Friday, September 28, 2012

"Donald, where's your troosers?"

Hi folks,

I'm posting a bit later than usual as I've been messing around with the Facebook code within the blog. I guess I just got my geek on and got lost in the idea of finding out who was hitting the like option. Ho hum. Something for another day perhaps! Maybe it would just have been easier to ask, but never mind eh? ;-)


Earlier in the week I had the good fortune to finish a little earlier than usual. I'd gone to a customer site and having made a bit of progress on what the problem was (Ed: some IT thing. Just don't ask, 'k?), I wasn't going to make it back to the office to do any real work - at least, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it - so I headed home..... via the shops.

I'd had my eye on some new heels, because shoes cure all ills and there'd be much more love in the world if people realised this.... :-) Where was I? Oh yes, shoes. So, with the new season in and I noted from on-line, a sale too, I headed to Dotty P's to see what they had in. I hadn't quite made my mind up what I was going to wear Thursday night (it being Chameleons), so I was on the look out for a short(ish) denim skirt. No joy on that, but I did find some lovely heels.

Now, as I'd come straight from work, I was - perhaps somewhat obviously - in bloke mode. Still, I think you get to a point with the whole trans shopping gig where you just don't give a hoot any more. I asked for my size, waited a mo until the helpful lady brought some out and tried them on. Odd thing was, I wasn't expecting her to stand around while I tried them on, but in for a penny. They fit okay and I liked the style, so I was sold. We had a little chat about if I was going anywhere nice (as I was buying fancy shoes). I said that it would be a sort of girls night out (true) and when asked where, I mentioned the Foresters. Said young lady said she'd been and enjoyed it. Small world I guess, but it felt good to be treated just as a regular customer.

More cake, Mrs?

With the new shoes in the boot of the car, I skipped on the idea of biker boots and skirt, and opted for something a bit more glam (well, one can dream ;-) ) seeing as it was party night. With at least three birthdays for the Chams folk - Jayne, Val and yours truly - the group had decided that that was a good enough reason for a party. Mrs H. did a top job in sorted out the orders for the Chinese food, while Tracey & Sandi had done their best with laying out a table, decorations and fetching the food.

A good time was had by all and the night was very busy. I guess the attraction of good food, good company and darker nights was too much for us all to resist. ;-) The sneaky tykes had also got a cake for the three of us and a present too. I felt both touched and a little guilty at the same time. I guess I'm funny like that. But guilt aside, the present was a very nice watch (silver, my fave!) and the card was lovely. With everyone having tucked in for seconds and then cake, time flew by and it after a quick batch of photos, it was time to pack up. With the evening being late, Sophie and I popped out for a quiet drink and a chat. I got in a little later than I'd hoped, but it was worth it..... except in my dash to switch from glam to more comfy, I somehow lost my trousers. Oh the shame! ;-)

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Traditional Scots folk song ]

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"I'm back and ready to go,
From the rooftops shout it out, shout it out!"

Hello Dear Reader,

So much to blog and yet so little planning. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

Yup, I've hit that midway milestone that is 40 years. I was.... back in my late 30s, strangely concerned by this number. Which is, now I'm older, wiser (!) and in a different age bracket, unsure of what all the fuss was about. I still feel like I did in my 20s, although I'm a bit more sure of myself and there are a fair few more miles on the clock. Other than that, all is well. The odd thing is, when do I start planning for my mid-life crisis? I've done the motorbike, tattoo, long hair, earring and dodgy outfits... what does that leave? :-)

A week to remember

As part of my dual score years upon this rock, the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones said that she's planned a trip for just the two of us. With the kids being back at school, the Ever Helpful Mother-in-Law offered to both house sit and look after Wee Man & Little Miss. So, sans nippers, Mrs J, hound and I headed off to the wilds for a quiet few days.

The cottage was right out on the moors - luckily I'd left my American Werewolf DVD at home - and we had a fab time. There was plenty of walking, chatting, consuming cake, playing with the hound on the sand and, of course, reading books with no interruptions. Talking of the latter, there was no mobile signal or WiFi, so it was a proper old school holiday.

