight meant we'd not have to pay. It's been a while since I've been to a club and having my handbag checked was a new experience. The bouncers were gents and we were in quickly. Sophie was kind enough to take a snap of me (see right) as I'd being taking snaps of people through out the night. By now time was marching on and I was aware that Sophie said she didn't want to be out until the wee hours. Neither did I as I know Little Miss doesn't really do lie-ins and it would have been wrong of me to try and blag a sleep-in as well as a night out. We said our goodbyes and headed off. A quick walk back to the car and then off to Sophie's house to get changed and go home.

All in all, a truly great night out. Top job to Sam and Maddy for organising!

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: The theme from Thunderbirds. F.A.B! ;-) ]

Friday, December 09, 2011

"I'm gonna marry the night,
I won't give up on my life,
I'm a warrior queen,
Live passionately tonight"

Hello again dear reader,

Today's post is live and direct from the top of my head. Nothing like winging it to give a completely unstructured and somewhat disjointed blog post. Mind you, I'm assuming you don't come here for quality writing. :-)

In the main, this week's been kind to me... which makes for good news. I did have a bit of a grump earlier on, but in the big swing of things, you have to let some work stuff just go and move on. You can't win them all. Sure, I guess you should aim to make things work, but equally, I'd say that at a certain point, you need to stop, rethink and if necessary, admit that some things - technically or politically speaking - just aren't going to happen.  Skip on a few nights and I couldn't quite see what all the fuss was about. :-)

Dark skies are not forever

Midweek I had my review appointment with a counsellor and it seemed to go well. I did go through a few of the same questions my doctor asked, but that's to be expected and not a big worry. I did clam up and then the tears came suddenly when I was asked....

Funny thing is, I don't feel that I should worry about the reply to the question because this - this blog - is supposed to be warts and all (Ed: you can get cream for that). Yet here I am dilly-dallying around the answer because... because I'm... embarrassed by the answer. Deep breath.

I was asked "have you though about ending your own life."

It took me a moment to answer, just as it's taken a moment for me to put the above line on the page. The answer, was yes; I had considered it, but not now. Only when it [the depression] was at its darkest, did I think about it. Before you panic, that was then and a lot has changed. It was also one of those 'what if?' moments where - and I do this mental exercise quite a bit - what if I do X? What would happen? What would the consequences be? So it was with suicide too. It would stop the pain, yes, but I would not be here. Yeah, to state the obvious, but then logic when you're ****ed up do not make easy bedfellows :-). Did I plan it all out? No, but I had thought about it and no, I'm not saying this for sympathy. I'm mentioning this because if you ever feel that way: talk to someone, anyone, please. There, that's my Xmas wish that any of us don't go down that route.

I was then asked, "why didn't you?" and there's two elements to that. My first is that a few years ago, I remember reading about a young chap who topped himself, leaving behind a wife and two kids. No doubt the gent in question was suffering greatly, enough to drive him to such an act. As I sat in the car some twelve months ago with the wind and rain beating against the window, the memory of that article came back to me. Family. I would not let this... illness?... take me away from them. Yes, it's my life, but to put them through that, it was the proverbial slap in the face I needed to get myself together.

The second element was something I've mentioned previously. When things were really bad, emotionally, I was a mess. Perhaps oddly, logically, I was with it. It was almost as if the logical side could say "Yes, it hurts. Really hurts, but you can beat this. Don't give up."

I guess it was right. Life moves on. Things get better. I get better and with help, I'm getting better each day. Although I can remember those events - that day sat in the car just numb - emotionally, I can't connect with what went on. It's a bit like.... walking out of the woods. Leaving a cold forest and as you walk into the sun, you can feel the shadows falling from your back.

That or I've had too much cheese before writing this. :-)

So, the upshot of all of the above is I guess I'm due to have my head examined by a professional. I don't think anything will happen before Christmas, but I've got quite enough to be doing between now and New Years. I think I'll need January as a rest month. What about you? All sorted yet? Larks, I've not even begun the wrapping.


Those of you with eagle-eye action will have noticed the email form buried someway down the right hand side menu. It's funny - and not so much funny-ho-ho - that most of the comment traffic comes in via the comments feed and that suits me just fine. After all, I like to think of this blog as a place to chat about stuff. Where was I? Oh aye, contacts. Well, this week I've had a sudden rush of folk writing in. None of it trans related per say. Two were marketing firms and I'm a little confused as to how I'd be able to assist, but that's more me being a numpty.

The other two were from two bloggers, so if you fancy a read of something different - different from my navel gazing and wardrobe wanderings, there's The Gay Stage (which is theatre / media news from a LGBT view) and the Slope Show which is a about a lesbian comedy. Seriously, go take a look, you might enjoy them! Oh, one last thing, I had an email from the Transgender e-bulletin and the findings from their survey are now on-line (well, that and other news!).

Party Time!

Moving on to jollier news, it was time for the Chameleons Christmas party. Owing to a slightly overlook on the planning department, we had to do much of the "who's bringing what" game on the forum. Despite my slight worry that we'd have half a loaf of bread, eight sausage rolls and a cake to feed thirty of us, my worries were for nought and everyone pulled together. The tables were very full and it was lovely to see so many home made treats. H had made a lovely cake - which I missed, rats! - and there were some yummy roasted veggies and very tasty treats.

After getting changed upstairs - including the very careful application of my new tights - it was downstairs to help set up. Luckily I'd remember a knife to carve the french sticks I'd brought along and with the weather being so cold, it kept the chilled items suitably cool in the back of the car. Not that I enjoyed fetching them in the blustery weather.

As a bit of a change, I decided to forgo nail varnish and go with the false nails I'd won in a previous raffle. Honestly, I don't know how women who have long nails get anything done! Now I remember why I stick to just pretty colours rather than a longer length. Still, no visitors were harmed during the food prep. :-)

I'd wrapped a small gift for Tracey and Sandi as a thanks for all their hard work during the year. Yeah, I do a little bit with the emails and web site, but between them, the admin - paying the bills et al - gets done without any fuss, so I felt it was only right to pass on a note of thanks. Sophie, the wee minx, surprised me with a card and small pressie (Ed: I wonder what it is?) which was both very nice and very unexpected. Then Amy did the same and I felt thoroughly spoilt and very pleased at the same time.

I had remembered the laptop, so we had a few tunes as background noise - the real dancing didn't start until much later. There was plenty of chat, time to catch with old friends and new visitors (Hi Melanie!) alike. We had the obligatory raffle and I won some chocolate for my Dad.

As we had a late night extension, there was chance for a spot of dancing and Tanya had me in stitches with her big-box-small-box-light bulb rave spoof. It loses something in the written vibe being a visual gag. Anyways, much fun was had and my tights did manage to survive the evening.

Alison was kind enough to provide a quick snap of my outfit and the dancing meant I got to road test (?) my shoe boots. Fingers crossed all goes well for Nottingham Invasion next week. I just hope it's not quite so windy and cold! ;-)

One thing about the self-adhesive nails, there came off quickly and a lot less of a faff compared to removing polish. Oh the vanity! :-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Marry the Night by Lady Gaga. Currently my tune du jour - (soir?) - and I did enjoy dancing to it. ]

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Turn me around and take me back to the start,
I must be losing my mind,
I've seen it all a million times."

