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 ]