During the holiday, Mrs J said somewhat sheepishly that she hadn't bought me anything. A little part of me - the shallow materialist - let a little moue of regret, but - as the lyric goes, not what you call real sorrow. ;-) What she had bought me - other than the holiday itself - was memories. A few days of quiet enjoyment of each others company, fine food, wonder scenery, good conversation and well, just time well spent together.

We also had a couple of positive chats about the trans stuff; like how I was feeling and why was it that a number of Chams folk seemed to be heading towards transition. As we talked, we headed towards the idea that maybe the trans folk who come out to groups are more.... here I'm struggling for the right phrase.... 'out there' than more in the closet types and as such, we're more go getting in terms of what we want. Mrs J said that one of her worries is that secretly I wanted to go a similar way and that I was holding back for some reason.

In all honesty, I said that I wasn't. For the majority of the time, I'm happy being a bloke. Yes, there are times when things don't go well (that's life folks!), and there are times when life truly sucks (yeah, Black Dog and Pink Fog, I'm looking at you ne'er-do-wells). But, in the main, life is good. I guess the only difference between me and the next guy, is that every once in a while, I like to dress up trans-stylee and head out to enjoy myself. I suppose one of the issues with negative feelings is that sometimes, the urge to dress up is very strong and when I don't have the time for it, so the Pink Fog starts to bite.

Talking of going out....


With it being a birthday week, I was in two minds about asking to head out so soon after Chams. Do you find yourself wanting something, yet not wanting to talk about it, in case it spoils a good time? Yeah, I was there too, but my fears were unfounded. After a day back at work, I packed a bag and headed off to meet up with Maddy and the rest of the Invaders. Sadly, Sophie was engaged elsewhere, but it was short notice. Sorry, Mrs!

It's been a while since I've been out and about, and with the bless of a late pass out, I wasn't too worried about getting changed really early. Pink party dress and heels on, I parked up and headed into the Foresters to meet with the others. I bumped into Jenny and caught up. We'd worked together for many years before I stitched jobs and we never knew each others secret. It still makes me smile thinking back. Wasted years eh, Jen? :-)

I was getting a little tired towards the middle of the evening, but a spot of dancing at the club helped shift the cobwebs. I would have liked a few more pop tunes than the heavy dance they were playing, but you can't have it all can you! There was, of course, chance for a brief photo op (thanks Maddy). I did try a few comedy poses at the dancing pole, but I think the light conditions weren't right. We tried our luck in the bar area instead and then I was off back home to get some shut eye.

Party On!

Despite a late night - or was it an early morning? - on Saturday, the Jones Massive were up and out to visit my folks. As we'd been away, Mum had wanted us to have a birthday lunch. Just a small buffet, she promised. Originally, she'd asked if I'd like a big do down in the village hall, but that's not really me, so we settled on a family affair.

We arrived an a friend of my mum's was visiting, so it was nice to catch up with her. Then my sister and her hubby-to-be turned up, then another family friend and then a good mate of mine turned up. I've not see R for some time as he lives down south, so that was a really nice surprise. Mrs J said my face was a picture, but luckily, there was no camera. After that, a few more folk turned up, including an old mate + wifey-to-be from Uni came too, so we had a good long chat and a laugh. In many ways, it was as if we'd never been apart and for me, that made the day really special. Somehow Mrs J and my mum had planned all this and kept it under wraps, the cheeky secret squirrels.

After visiting mum's we were off to another party near home to celebrate their engagement. There was drinking and dancing. This time around, we had some indie tunes and Little Miss joined in too. I think she's getting into the swing of keeping with the beat. Really, with Mrs J and I as genetic source material, she'll be dancing it up with the best of them in a few years.

Perchance to dream....

That's my whirlwind week over. Another year in the can and some very good memories to boot. All I have to do now is cash a few birthday cheques and ponder what fashions to buy ;-)

Take care and thanks for reading,

[ Today's lyric: Ready To Go by Republica ]

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Too much is not enough.
Nobody said this stuff makes any sense,
We're hooked again."