Hi there,

Blimey, it's turned a tad chilly of late hasn't it? Righto, that's the obligatory English conversational invitation over with, shall we move on? :-)

I think the warm November had softened me up a little. I certainly wasn't ready to be sat on the wrong side of cold in the office today. Luckily we have an emergency heater that we keep stashed in the draw - just don't tell Estates. Shhh. :-)

Despite the lack of sunlight and cold, cold weather, I'm enjoying December. I think it's the run up to Xmas and all that it entails. Despite being slightly less flush in the bank department than last year.... Well, that's not strictly true. The Ever Lovely Mrs Jones's salary and mine haven't gone down per say, I think it's more that a lot of other items (like food and fuel) have gone up. We'll have to cut back on running the fire with wads of fifty pound notes at this rate. :-)

Still, the good news is that we're pretty much done on the gift front. The kids and close family are  sorted and just the other day, I had a day out shopping with my sister. She got a few items for the Jones collective and I finished off my shopping for the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. As Miss Jones lives further afield than us, I don't see my sister as frequently as I once did. In many ways, she's at the other end of the economic scale with being a working parent and having an absent CSA dodging ex-husband. Cue plenty of chatter about how things are, a number of coffee breaks and liberal use of the bank card. We stopped off in Debenhams so she could get some more eyeliner. "Which should I get?" she asked.

"The purply one as it'll go with your green eyes." At least, that's what the lady from the Body Shop had told me back in the day.

The make-up lady nodded too, so Miss J asked: "How do you know that?"

"I'll tell you when you're older." :-) Which is a pants line, but I couldn't think of much beyond the truth and I think that may have been too much. Besides, when you're having a good time, why bring it down? She laughed and we moved on. All in all a very nice day and reasons to be cheerful!

Talking of which, I made my initial appointment with the therapist today. It's for next week and it's a sort of... investigation type thingy... where they talk things over and find out if it'll help. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. Can - or even should I - stay on the anti-miserablist tablets long term? I don't know the answer to that. I do know that the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones has been looking into depression from a chemical angle (she's clever like that) and talk with someone at her work suggested that folk of my genetic origins may benefit from a healthy does of vitamin D (just bought), regular exercise (check) and keeping busy (check).

So far, so good which will put Monday's brief bad spell way behind me. I think it was a combination of a very busy weekend (from a work point of view), missing my tablet and then having a sh** day at work. There I was, pulled up in a lay-by in the dark watching the occasional car (Ed: what's an occasional car look like? :-P) drift by my rural hideaway. I think all of the previous - coupled with being tired - had built up to the modern cliche of a perfect storm. Off we went with the usual feelings of despair and half a pack of tissues used to dry the tears. Trannys eh? We're a mess. Depressed, self absorbed ones, doubly so. :-)

Yet as the tidal wave of emotion ebbed, the logical side of me (Ed: thanks Spock) realised I'd been here before and..... I'd survived. Pull yourself together, you've been through worse, I said aloud, wiped my eyes and turned the engine over. Macho BS aside, there are times when you've got to push the Black Dog back and walk away from its cloying embrace. I think it's still sat waiting in the bushes by the side of the road. It can bloody stay there too. :-)

With the above negativity out of the way, I can move on to happier news. I popped round to see Sophie on Wednesday night and much was said over tea and just the right amount of cake. I was in bloke mode, Sophie wasn't. We had a good old chin way about various things and a damned good laugh. Again, reasons to be cheerful as Mr Dury once sang. We had a brief chat about My Transsexual Summer and how that - and films - could push our emotional buttons. I know that Mrs J and I were both very moved by the hopes part from Trans-Summer (apologies for the contraction!) and for me, the comment - and I paraphrase - "these are my streets and I should walk them" struck home.

I've got a short list of stuff to do for next week: mend my dress properly this time, try to buy some of those sheer tights with the big stars on, sort out some new tracks for the Chameleons Christmas Party (thank you Lady GaGa) and help sort the food out too. Should be interesting.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Paradise City by Guns and Roses... or Iron Horse if you like a bit of bluegrass. ]

Friday, November 25, 2011

"Open up your eyes,
You can't turn back the tide."


Another weekly post eh? ;-) Funny, I had a collection of things I wanted to talk about, yet now, as I sit here typing, they've all scurried away to hide within the proverbial shadows.

(Ed: temporal time distortion approaching team.... Yes, Lynn did write this bit earlier ;-) )

If I look to my right and out of the window, I can see rolling hills, the near empty branches of trees and some rather bushy connifers. The sun's spilling out a warm golden light to the day and yet when I track up to the sky, it seems cold.

Other than the exercise of description and a push to get me to actually type something, the above seems fairly indicative of my mood. For the most part, all is well, yet there is this nagging gap that I can't quite put my finger on. I suppose like the occasional arrival of a cool, but unwelcome draft.

Anyway! Enough of the negative, on with the good news. Thursday meant it was time for a night out. As per, I'd planned two outfits, but my heart - or perhaps my fashion Spider Sense - wasn't fully with it. Luckily, taking a couple of items packed meant I had options.

I was a little late getting changing as I stopped to say hello to one of the staff who worked at the Centre. Sue was having problems with her email, so being the helpful sort, I offered my services and got things working. It's not like it took long and as the Centre staff have been good to us, I feel it's a good thing to help in return.

Leaving Sue to catch up with the email, I headed off to get changed. I've started to do my make-up first, mainly as that lets me chop and change outfits later to suit. That, and being an early bird, I'm normally finished with the mirror as the other folk turn up. I was pretty much done when the others rolled in. One of the new folk - Sarah I think - was kind enough to say some nice things about how I'd done my eyes.

Talking of make-up, Amy had bought herself her first lot and - by her own admission - not being sure over the how's and the what's, she ended up quizzing, Maddy, Alison and myself.... oh, and a bit of help applying said items too. It's not easy when you first start out and I know I'm still learning despite all the hours I've put in. ;-)

What with the computer fixing and make-over, I was a little late getting downstairs. The place was packed too - not that that's a bad thing. Indeed, quite the opposite as it means there's lots of folk to talk to and it keeps the group's funds topped up nicely. Maddy had printed off the posters for Nottingham Invasion. Bless her, the minx had sneaked in my gag as a tag line: "Men in tights: a Nottingham tradition." I'll slip Mel Brooks a pint when I see him next. ;-)

After 9ish, the place thinned out as a number of folk set off to The New Forestters. I sort of fancied it, but at the same time, it's a faff getting changed compared to the facilities at the Centre and as I was a bit tired, I gave it a miss. There are times where the need for a good night's kip overrides the Tranny Force ;-)

With the Unusual Suspects out of the door, so the evening rolled on. There was then the obligatory photo shoot (not that I'm complaining!), tidying up and sorting out the pots. After that, I scooted upstairs to get changed. I did delay a little as I wanted to try my shoeboots out. I was wondering if they'd be suitable for dancing in - seeing as it's the Xmas Party next time around (December 8th). The reminds me, I best get the group's web site updated and put something in the forum too.

Jayne's organising a meal out in Nottingham before Christmas and I hear through the grapevine that some of the Centre staff are going along too. How cool is that? As Sandi said, that's acceptance! :-)

Anyways, all in all a good night out with good company. I did make a bit of a boo-boo by almost forgetting to take my nail varnish off. Luckily Alison saved me from that one. Shame in a way, it was a lovely colour. ;-)

Oh, one parting shot before I go: if you've been watching My Transsexual Summer, are you getting a bit fed up of the employer's line of "what about the punters?" Personally, I don't give a hoot who serves me, so long as they're polite and my drink arrives on time! :-) I really hope that that programme help non-trans folk understand what some of our community have to go through.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: It's No Good by Depeche Mode ]

Friday, November 18, 2011

"You known I can't believe it,
when I hear that you won't see me."


This time around it's a quiet week and as I've said before, quiet isn't necessarily bad. Sure, I don't mind watching a bit of drama second hand - so books or film - but experiencing it first hand isn't always quite so welcome. :-)


Mid week I booked an afternoon off to do a spot of shopping. Not the trans stuff, but the more mundane things such as new bloke clothes. My trainers have reached optimum comfort, which in real terms, means they are in danger of dropping to pieces when I least expect them too.

I also kept my eye out for some Xmas gifts and when you spot something that's just right, it can pay to pounce on said item before you forget or it goes out of stock. I did spot some nice items for the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones, so on a whim, I decided to check another store. Luckily for me, that paid off as there was a Three for Two offer. Handy as I was already in there buying make-up, although sadly, there were no special deals on this time around. I also managed to get Wee Man's fancy dress costume sorted out for his mate's birthday party and remember to get said mate a present.

