Friday, July 25, 2014

End of an era


Summertime and the trick is not to be cheesy. :-) Yes, it's scorchio outside and my body, being just a wee bit Scots, isn't really liking it. I'm set up for temperatures that match the inside of the fridge and if summer is warmer than the fridge's light bulb, it's too warm for me. But enough grumbling, there are things to be happy about.

School's Out

Wee Man had his last day at primary school this week and both the Ever Lovely Mrs J and yours truly, was lucky enough to be able to attend. We were treated to an hour or so assembly, starting with photos of when the class first came to school. I did enjoy seeing how some of the kids had changed, but also, how many of them hadn't really altered.

There was a poetry theme with lots of the class reading items out and then a sort of 'open letter' type thing. Here, the kids had written letters of their favourite memory, or tongue-in-cheek apology letters over some comedy misadventures. All very good and then there was a video slideshow of the recent adventure weekend and they all looked so happy, that it brought a tear to my eye. Damned hay fever ;-) Luckily, I had come prepared with tissues, as I'm terrible at these type of things.

We had some more poems and then it was time for a big finish. Wee Man's teacher had put them in a pop video and got them all to act little parts of it. It was funny and touching at the same time. That really was the cherry on top and after that, the Head Teacher, then stepped up and praised each child on their qualities. It wasn't Sunscreen, if you remember that, and it was honest and I hoped the kids took the words to heart. There was them a quick prize giving routine for The Kid Done Well and then lots of applause, tears and hugs.

Wee Man is both incredibly proud of his teacher's efforts and he says he'll really miss her, when he goes to big school. One of his mates said "Puh, on to the next prison camp then," which while ten out of ten for faux rebellion, I think he missed out. The other kids have left with a spring in their step, a heart full of wonderful memories and more than just an excellent education.


Thursday was very warm, but I was determined to have a girl's night out (so to speak). We'll be away in a week or so, and after attending Chams in Bloke Mode, I didn't want to miss this chance. I packed my trusty white cotton summer trousers, some cage sandals and, due to some careful pre-planning, managed to get my toes painted in advance. Despite my best efforts to take a slice out of my nose - when will I learn, you don't rush with an old school razor?! :-) - I did manage to get out on time.

The evening itself was a quite affair, with I guess, the weather putting a lot of people off. That's not to say it wasn't a good night out. I got to catch up with folk I don't usually talk to, and for me, that was very refreshing.

Earlier in the week, Diane, like myself, had visited a local PhD student to help with her research. S is looking into Minority Stress and if the measuring scale used for LGBQ people, transfers readily to Trans people. Although there is some similarity, I think there are also some very big differences and those differences grow again, when you think about occasional cross dressers, part timers and full time people. S's plan is to draw up her own stress system and then provide evidence to prove, or disprove, there's a correlation.

S and I had a chat about which element of the Trans* community, the research would cover and it seems S is keen to use the word trans as inclusively as possible. Often, it seems that researchers are interested in talking to people who transition, but I think that's not the whole story. I can think of a few friends who identified - in their own words - as 'happy just dressing now and then', but after a few years, they've found that their true nature means they want to live full time. While these incidents may jump out to some people, most of my trans friends have remained in their birth sex, but I guess, it's what's right for the individual. There's no right and wrong answer.... well, other than socks & sandals = bad. ;-)

Talking of shoes, I saw a very nice pair of Mary Jane heels in Outfit's sale email. They were down to just twelve quid - well under half price! Much as I looked at them, and thought how nice a new pair of heels would be, I have three pairs of black heels as it is. So, I managed not to give into temptation. That's the second time this week, as the Ever Lovely Mrs J had been in New Look and they had a sale on too. That's two sales skipped over in eight days. I think there's something wrong with me. ;-)

Take care,

Friday, July 18, 2014


Another Friday, another post. Although, let's be honest, last time I didn't make it until Saturday. Truth be told, I've sat here, with my chin propped on my hand, wondering what to write about. It's funny. Some days I have lots of ideas and when it comes to Friday night, they disappear like...umm.... things that disappear easily. :-)

Apparently, it's Nelson Mandela's birthday today. How do I know? Not because I'm a card carrying liberal, but because I'm a geek and I saw a series of Google Doodles. The other day, Google featured Emmeline Pankhurst. I could make a dodgy quip about girl power, but that - I feel - would be rude and belittling of the impact she and others made.