How's it going with you? Me? Oh, a bit of a strange week - or perhaps more accurately, one of highs and lows. On the positive side, I've managed to pretty much clear my work do list and I've really managed to crack on with a few personal projects too. All good stuff really and unlike some work activities, they've been quite fun to do.... which makes a nice change! ;-)

As it's my birthday this coming week (yay me, but also a scary number. Eeek!), the Ever Lovely Mrs Jones has been kind enough to book us a cottage somewhere quiet. Plus my in-laws (outlaws?) have kindly offered to look the nippers.... as said offspring will be at school, while we live it up with fine tea, good books and some pleasant strolls around the countryside. I do like family holidays and yet a holiday with just the two of you - well, three as we're taking our hound along too - will be a very welcome break from the usual routine.

In other nice things, Mrs J and I were out buying shoes for Big Man (both wanted to stay at Granny's), so we were on our own for a spot of shopping. It didn't take long to pick up some trainers for our big lad and while we were there, I had a quick look at the heels & boots. Mrs J - further earning her Ever Loveliness points - joined in and she offered to buy me some! Much as I'd like some new shoes - and for no other reason than new shoes are fabuuuuulous! - I couldn't find any that I liked in my size. Oh well. Still, it was very much the thought that counted.

So with all that good news, it feels a bit odd to talk about the not so good stuff. But, warts and all, as folk say. Thursday was Chameleons and now that Little Miss has started school (bless her), I won't be visiting Granny's on a Thursday night to drop her off. This means a later start to Chams. Although really, it's not that late - not when I look at it sensibly. Leaving home at half seven to get there for eight is pretty good and there are lots of trans folk who don't have a regular night / venue to go to. Perhaps if I'd not faffed about and got Little Miss in the bath earlier, I could have wrangled an earlier ticket; but hey ho, lessons learned.

So, I got there around eightish and already I was started to have a bit of a tizz about the whole thing. The idea of fussing around with a decent shave, hauling the bag of fancy gear and swaning off for three hours..... or at least, that's what I felt. I guess I come back to something from CBT at this point: the idea of the logical mind, the emotional mind and the wise mind that sits between them. I think the concept is that Wise Mind is supposed to look at what you are feeling / thinking and apply some frame of history / detached view to it. Short version: don't panic, Jones :-P

Trying to put that into practise,  I went with the option of "You'll enjoy it once you're there" and "Keep calm, carry on." The latter phrase didn't really sink in and rather foolishly, I couldn't help but get into a little bit of a state about it. I guess...... [sigh] I guess that a part of me is worried that something may happen that means I won't be able to go out. I believe this is called catastrophizing and it's - perhaps understandably - not a good idea and all very pointless when you look at it in the cold light of day.... or the warm glow of an evening, but I digress ;-).

I know that worrying and imagining what could change is crazy, but then emotions and panic don't make sense at the best of times. Best thing I could do? Just try and ride through it. I'd say "man up", but it would seem ironic. ;-) Yet once I started getting ready, I started to feel better. Yet, I couldn't dispel that annoying nagging doubt that this was all so very temporary and I'd be getting changed in under an hour. Again, not true, considering it didn't take me that long. (Ed: Calm thoughts, Lynn, calm thoughts and do be careful with the eyeliner :-P)

Anyhoo, I had a very plesant evening chatting with Maddy (seems an age since we last spoke) and I caught up with a few other friends too. There was also the discussion with Penny about the best way to dunk a biscuit (we have all the best conversations at Chams, y'know ;-) ). Then there's the planning of the Xmas Party and the Chinese Meal for next week. All good stuff. Bumped into Kate (J), but she had to make her way back early to get the train home. Oh the joys of public transport! :-(

Come the end of the night - before Maddy headed off to town - she, Alison and I managed a few snaps on the stairs - despite considerable larking about. I was invited along to the pub, but I didn't want to be too late getting home. That and I wouldn't be able to get out of my dress without a bit of help (high neck equal tricky zip at the back). In the end, I stayed put and chatted with Sarah and Alison a bit more. Sadly, no sign of Sophie (I hope you feel better, mrs!).