While looking for men's shoes, I did see some rather nice biker style boots. Okay, not what I'd gone in to town for, but hey, when fortune smiles eh? :-) I decided not to invest because I've got a few pairs of heels and with Mrs J's feet being the same size as mine, we pool our boot collection.

As Invasion Nottingham is on the cards for next month, I did try on a coat in New Look, but it wasn't really me. The Invasion gig has been masterminded by Sam and I'm hopeful that'll be a good night out. I know a number of the Chams massive are going, so fingers crossed. Maddy is working on a poster and when that's ready, I'll ask about re-posting it here.

I had read on-line about a series of new bras. Debenhams seemed to be the first to market and like most fashions and technologies, it didn't take long for competitors to catch up. To that end, I did try the M & S Double Size bra. I guess you'd call it a Wonderbra on steroids. I sort of worked with just the one set of boob enhancers (aka chicken fillets), but not with both and really, it didn't do a lot for yours truly. Perhaps on a (genetic) lady, it would work wonders. So back that went.

You researched what?

Being both a nosey so-and-so and part of what some folk call alternative lifestyle.... although for the record, I think we trans folk are born this way (baby), so it's not really a choice. To boil it down to a soundbite, I think the only choices elements are being open, closed or somewhere in-between. But that aside, I find studies into us human folk rather interesting.

Anyhoo, a friend sent me a link to a presentation called A talk based on A Billion Wicked Thoughts. Research based on sexual behaviour, in this case, pornography access within the Internet. The YouTube video is here and while it contains adult themes, it's not graphic, although some terminology may offend. It's also just under an hour, so happy viewing.

One of the items mentioned was the popularity of she-male porn (if you're short on time, it's about 22 minutes in). Larks, just writing that is going to produce some interesting search hits isn't it. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea! ;-) If type of 'entertainment' is that popular with straight men, does this explain admirers? Does it also go someway to answering the notion - incorrect in my view - that trans folk are always 'up for it'? What I mean is, if Joe Public keeps seeing images of trans folks in erotica and not the real world, does that twist mainstream society's view of us. Questions, questions eh?

On that note, cheery bye and have a nice weekend.

[ Today's lyric: Don't You Want Me by The Human League ]

Friday, November 11, 2011

"Because the plot thickens every day,
And the pieces of my puzzle keep crumblin' away,
But I know, there's a picture beneath"


It's been a bit of a mixed week this time around. Mostly good, with what really shouldn't be a big deal. Shall we get on with it then? Oh and a brief apology as this week's entry is rather lengthy.

The Trans Factor

Channel Four recently started a new series called My Transsexual Summer. I guess that's following the idea of X number of folk of a particular type, get them under one roof and film them. There was a show earlier in the year called Seven Dwarves which featured - wait for it, wait for it - a number of vertically challenged people who shared a house. AFAIK there wasn't a bird from a glass coffin who did the housework. ;-) Okay, that's the last of the fairy tale gags, I promise! I guess it was a sort of old school fly-on-the-wall reality TV programme. As opposed to 'reality TV' where no celeb folk are interviewed, labelled (the funny one, the cute one, etc) and the subjected to events that wouldn't happen in the real world (Big Brother, etc). Maybe it's unfair to be so overly cynical of television programmes, especially as I seem to watch less and less these days, but a bad show leaves bad vibes.

I did watch it and I did feel for those of them transitioning. I mean, there are ups and downs associated with being trans. The whole coming to terms with it, being able to be yourself, buying the right clothes and going out. That last point splits into two: firstly, as a common-or-garden tranny, I spend my working life in Bob Mode and I don't have to face the Big Bad World in Lynn Mode unless I want to. To that end, I guess I'm shielded from the discrimination that full time trans folk may be exposed to... and as if on queue, there was a brief part showing bigots doing what bigots do best (Ed: that's right, acting like a w***er). That was something the Every Lovely Mrs Jones picked up on. She said that it was one of the things she worried about when I went out. Not so much Chams, but out to trans events; what if you bump into some thugs? You only need to be unlucky once, etc.

I suppose the personal safety bit comes back to a conversation I had with Maddy. Things such as being careful where you go, avoiding dark/quiet alleys (unless you're a vampire, vampire slayer or even both), etc. I don't consider myself to be female, although when it comes to being out and about, I do find myself thinking is where I'm going safe for a woman on her own? Simple things like avoiding dodgy areas or not being on my own when it's kicking out time at the local lager lout venue.

Worse things happen at sea!

I've been running low on the anti-miserablist tablets for a while. That was mainly due to me feeling fine and as such, I didn't feel I needed to go back to the doctor. Errk, wrong answer, Hans! Not getting my finger out to go see the doctor meant I was down to taking one every other day and yes, I did notice then. I started to feel like I was starting to circle around the dark, or perhaps more accurately, I could feel the depression beginning to come back into my thoughts. I think it was temporary as provided I'm on the happy pills (not that they actually do that), I'm okay. I suppose it was a combination of brain chemistry, thinking over what I saw on Transsexual Summer and the Tranny Force. The latter has been quite strong of late. What really worries me - terrifies me at bad times - is that's the route I'm headed for. Don't get me wrong, if you're walking that path, good for you. I'm not here to disrespect your choices, what I'm talking about it my fear of losing my family, the people I hold dear, the idea that going full time is my only route out of depression. Well, it scares the sh** out of me.

So I did my best to be honest with the doctor and not do that typically English thing of stiff upper lip / putting a brave face on it. I answered his questions as best I could and tried not to steer the conversation, just let it happen. Now, I've got another few months of tablets to keep the Black Dog at bay and I'm on the list to talk to a therapist. The doctor's word were: "for some, the medication is keeps you going until the issues are over, but if the underlying problem hasn't been addressed, they're not much more than a sticking plaster."

It made sense to me and I should be getting a call later in the month. Going on from the worry about full time, that fits in with a conversation I had with Sam. She asked, where is the compromise between the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and myself? It's a tough one to answer, because each couple's relationship is complicated and unique to them. What works for one, may not work for another and other cliches. Without being rude, I suppose I can see her point of view. Equally, I can see Mrs Jones' wishes and 99% of the time, the fully carpeted legs / arms and non-pierced ears are fine. Just flights of fancy..... yet.... there are times when I feel locked away. I guess it's only human to want more, but at the same time, I'm fairly sure that going too far down the trans route will mean I run the very strong risk of losing the lady and children that I love. I don't want to pay that price. It's too high. Ahh, but if life were simple, we wouldn't need blogs eh? ;-) I'm hopeful that talking to someone professionally will help. Maybe it's not all trans related doom and gloom, merely an aspect of who I am? Maybe there's another something lurking within my psyche, or - as a mate once said - maybe you're just a morose c***. :-D

Out and About

On to brighter news! It was time for Chams again and all went well. The previous tenants departed on time and I had a nice chat with a member of the local council about it. The chap in question pretty much repeated the local clerk's position on the matter of us staying and that he - and the rest of the borough massive - were with us. If we're happy, they're happy. Good news eh? Oh and I got an email along the same lines.

It was also an evening of new folk. We had a visit from a young lad from Sheffield way. Bless him, he'd been waiting outside patiently and then after seeing me draw the curtains upstairs, he came up to knock on the door. "Is this the meeting?" comes a voice from behind the door.

At this point, I've got most of my lady gear on and I'm just putting my lippy away. "Which meeting would that be?" Thing is, we've had folk come to the centre on other business and you really don't want to be exposing Joe Public to a half-made up tranny at the best of times. Hell, it's not always safe to expose some of them to a fully made up one either. :-)

"The Chameleons Group?" At this point, I let him in and we had a good chat while Gayna and I finished getting ready. I'll leave the personal background aside, but the 'L' poor dear had been outted by an ex. Why do some partners do that? I think it's really low. What was good is that while some friends had been a bit funny about it, most were not and just accepted him. Maybe there's hope for us all yet eh? ;-) His current girlfriend seems much more accepting and encouraged him to come along. I think it's cool when folk fight the fear and come along.