It's not He Who Dies With The Most Toys BS - hint: you're still dead. :-P The quote above is something that I try to do each day, if possible. Well, other than trying to avoid tedium :-) I guess it comes from the idea of changing my idea - hello CBT - of what counts as a good day. I used to get hung up on achievements, but you can't always make, fix or do something everyday. Not something big anyway. So, now, it's more a case of what can I do to help others. That can be a simple as helping someone else. I rather like the idea of being able to do a good deed. Sure, maybe it's trite, but it feels good. Hell, it feels even better when you've made a difference.

We'll all fall over at some point. Dusting yourself off, accepting that something went wrong and then having the strength of character, to continue; that's the tricky part. I think it's easy to stay where you are; unmoving, unchanging; than it is to accept you have to do something yourself.

Some of the HR assistance I've done for work, and to an extent, just talking to new people at Chameleons, it seems clear that some people want things to happen magically. Sure, that would be nice, but last time I checked, magic only works in books. They're the minority, there are more who decide that they are going to do something, that they're not going to accept how things are and they do something about the situation.

To those folk, I tip my hat. Well done for not accepting the party line and making a go of it.

Take care,

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why not a war on red tape?

Not much of a post this week. It's been a bit meh in places, if I'm honest. 

Work is really annoying me - or more accurately, we're being turned into a support function, when we're developers - which is really the crux of the problem. IT nerds may like to say root cause at this point. But, I've never been one to sit back and let things lie :-) I've been to see the head honcho in charge (no PHB, if you follow Dilbert) and I'm continuing with the dev work regardless. Mainly because we've got enough support staff; if the dev work doesn't get done, our team will be in front of the fan as the muck spreader switches on; oh, and I find it much more rewarding being able to put systems in that actually help people do their jobs. Clearly I'm not cut out for the modern workplace, which seems to run on bullshit and paperwork.

But enough about that. ;-)

Due to a surprise school concert there wasn't enough time to get fancy at Chams. The Ever Lovely Mrs J said I didn't have to go, but I felt that I should.... and I was glad I did. Wee Man's drumming was brilliant. He'd been working on a track with the guitar teacher (rock guitarist at that \m/ ) and it was very heavy. We were surprised and impressed! People started to clap along and Wee Man didn't drop the beat once. After all that, we came home and after a quick bedtime story, I heard off to catch up with friends at Chameleons. It was a quiet evening, as the summer months often are. That and it was Sparkle's' tenth anniversary too.

Now, Sparkle - at least for me - is a bit of an odd thing. No, not the event itself, but my feelings around it. I think I need to add a disclaimer that I've never been. Sure, in the past, I've really wanted to, but as my homebody trans life has ebbed and flowed, I find myself less interested.

I know a few friends who gone and they've enjoyed meeting up with friends, but it does - by their words - seem a bit of a circus. I guess I, and to an extent my friends too, are lucky in that it's not the only time we can go out. I mean, I get to go to Chameleons twice a month - generally speaking - and maybe others out & out incidents too. That might not seem like much to some, but to me, it's enough to keep me (mostly) sane (wibble!).

Mind you, maybe it's the heat that puts me off. What? A wig, make-up and foundation ware on a summer's day? Gah, I'm passing out already. :-)

Take care,

Friday, July 04, 2014

"No one said it was gonna be easy."