I got changed and headed home. Mrs J said I looked very unhappy and we had a chat about me having a 'bit of a tizz' about the whole thing. It was a nice and relaxed chat and I found it beneficial. Sometimes just talking through things helps - I guess a bit like a much more person orientated blogging exercise. I guess I'll see how next time plays out. Fingers crossed, eh?

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Adrenaline by Gavin Rossdale ]

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Get up
Throw yo hands in the air
Get up show no fear
Get up if yall really care


How's things? I am, as regular readers may have noted, a day late. There is - thankfully and luckily - no major drama behind why I'm writing tonight and not on Friday. Basically, Sophie and I were fixing a lawn mower. Yes, that is the high level of high fashion glamour that I get up to off-blog and away from Chameleons ;-) Fixing a mower on a Friday night. How rock & roll, eh? ;-)

But, in truth, I am very thankful. Soph worked her mechanical magic in making said equipment work once again. It's certainly saved me from a significant outlay and, quite possibly, unpleasant back pain from having to use the other older mower that's snoozing in the garage. After rolling around on rubber mats - hmm, that didn't sound quite so kinky in my head! - in the half-dark, we were sorted. Tired, a bit achy and in need of the great British revival: a brew and a biccie. All good! Although I think I'm clearly not cut out to be mechanic's or engineer's assistant. I think I'll stick to moving a mouse around the screen and using Dark Arts on computers.

So other than the above..... it's been quiet. I had got it in my head that it was Chameleons this week, but as a friend (thanks Sophie!) pointed out, that's next week. On the upside, at least I didn't trail over to the Centre, get changed and hang around like Betty No Mates. Oops!

That said, I did feel the need for a bit of transtastic sophistication. I don't know if it was because I'd mentally warmed up to the idea, or if I was feeling the urge. Strange how it creeps up on you sometimes. But.... this has not been in a world-will-end kinda way. Far from it, all has been good of late - perhaps the Black Dog is still stuck in the board kennels? - and for that, I am very grateful. It means no negativity, my regular happy-go-lucky attitude is back and less snapping at people (especially my lovely family). What's not to like?

Work has been going well. It seems keeping my head down and just keeping focused on a few key tasks is starting to pay off. I've been working on a mini-project of my own and I think I'm just about there in terms of release status. With a bit of luck and lots of testing, the system will take a load of work from the team (a good thing) and empower a few others to just crack on. Fingers crossed eh? Hmmm... Perhaps I should pause here to inject a note of irony as I didn't finish the poly course I started all those years ago. Not quite with it on the programming front, I left to get a job, but somehow ended back up in IT. Now, many years later, I'm belting out scripts and code along with the rest. Funny how life plays out sometimes.

As you may have read on here, I'm not a big fan of sports. For whatever reason, it's not really my thing - except maybe the Gravity Games - but maybe that's a novelty thing? Anyhoo, this week and a bit, Channel Four have been showing lots of footage from the Paralympics and, you know what? I've really enjoyed it. It's been truly inspiring to see people throw themselves in and give their all. Oh, and Channel Four didn't half pick a top tune to run as a theme too. Quality choice.

On top of that, the comedy review show, The Last Leg, was very refreshing. It, IMO, took away some of the right-on pomp that can exist around features for disabled people. Through comedy - with disabled comedians - it allowed people to laugh at some of the problems people face. That may not have read right, but what I'm trying to say is that good humour - as in the show - brings people together, whereas bad humour (IMO) is used to mock, deride and push people apart. The show, at least for me, wasn't as polished as a regular comedy show, but that added to its charm. Yes, it was professional, but it lacked that media shine (Ed: artificial shine?) that some shows have and again, for me, that was a good thing. It felt more real.

Hmm... Looking at the format of the above, I wonder if that would fit in with trans people and a voice in the media? I'm not saying we need to be cracking jokes a la Mock the Week, but is there a danger of making trans issues too serious? Perhaps in direct opposition from that; I know that when I read a novel and there's a shift from comedy to tragedy, both are far sharper when followed by the other. But that's by the by, to wind up; I'd like to think that the Paralympics has shown the competitors to be heroes.

Take care,

[ Today's lyric: Harder Than You Think by Public Enemy. ]