Anyways, downstairs and feeling much chipper, I mingled and chatted. Later on Amy turned up and I had remembered to bring in my spare wig for her. She seemed very happy with it and as Maddy said, the jump between your male self and you with a wig on really helps with the self image. I wasn't giving it away, so I let Amy hang on to it for an evening's test drive. I've had a lovely email from her, which makes the organisation (well, what little I do) very worth while.

Val had been snapping pictures of the group on and off for a few months now. Not so much the posed tranny images we all know and love, but more crowd scenes: images of folk talking, life shots if you will. Anyway, her 'Valbum' was brought in and I'm hopeful I may be able to get a few to share within FlickR. I think it's a cool way to capture what's going on in the group. Talking of snaps, Gayna kindly volunteered - or was volunteered, I'm not sure! - to take a group shot of us.

We also had a visit from two new folk: one lady had been before, but many moons ago, whereas the other hadn't been out before. Understandably she was very nervous, so you do you bit to make people feel at home. Try to reassure them, get them a drink and let them settle in slowly. Jayne, bless her, also popped in to the kitchen to have a chat. It's good in that it lets people circulate and they're not stuck with having me prattle on.... like you are now..... Bugger. :-)

The evening few by and I enjoyed catching up with new and old friends alike. We had a quick photo session and then I joined the girls for a swift half at the local gay pub. I had said no previously, however this time.... I decided to go. I'd heard that the parking was right outside, so it was less than a stone's throw from the car to the bar. I didn't stay long because I was conscious of the time and I didn't need yet another late night. It was fun to be out after what would normally be going home time, that and a little long to chat.

Talking of night's out: Sam's planning Invasion Nottingham which I'm keen to go to (16th December). Not just because of it being a good night out, but because of all the hard work she's put in. I think it's great that folk grasp the nettle and organise stuff. Mrs J is cool with me going, so it's a case of sorting out something I can dance in. Step on! ;-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Falling to Pieces by Faith No More ]

Friday, November 04, 2011



Not so long ago, the conversation at a tranny do swung around to blogging. I think it may be been Rebbecca who asked: when do you find time to write? The short answer is as and when. Of course being a blogger, a short answer strictly won't do.... :-)

Since my teen years, I'd frequently have a scrap of paper / notebook and obligatory pen too. Back then, I'd get ideas for a story, a joke (sometimes slight amusing) or an idea for a computer game or RPG. Now, the ideas tend to be for a blog post or a short story. An item of conversation or unusual circumstance will occur and a small invisible light bulb (Ed: no, I don't know what invisible light looks like either) would switch on somewhere above my head. My memory being what it is, I now write these fleeting thoughts down and come back to them at a later date or when I'm in the right frame of mind.

Maybe that cliche about the Muse rings true: I do find it easier to write when I'm in the right mood. It seems that the words come relatively easily and I can rattle off a good few paragraphs in what seems like no time at all. Most of the time, I'm happy with that, but there are also times when ideas don't come so easily. Then I have to really think hard - something I'm not so good at - and force an idea out, on to the virtual page.

So other than a small slip of paper to jot down my thoughts, there's also the where and the when of it. Again, if the mood strikes me and I have the time, I'll start up Notepad or maybe Yahoo Notes to jot down some ideas. Subject to making a gap, I may flesh the ideas out. Oddly, I don't tend to open the Blogger interface until I'm ready to upload something that's most of the way there. Sure, there's a little tinkering that goes on before hand, but if I'm lucky, I have something ready for Friday night.

That's the what and the where out of the way. I guess the 8.34 million euro question is the why? Partly because I like the process of writing: trying to tease my thoughts in to some coherent order and pick through what's going on in my life (Ed: she's making that last bit up, I'm sure). The other part of it is that here I can pretty much rattle on about anything I like. In Bob World - oh and that's Bob as in him and not bob as in "that's a lot of bob" (Ed: to overseas' readers, bob = sh**) - there are conversations that I just don't have.

Today for example, someone asked what I'd got up to the other day and the truth of the matter is that I'd popped out for a spot of shopping with a (trans) friend. I saw the most gorge dress (sadly too small and rather expensive, but hey, a t-girl can dream right?) and had a lovely long chin wag + lunch with Sam..... but [sigh], that's not the sort of talk I can have with work mates or folk I'm not out to. Hence this blog. It's a place where I can talk about the trans stuff, hell, any stuff. If I'm lucky and the post interests you good people out there, you comment and it sparks more conversation.

I may have mentioned this before, but I have my own personal deadline of Friday evenings. Sure, as I've just said, I do rattle off the odd post (like now) prior to that. Yet, perhaps a third of the time, I'll be typing away frantically after the kids are in bed, trying to finish a post off (like now). I guess part of it is getting my head around what's happened in the week, maybe even getting something of my chest and having the proverbial air clear for the weekend.

Looking back, Friday evenings had a certain magic to them: a level of promise of what might be. You had no school to worry about and indeed, in my adult life, it's been a long time since I've had to work a weekend. Going back a bit, I have worked shifts and I hated doing so. Again, we come back to the magical charm of Friday night / Saturday morning. Knowing you had to get up and haul on the shirt + tie one more time... Yeah, well, on the upside; I don't have to worry about that anymore.

I've mentioned time a couple of... times?... and if there's some hobby I want to do, something else has to give. There just aren't enough minutes in the day - or an evening in my case - to watch TV, read, blog, email, Facebook, etc. Perhaps there's a certain irony that with all the new television channels we have, I now watch less than I did when we had only four. There are some good shows on, but now I look at the reviews, shrug and just don't bother. Viewer apathy eh?

Anyways, that's enough chat from me for another week. Enjoy yourselves (not like that! :-P ) and stay safe!


PS; I've updated the Resource panel at the bottom right of the screen. There are now more links to research into trans behavior and some help guides from the National Health Service.

[ Today's lyric: Last Friday Night (TGIF) by Katy Perry... which I guess doesn't mean Transgender Information Force. ;-) ]

Friday, October 28, 2011

"And the fellow's blue and gray,
or sometimes pink and green,
just check it out on Halloween!"


Crikey, Friday already! Despite a brief panic over household funds (well, mainly by me!) within the Jones household, all has been well this week. It seems we may need to tighten our collective belts as food and fuel prices continue to rise like a politician's schoomze fund. Without wanting to sound like a big head, our combined incoming isn't bad, so for those who are less that flush, things must really be starting to bite. On the upside, we don't get paid in Euros. ;-)

It was the Chameleons Halloween party last night and rather good it was too. We had a Chinese meal and Sandi & Tracey did a top job of making the place look very nice. Rather than the usual row of tables, we had pumpkin lanterns*, tablecloths and fancy lights for the disco. Yes, I did bend a few ears with my choice of music, but I did try to keep it fairly mellow and it's not like I didn't offer other folks the option. ;-)

( * BTW, the lanterns were kindly donated to Wee Man and Little Miss. They spent the evening turning all the lights off in the house and having their own ghost hunt. All very cute! ).