How's things? Hopefully not too taxing. I am, like a lot of IT folk, on LinkedIn. Or, more accurately, my male ID certainly is. My, wouldn't having a single social media presence that combined what really went on, be both a) incredibly boring and b) a surprise to some people. :-)

Truthbook: Today Richard spent the afternoon looking for a new job, while thinking about the new nail polish he saw in Boots. Then went he home, read to the kids, had tea and cut the grass. #Rock&Roll 

Moving on..... :-)

As you well know, social media has lots of memes, and LinkedIn is no different. Well, other than they can be a bit corporate doublespeak. Lifehacker - which is an excellent site, IMO - is better in that regard, but I'll get to the point now.

I got a link commenting on a book by Bronnie Ware; The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. I've not read it yet and if I did, no doubt I'll have to read it away from the kids and keep a hanky ready. Hell, I welled up reading about someone who purchased a poor family's snacks, because their card was declined.

So, according to the article, and hopefully the book, the top five are:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

I'm sitting here now, just looking at those and memories flash around my head, as things come to me. But before I dive in, does any of the above apply to you? I'm not going to roll out the 'be all you can be' because my Brit cynicism won't let me :-)

That said, I did hear something on a HR course about 'bring your whole self to work'. I guess that's have the courage to not mask who you are and be able to be human. That's not to say you should fall apart at your desk, but if you are upset or struggling, do ask for help. There are some nice people in the world and if there isn't someone like that in your team, why don't you do it and do something good.

One: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I think I'm getting there with that, although I am still 'in' at work and to my family. I guess it's tricky in that while this is my life, my decisions will have repercussions on their lives and all things considered, I think I do pretty well, juggling work, being a dad, a husband and occasionally fancy. Most of the time, I don't mind. I guess it's like the old joke: It only worries me, when it worries me :-)

Two: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

For all my complaints about work, which I'll spare you, my employer (and certainly immediate manager) are very good. I can rush off if there's trouble at home, the Ever Lovely Mrs J can't make a school pick up, I get to do the school run and I have the option to work from home now and again. I think... my work life balance is fairly good. I just have to learn to not let some of it bother me. Mainly, what I feel to be ill thought out decisions which affect how I do my job. But, isn't that true of all employers? :-)

Three: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Friends have said I don't have issues expressing myself, it's getting me to stop that's the hard part. :-) Glibness aside, I'm not an open book and there are things I don't talk about. Things or dreams I have. I remember a school talk wit a careers officer - yes, sometimes my memory does work - and the chap said "Some people have a dream job that they'll not tell anyone and it will remain that, just a dream."

When he said that, the teenage me thought 'Drag'. Which may be a bit nuts (no pun intended) because I don't do drag. I guess it was a combination of performance, stand-up, dressing up and simple escape. I've never gone down that route, I've always left it to the professionals :-)

Four: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

I keep in touch with some of my friends from Uni. We bump into each other, although with most of us having families, it's tricky and you really have to make the time. Some of them have moved to other countries and much as we malign the evils of Social Media, it serves a purpose.... other than reaming our data and pumping ads at us :-)

I try and keep in touch with friends from Thursdays, although that can be harder. Email makes things easier, as does Social Media, but still, people drop off the radar and try as you might, they disappear, coming back (or not), when they feel they can. Reminds me of that song lyric: no one said it was gonna be easy. :-)

Five: I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Happier? I try to follow the advice of CBT and other mind tricks I've read, heard or been told. I do try and think about what I have, what things have gone well. Even if they are little things like, I had a really good lunch, or I helped someone do something. It may only be something small, but I think it's better to look at the day and find something good about it. If I look hard enough, I can find other bits of sunshine and that keeps the darkness away. Always looking at the negative? I've done that and it's not a journey I'd recommend. It saps your joy, wears you out and what do you get at the end of it? Well, other than some happy tablets (which don't actually make you happy, I should add), no, it just p*sses you off.

So, yeah, reasons to be cheerful, as a certain Mr Dury once sang.... and with that, I'm out of here as the Jones Massive are off on a long weekend. It's Wee Man's birthday soon and it's his last few weeks a primary. Big school soon and he's looking forward to it, bless him.

Take care,
Lynn x

[ Today's lyric and I've not done one of these for a while:  I Want You by The Inspiral Carpets ]