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 ]