The only snag for Thursday was the new early evening tenants. The rooms the group has booked are outs from 7.30 and there's a Karate Group who use the gym facilities until just before 8. They're a cool bunch and we get on just fine. However, another group - who shall remain nameless - have booked the Centre's hall up until 7.15. Fine by us and really, none of our business... unless said group are a) overrunning and b) making transphobic mutterings. They overran into our last meeting and we gave them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes stuff does lag and five minutes: is it worth getting into a flap about? Anyways, this week, they were taking the liberty as it wasn't until nearly 7.45 that they left and when the did, it was in a defensive huddle as if they'd be set upon by murderous trannys. :-) I've had a word with the Centre's organiser - a lovely lady - and she's going to explain the rules over booking. It was good to hear that we're - and I quote -  "part of the furniture" and that we're no trouble. Hell, we tidy up, pay on time and there's never any funny business. Trans folk eh? How bloody dare they :-D

On to better news; the evening went well and it was good to see a few new folk coming back for another visit. Debbie mentioned that a member of her family was a dab hand with a camera, so that's something to consider for another evening. A group portrait would be good and much as the one on the main site is a top job, it's been there a while and an update would help the main site. The only snag is a decent background, so I guess I'll be hunting for either a loan backdrop or another big sheet! :-) I said a brief hello to Vanessa (who came dressed this time around) and then another hello to another Vanessa who came for her first visit.

As it was a party night, I decided to rev the make-up up a notch: sparkly eye make-up and fluttery lashes. Certainly not a daytime look, but it was Halloween. :-) This evening's outfit was the purple dress that I thought I'd fixed last week. It seems that while my needlecraft isn't too off the mark (Ed: you big Mary), I did miss two small gaps in the seem. It being a bodycon stylee, yes, they did show on occasion. Oh bugger! :-) Still, I wasn't the only one with dress issues: Maddy had bought the wrong sized tights, so I gifted her with my emergency pair of opaques. In return she passed along some shoes and the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones liked those. We had a good old chat about this, that and the other which was great. As I mentioned above, we were late getting downstairs because of the other group overrunning. Again, I wonder if being less-that-typical makes you a bit more sensitive to other folks' concerns? So we held back coming downstairs until they'd cleared out. No biggie, but a bit of a pain as I'd hoped to help Sandi & Tracey set up.

The evening went well and despite no Alison (away on business, according to Jenny), I caught up with other friends. Sophie was sporting a very nice necklace (Ed: not just a new necklace, she had a dress on too! :-P ) that she'd been sent for her birthday, Sam gave an update on how things were going with her Dad (see here and good luck Mrs!) and it was nice to catch up with Rebbecca. A irregular regular as she once described herself. Val was doing her best to capture the evening on camera, although the cheeky so-and-so papped me eating (Ed: never a pretty sight at the best of times!).

Raffle done - I won a handbag charm and two boxes of false nails (something to re-try I think) - and pots & plates tidied away, there was just enough time for a quick photo before we all drifted off to our collective homes. Well, apart from the Dirty Stop Outs who hit the tiles until the small hours. I hope you had a good time out girls! :-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Dr Stein by Helloween. An 80s power metal track that's now a funky jazz number. Yeah, baby :-) ]

Friday, October 21, 2011

"No new tale to tell,
Twenty-six years on my way to hell"


Note to self for the next post: delay on having the weekend G & T until after you're written this weeks musings :-)

Last night the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones was out with friends, so yours truly was holding the fort. Bath time and bedtime stories done, it was time to sit back and amuse myself. I suppose in years gone by, the first thing I would have done is give the kids an hour to be properly asleep and then it would be Lynn time. These days, I just don't bother and I guess that's down to the fact that I know that at least twice a month, I've got an appointment with my alternative wardrobe. I've heard from some that twice a month would not be enough and while there are times when I feel the pull of the Dark Side, pretty much 90% of the time I'm cool with it.

So with time on my hands I decided to catch up on a TV show I'd been meaning to watch. Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm not careful and I'm feeling a bit restless, my hands will reach for the chocolate box. Good for the soul, but not so much the waistline! Instead, I thought I best sort out my dress for the next meeting. It wasn't a trying on session, more a sewing session. Honestly, I'm so manly, sometimes it hurts ;-)

I think it was last year I bought a rather nice purple dress from Very. The only issue with it is the stitching wasn't very good and if it hadn't been for a careful application of a safety pin, I would have needed something else to wear. Anyhoo, I'm planning on wearing that again for the upcoming Chameleons Halloween do. So it was out with the needle and thread to sort out the two holes. After that, I realised I had a t-shirt (a bloke one should you be curious) that also needed a little fixing. I guess I was a little over zealous when it came to cutting out the label.

Where does this stuff come from? Oh and I don't mean the above gibberish. ;-) More the creative / fixy type skills. I'm really very bad at DIY, but ask me to fix Wee Man's school trousers (or convert to summer shorts) or put together a fancy dress costume and I'm as happy as Wendy... sorry... Larry. :-) Maybe it's a trans thing, but there are less useful skills to have I suppose :-)

I think it was Thursday that was Spirit Day. Not so much drinking in the streets nor getting in touch with your soulful side, but more support of young LGBT folk. I spotted the event while looking at the It Gets Better site. Sadly, I let the side down because while I may have a few funky colours in one wardrobe, my bloke stuff is more traditional. Okay, I did have a shirt in purple, but I was in jeans that day and it didn't feel quite right. Oh the vanity! ;-)

While looking at the site, I had a quick look at a few of the videos that folk had uploaded. One of them was a young gay chap coming out to his dad. I really felt for him because it can't have been easy for him. Perhaps that's why the T gets pushed together with the LGB: at some point we feel the need to come out and perhaps there's safety in numbers. Perhaps there's a touch of irony, in that being a tranny, for most of the time, outwardly, I'm that stereotypical closeted bloke with a family, dog and 2.4 kids. As an aside, just this week a (trans) friend came out to her Dad and it did not go as well as she'd hoped. If she decides to blog about it, I'll link to it from here, but it's not my news to share.

So after I watched the video - which I felt positive about - and then I spotted some of the replies. One of them was from a Christian gent and curious to his point of view, I clicked it. Sadly, it was not the accepting vibe that my sister, a vicar (yes, really) gives out, but the stereotyped bigot pushing the "you're going to burn in Hell" message instead. Now I know you shouldn't really talk about religion because it's a deeply personal matter, but the negativity shown by that man really wound me up. As a person - and religion aside - I just don't think it is right to go around telling people who are struggling with coming to terms with who they are, that they're 'wrong' and are 'going to be punished'. I think it's just cruel and if you did want to bring people into a faith community, how is that going to encourage them? Ahhh, there I go again with my liberal sensibilities. :-)

I had thought about making an It Gets Better video myself. My main worry is that I'd be outing myself and while I'm not so bothered, what keeps me in check is my thoughts for the family. I really don't want to give bullies any easy ammunition so my kids are picked on simple because of who I am. That said, I feel it would be beneficial. Yes, I really found it difficult coming to terms with being trans during my teenager years. But I got through it and yes, as the slogan says, it does get better.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Wish by Nine Inch Nails. I wonder if that'll go down well at the Halloween party? :-) ]

Friday, October 14, 2011

"I got a reason for the devil inside you know"


How's things with you? After last week's not-much-is-going-on post, events have picked up a little. Home-life and family is going well, which is not to be underrated. Parents Evening will be upon us soon and if I can get an early pass from work, I'd like to pop along and see Wee Man's work on show.

Trans-wise, I saw some very nice shoe boots while out shopping with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones. At twenty quid, I couldn't really say no, so armed with the takings from my piggy bank, off I went. Luckily, said shop - or rather supermarket - had clothes for him & her as well as changing rooms. So it was a repeat of the tried and trusted routine of going along early and taking bloke clothes to the changing room.

Funny, but the purchase of the new boots made me wonder about a new outfit. Not so much buying one, but one coming together in my head. I had wondered about teaming a shirt under one of those higher necked 60s shift dresses I've been seeing. While surfing the t'interweb, I saw that Dorothy Perkins had a sale on and - yay! - said item was reduced. We'll skip over the fact that my pink dress (see here) was reduced (Pants!). Anyway, a quick visit to the shop and quick look through the rails was fruitless. I had a quick chat with one of the assistants and she said that the dress in question had been incredibly popular. Despite the somewhat high fashion cut of the neckline (i.e.: it'll date quickly), said dress has been selling like the proverbial. Still, it meant I saved a few quid. I did see a cute mini-skirt, but I skipped on that, mainly because I've got two I've not worn yet.

Talking of fashion and popular, Sandi mentioned that Gok Wan's new range for Sainsbury's (yes, another supermarket), looks very nice. I've had a look on-line and the items do look good. Some nice styles and if Gok's true to his word on flattering styles, there should be something for everyone.... even six foot blokes. :-) Anyhoo, I'm reserving judgement as I've yet to see the clothes in the real world. Much as I like a bargain, I'm a wee bit fussy when it comes to the feel of a garment, but from what Sandi said, the Gok stuff sounded pretty good. Something to check out next time eh? (Ed: apologies for the unintentional pun).

I guess that leads us on to Chams. What a busy night! Over the last few weeks there's been a few emails to the group from new folk wanting to come along. These messages are reasonably frequent and I treat each enquiry as best I can. I guess it's that time of year as last night, we had four visitors come for their first time: Amy, Vanessa, Pattie and D. You do your best to sit folk down, have a chat with them and ply them with a drink to sooth their nerves. By drink, I mean tea or coffee, the gin bottle is sadly missing :-)

I find it a bit tricky because while you don't want anyone to feel ignored, equally, you don't want to be in anyones' face, forcing conversation on them.  I was glad to see the group welcome the visitors and in particular Tracey, Sandi & Alison taking the time to include them.

One thing I will add, is that through conversations with one of the new folk, it made me realise how easy I have it. By that I mean, coming out and the bumps along the road have been pretty mild compared to the journey of others. Don't get me wrong, upsetting Mrs Jones (over ten years ago) was not pleasant and something I felt truly awful for. Sure, I got outted back at home (blimey, twenty years!), but I never faced the intimidation or outright abuse that some people had to live with. So, you do your best to alay people's fears and try to help them. Even if it's just simple things such as trying to break down that old Devil that it's wrong in some way. Sure, it's a bit different to the norm, but it could be a lost worse.

Maybe that's why I try to help out at the group - at least in little ways. I'd hate to see the group go under because of the friends I've made there and also that it can - and I say this very seriously - that to some, it's a truly a lifeline. The necessity to drop the pretense cannot be underrated - and I don't mean the dressing up, although that's very welcome. Just to be able to share with people like you, is - certainly for me - incredible. I doubt I'd have got to a state of self-acceptance without the help and support of Chameleons. So, I found it a sad to hear that a local group has recently shut up shop. I'm not familiar with the full ins and outs of it, but it sounds like internal politics may have caused it. Shame, but there you go.

I got to catch up with folk: Sophie was back from her travels. There was no sign of Maddy or Gayna, so I'm guessing the were out on the tiles (dirty stop outs :-D ). Maddy's friend from down south, Tanya, popped in as she's visiting Oop North. Talking of travels, Sam, Tracey and Kate headed in to town for a night out. As it was on my doorstep, I politely declined. Willpower? There's a change! :-) I had hoped to have a chat with Kate as she doesn't always come along, but with all the social butterfly routine, I didn't get chance. I did talk to Nicole a bit more and she's coming up to being at the group for a year. How quickly time goes eh?

After a night of witty banter and yummy cakes, it was time for the obligatory photos. D (Mrs Patty) let slip she had some photography experience, so she soon put us amatuers to rights :-) Outfit-wise, after investing in some 150 denier opaques (Ed: at what point does high denier start to become equal to tog value?), it was on with the skirt I didn't wear last time around. Having toned up a little, my blue M&S top fitted better and I was pretty happy with the whole ensemble.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Ruff Justice [sic] by Pop Will Eat Itself ]

Friday, October 07, 2011

"'til it's over and then,
it's nice and quiet"

Hey all,

Autumn seems to have arrived in the UK. I'll spare you the in depth weather report, but I will say this, I'm glad the Chams Massive went out last Thursday rather than yesterday! It really threw it down last night and today's been rather windy. Sure, cooler is better than too warm, but as Maddy commented over on Facebook, you don't really want to be chasing your hair down the street. :-)

So it's been pretty quiet of late and there are times when that's not such a bad thing. Work too has settled down and the Big Project is both on hold and just about back on track. The pause to stop and consider where we are is very welcome. It's allowed us to evaluate what's really important and delay / remove what's not. Sometimes I wonder if more activities at work would benefit from that step back approach. But, hey, what would I know? :-)

Although it is only October, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones and I have started our Xmas shopping. Yes, it is very early, but we're trying to spread the cost and avoid too much of a long slog around town. We've bought a few things for the kids and little bits for our extended family too. Maybe this year, I'll start the wrapping up earlier rather than leaving it until the last minute.

With home life and work staying laid back, I've had a little more time on my hands than I'm used to. I've been able to catch up with my reading (Kindles rock!) and catch up with things I'd do if when I had a spare five minutes. One of them was start to add tags to my blog posts. It's something I'd thought of doing sometime ago, but like I said, there's other stuff that's more important. The main reason for doing it was to see which items popped out in the tag cloud. Chameleons features quite heavily, which I guess is to be expected. It is one of the main constants in this wee blog.

So... umm... that's pretty much it this time around. I hope things are good in your neck of the woods.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Oh So Quiet by Bjork ]

Friday, September 30, 2011

"Wow! (Shout out loud),
At the gay bar"


As I type it is unseasonably warm. Talk about a late summer! I've blogged about my enjoyment of the autumn months once before and much as the clear blue skies are nice, it is too hot for me. By the time it cools down, it's pitch black. Still, the weather is at least calm, so no puddles to splash through or wind to blow your syrup in umpteen directions.

Last time around, I mentioned the possiblity of a night out. It has been ages since I've been out and about, so I was really looking forward to it. Luckily for little old me (Ed: yes, the diet is still working), the Fates smiled and all went well.

After dropping Little Miss off at Granny's, I made my way to the usual Chameleons haunt and - sssh, now! - after checking the upstairs room was free, quickly got changed. By now tempreatures had started to drop, so I decided to stay with the planned outfit (see snaps later on). I did a quick check to make sure nothing had been left behind and headed back to the car.

Half an hour down the motorway and I was making my way through Leicester. Now, I don't have the world's best sense of direction. I guess I missed out on that one - maybe in return for baking or accessorising. :-) I had logged a few NCP car parks into my smartphone and that helped me find some place to park up. The only issue, it was on the edges of the ring road and I needed to be in the centre of town. Oops.

Now, I really only know a little about Leicester city centre and that's mainly from a walking point of view. Given the time between me rolling up and meeting with the girls, I had half an hour to get to the pub. I took a deep breath, checked my paper map and headed off into the night. There were a few folk around and I tried to avoid any really busy places or pubs with folk yelling outside of them. If I was clocked, no-one said anything which suits me just fine.

I reached Dover Street and the pub, Dover Castle. I was about to ring to see if anyone was about and I spotted Maddy. Heading on it, the warmth of the evening hit me, so it was time for a quick hello and to get a suitably cold drink in. Who was there? Emma W, Sam, Mrs Sam (token foxy partner*), Jenny, Bobbi, Gayna, Emma and Julia. [ * Hopefully that comment won't get me into trouble! :-P ]

The bar itself was very nice and the music enjoyable, but not too loud so you couldn't talk. It wasn't long before my proverbial toe was tapping and I was wryly amused that my music collection had more in common with this venue than the rock set I used to hang with. I guess some of us are just destinued to walk another line :-D Just opposite the bar was the theatre and a car park that I should have used, oh well! I did catch a couple of theater punters looking - nay, gawking - in the window. I'm afraid I couldn't help myself but wave and smile at them. That soon put a stop to it! :-)

Nine o'clock rolled around and I sent Kate a TXT to see if she was on her way. Sadly, she wasn't as she'd been caught up at work. Off we went to the venue, Las Iguanas and took our seats. The staff were really good to us and we didn't have any trouble. Just after the starters, I got the camera out (mais oui!) and after hamfisting a shot out, the waiter was kind enough to offer to take a proper piccy. The food was good, the company excellent and time flew by just chatting and laughing.

As 11pm rolled in, I knew I had to start making it back. I paid my dues, said my goodbyes and after thanking the waiter, headed off into the night. Thing was, when I got to the door, there were loads of people in the street. Suddenly, town had got very busy and the only way through was to just do it. I suppose it's best not to be foolhardy and I felt a little nervous at the night crowd. Again, everyone was cool and I was ignored. My feet were hurting by the time I got back to the car and I was glad of the air-con when I set off. Feeling rather chuffed with myself that I'd managed to find my way there and back, I then upped my game by getting completely lost on the way out of Leicester. :-) After the sav-nat got me back on track, all that remained was to get changed (hello, layby) before getting home just after midnight to the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones.

All in all, a truly cracking night. Thanks to Gayna for organising the event and to everyone who popped along.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Gay Bar by Electric Six ]

Friday, September 23, 2011

"I itch my skin jump up and say,
'Lady, I know why your thoughts turned grey'"

Hello dear reader,

How's things with you? Hopefully, all is well and if not, soon will be. Today I'm in a rather jubilant mood and that, perhaps like a fine meal, is something to be savored. I was going to make a gag about events conspiring with me, but I couldn't quite get it to work. Ho hum! :-)

So why the all round pleasantness? Well, since you asked (!), a few things have built up to boost the good vibes and lay low the not so good ones (although the latter have been but minor bumps, rather than the proverbial face kick. Yay for progress!). To start with, it was my birthday a little while ago and other than some nice gifts, I had a lovely time with our little family and the more extended Jones Massive. Yes, cake, candles, cards: the whole shebang. I do, however, now draw ever closer to the big Four Oh, but I hear from friends that the view on the otherside isn't so bad. :-) We may come back to that vibe later on.

The Big Project at work seems to be on hold, so there's a welcome relief. It's rather nice to just sit back and let things ride for a while. That gap in my schedule has meant I could catch up on other things: you know, that ever growing list of stuff you'll do when you get a mo. On a further positive note, the changes to the core network have fixed a number of persistent faults and the end users are reporting good things.  Again, small victories that I'm thankful for. Oh, no news on the job front as the closing date hasn't gone yet.

Thursday was Chameleons, so off I went with outfits packed. After much deliberation, I had eventually narrowed the plan down to two looks. By sheer fluke, I arrived quite early and as the downstairs room had a keep fit session in full swing, I went upstairs to get changed. I had planned on going for a top, leggings, mini kilt and boots; but on looking in the mirror, something about it didn't feel quite right. Why not? Well, firstly, much as I don't mind above the knee skirts, mid thigh makes me a little nervous. I suppose I don't want to appear tarty and I'm conscious of mutton dressed as lamb . I clearly remember reading a newspaper article - the one that mentioned Leicester Chameleons and 'the TopShop girls'. I know that's probably a little silly, given that some of my dresses are shorter than I've just described, but I never said this blog would make sense. :-) It's finding that fine line for your personal style that's neither too staid/frumpy/dull versus teenage tartbag. From what I've read in women's magazines, the same dilemma goes on :-)

Personal doubts aside, the other element to it was that we were having visitors and.... now this is a bit bonkers.... at work, it's jeans + old t-shirt because of what I do. While I probably should wear a tie and shirt, I just can't be bothered. Yet, come Thursday night, I'm stood pondering the merits of one outfit over another. Too young, too safe or too funky? :-) Funky won out as it felt right to me (see photo) and once suited femmed up (Ed: did you mean that ironically, right Lynn? :-P), I was off downstairs to sort out the tables and get set up (although Mrs A had done a rather good job already).

[ Update: Stana from Femulate posted a link to something very similar here. ]

The visitors arrived and bless them, they'd brought along a fair amount of stock: Neece from Strut Your Style and Richard and Jay of Venezia Designs. With hellos said coffees served, they cracked on with laying out the items. Cue four long tressle tables of shoes, bling jewellry and wigs. Talking of hellos, the visitors in question were two gents and a lady. Gentle handshakes ensued and then as the chap took my hand firmly, I did drop back into Comedy Bob mode and utter "Hi there," in rather butch manner. Not that I camp it up as Lynn, but I try not to growl my way through a conversation. Still, we all saw the funny side and sometimes you need to laugh at yourself.

The Chams folk chatted amongst ourselves until at someting to nine, we pulled up chairs for a chat. All in all, I think the evening went pretty well. I'm always slightly on edge for visitors that I've drawn in. Yes, they did contact me, but at the same time, I like to see both sides getting something out of it and I think a few sales were made to make the trip worth while.

Next week, there's the chance to visit Leicester for a curry with the girls. I'm really looking forward to that as the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is okay with me going. Just a case of sorting out someplace to park when I arrive. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, so apologies if I have, but going out is complicated. Not the actually process of getting ready et al.... well, that's not true, I take long than Mrs J to 'get fab', so I do not stand there tapping my watch as she puts her lippy on. :-)  No, the complication is the emotional build up towards it. As I said to Alison, it [going out] feels so normal. It's not an adrenaline rush despite my initial nerves when I used to step out to Chams all those years ago. I don't say that as a brag either, it's just so... so normal. Just a night out with friends, except this time, I guess the bonus is I don't have to hide who I am. Maybe that's the attraction.

Anyway, look after yourselves!

Take care,

PS: Good luck on the trip, Soph and get well soon Maddy!

[ Today's lyric: Hollywood by Marina and The Diamonds ]

Friday, September 16, 2011

"I'll escape if I try hard enough,
Till King of the Jungle calls my bluff"


How's things? It seems the autumn weather is slowly starting to make itself known. There's a little edge of the morning or lunchtime walk: do I or don't I take the brolly with me? Plus, those warm mornings are gradually slipping away, not that you came here for a weather forecast ;-)

Funny, even as a kid I found September as a bit of a turning point. It seemed to mark the change between the school holidays and the summer itself. It was - and indeed still is for me - a case that there's something different in the air. Perhaps it's just a change in the temperature, but I feel there's more to it than that. Personally, I like autumn... and I don't just mean the fashions and run up to Xmas - much as that is rather fab. No, it's that it's cooler, but not too cold and it's not yet the bleakness of winter. To me, autumn is full of promise and excitement. There's Halloween, Bonfire Night, Xmas Parties, etc. There are walks to be had, and nuts & wild fruits to collect if you're that way inclined. The idea of good food that's freely available really appeals to me for some reason! Apples, chestnuts, blackberries, etc. That reminds me, I did snaffle a bag full of sloes the other day. They've gone into a bottle of gin, which is blending nicely in the dark under the sink. I won't be knocking it back though, it's a present for my folks.

From a tranny point of view, I prefer the autumn fashions too. Winter you seem to be trying to keep warm, as no matter what you wear, the icy wind finds a way to cut in. Spring? It's that awkward too cold/too hot/too windy mish-mash of a season. Oh, and you can never buy a coat because summer bikinis are in the shops :-). So back to dear old autuym: there's the whole boots, thick tights, pretty skirt and nice scarf routine. You also don't have to worry about the heat or exposing your pasty whites to the sun. The only thing to watch out for are the gusts of wind. Luckily, it's never been so windy I've felt my wig will fly off. :-)

In other news, I finally got my finger out over employment matters. Firstly, I've spotted a new job that I like the look of. Secondly, I thought I'd give writing another go and this time I've sent a piece in to an Internet trans magazine. I guess it remains to be seen how the latter goes, but I'll keep you posted. As to the job, well, there's the whole CV sorting and interview process to go through yet. I won't hear about that until much later in the month. I've also got concerns about the impact moving job will have. Not just the social worries about leaving my workmates behind, but also how switching to another firm could impact my family life. Luckily, my current employer is very family friendly, so dropping the nippers at school isn't an issue. I hope it'll be the same attitude at the other place too.

Why the move? I seem to be in the same department, in the same role and at the same grade as I was when I started. The only thing that's really changed is the technology and we've got a few new faces in the team. Other than that, it's all pretty much more of the same. I've tried for promotion a few times and I've applyed for internal training courses, but I guess I'm not making the grade. I think the last opportunity was about four months ago and having failed at that; that makes three strikes now. Despite my 'ever hopeful' attitude, I think it may well be the time to start thinking of moving on. It's not like I am desperate to leave, but as the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones points out, best to start looking before you get fed up, as you never know what you might find. So, I saw this job on-line and thought, why not? I've sent off my details and we'll see what the Fates have in mind!

After chatting with the firm in question, I did wonder about the interview. A little part of me wondered what it would be like to go to an interview in Lynn mode. It was more a joke thought than anything serious and then I wondered, what if that was really the case? I'm sure there are some people who do have to make the decision and how much scarier must that be? Then again, if you're facing strangers, is that easier than facing people you've worked with for years as Bob? There is a thought and I doubt it's a situation that'll come up.... well, not unless I bump into some workmates (past or present) while at Chams or otherwise. :-D

In other news, there's a Do down in Leicester later in the month and after checking with the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones, it looks like this Cinders shall go to the ball. I'll probably be late mind you, but then punctuality has never been one of my strong points. :-) Oh, and while there was no Chameleons this week, I did have an email from a beautician who'd like to pop along. She also mentioned that some friends who run a jewellery business may come too. Fingers crossed it'll be worth it.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Mowgli's Road by Marina and the Diamonds ]

Friday, September 09, 2011

"I don't like Mondays"

Hi folks!

Imagine if you will, a large wedge of cheese. The thin end was my mood on Monday and the much wider, fatter, tastier end, Friday. I don't know why or how my brain thinks in strange analogies, but it does. Luckily, today's is wude.

So as Sir Bob once crooned about disliking the whole Monday she-bang (Ed: that's not a dodgy web site, BTW :-P), so to was I feeling less than chipper. I think it may have been a combination of knowing I had a full week of work ahead, feeling a bit miffed with the diet and also the worry that the anti-dog (Black Dog) tablets were not longer cutting the proverbial mustard. Hmm, another food reference. Perhaps there's a trend to this? :-) Anyway, I kept my head down and plodded through the week. Plenty of walking, talking and keeping busy distracted me from darker thoughts and after a while, the mood passed and all was well in downtown Jonesville.

I think what helped is that I did have Chameleons to look forward to. Now, I don't know about the rest of you, but I do find I look forward to looking.... well, if I'm honest, pretty. I don't mean I will actually be pretty, nor I am fishing for compliments, but I do like to make an effort from a trans point of view. It's just a case that my bloke wardrobe, despite a liberal dash of vibrant t-shirts and tops; well, it just doesn't have... the pizazz or glamour I like every now and again.

So, new dress packed ready - oh, and my apologies, in the confusion of last week's blog I think I posted a piccy of said item in blue. It's pink. Yeah, I'm a stereotype, so sue me. ;-) Anyhoo! Dress and back-up wrap dress packed along with a batch of multi-coloured tights, I headed off to Chams. In the end, with the hem being where it was and the tights clashing more than helping, it was on with boots and some black opaques. Still, it felt good to be out of bloke clothes and feeling a little more like balanced (despite the heel height). I think I've managed to get the hang of a smokey eye look, no doubt just in time for it to fall out of fashion! :-D

The diet? Well, much as I'm missing the tasty treats, the regular exercise is giving me more energy and the new approach to mealtimes is proving to be very tasty. Luckily, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones is a rather good cook. Since we started, I've managed to shift 10lbs and I could feel the benefit last night.

Once downstairs I caught up with the usual mix of new folk and friends. I did try to circulate a little, social butterfly that I am and the evening did fly by. It wasn't long before it was time to think about packing away and get the camera out. A few friends headed off into town and while I had said to myself I should think about going, it just didn't come to pass. How odd is that? Perhaps it was all the concerns from last time, plus the late hour and fact that the car was running of fumes, that it didn't come to pass. Funny thing was, as I said my goodbyes to those who did drift off, I found myself not feeling down about it, but happy in the night I'd had.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: I don't like Mondays by the Boom Town Rats ]

Friday, September 02, 2011

"I graduated from the Universty of Life
and the school of hard knocks, sir"


September already huh? How time flies. I've picked the last of the blackberries in the garden and the apple trees are looking good. I must resist the urge to make a giant pie, though. That would undo all the good work with the diet. (Ed: Don't think of yummy, yummy chocolate!) The latter - the diet that is, not the choccy - is going okay and the additional walking means I'm feeling a lot fitter too. I've lost a few pounds, but mainly I seem to have toned up in certain areas. Still, better that than no progress at all.

I also decided on a spot of shopping as I'd seen a couple of nice dresses on Dorothy Perkins' web site. I dropped by after work and after the old shopping-basket-with-jeans-on-top-and-two-dresses-underneath trick, in I went. The first dress wasn't me, but I loved the fit of the blue circle dress (also here). I've no idea what that means in style, but I know what I like! Plus, it wasn't too expensive... hmm, where have I heard that line before? :-) So I bought it. It has been *ages* since I bought any new clothes. I also saw some gorge shoes, but I managed to control myself.

A little earlier in the summer holidays, I was taking Wee Man to a summer activity camp hosted by a local school. Don't worry, I'm not cruel enough to send him to summer school! This was much more a case of fun & games plus kid care. Oh the joys of working parents eh? :-) Anyhoo, that particular week just happened to coincide with the exam results day; so cue a large influx of teenagers to collect said pieces of paper.

As I wandered back to the car, I noticed a number of happy smiley faces, as well as a few less than pleased expressions. I can't really remember what happened with my GCSE results, but I do remember my A levels. Traipsing in to collect the slip of paper and the worry that if I'd really blown it, I'd be stuck in my hometown. Really, that was the only reason I'd applied to go to university - to get out. I hadn't expected to do that well and I guess I met my expectations :-) The funny thing is, at what stage do your exams start to influence your future? Is it as you make your choices or when the results are out?

By odd coincidence there was a radio programme on social mobility and what some of the key differences where, between children from well-to-do, and less-well-to-do families. Now, I won't play that card. I came from a middle class family and we didn't really go without. Sure, we weren't rolling in it, but Mum & Dad did their best. I think the reasons for my own academic shortcomings were down to being lazy and disinterested. "No homework tonight, class. Just revision." Cool, I'll catch up on my reading... and then go to the pub! :-) Talking of reading, that was one of the items listed in the radio programme; the effect of reading regularly to your nippers and also encouraging them to read too.

Sure, I suppose could talk about the difficulty growing up (the whole trans thing), but really, other kids went through far worse and they still did well. Really, I only did A levels because I didn't fancy going to the local college and I think that was more the  Devil You Know than risk a new environment. Fear eh? Looking back, perhaps college  would have been a better choice. I'm more vocational than academic. Lessons learned eh? :-) Still, I got out of my hometown (which was a major goal of mine) and while I didn't do well at uni, it did mean I had to get myself together: sort out a place to live, pay the bills and, later on, get a job.

Long term, things have worked out very well. I don't say that as a smug mare, nor falsely positive, but more a case of enjoying where I am. Maybe I would have arrived at a more well paid job sooner if I'd done well, who can really say? I suppose it's a bit like those Choose Your Own Adventure books that existed when I was a kid (Ed: the park... jumpers as goalposts... :-P ) you make your choices and make the best of it. If you story is similar or very different, I'd love to hear it.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: England by Carter, The Unstoppable Sex Machine ]