Friday, October 27, 2017

The right type of break


I've had a week away from work, and as the Bank of Jones is feeling a little less full that we'd like, we've had a staycation. .Cue much parenting and trips out, which have all been a jolly good hoot, with many happy memories. Now that Little Miss and Wee Man are growing up, the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I give them the option around joining us on a dog walk. Given the choice between a comfy sofa, YouTube/gaming, and exercise; the kids stay at home.

Provided they get some exercise, I'm kinda cool with this. I think it lets them build up trust and responsibility in taking care of themselves, and to an extent, each other. We're not dragging them out, and this also means the Ever Lovely Mrs J and I get some time away to talk. Or, as it is when enjoying the countryside air, not talking, but just enjoying each other's company and great views.

With us being at home, I didn't miss Chameleons last night, which is always a blessing. With it being close to Halloween, I went a bit goth-glam, and dialed things up with killer heels, bling earrings, false eyelashes, and yesteryear's fancy tights. Makup-wise, the new slap from Boots worked a treat, and the advice on lipstick worked out too. The Clinique was spot on in terms of colour match and just the right level of coverage. Oh happy days! A few people were kind enough to say some nice things about my fancy tights.

Talking of heels, I read a tip over on Pinterest about making heels more comfy than killer. No, not sawing off the heel - GET OUT YOU HEATHEN! :-) That'll just give you jester feet, and that's not been a good look since the medieval period. :-P No, the tip - which I then Googled to see if any bloggers had tried it - was to tape your third and forth toes together. Hint: big toe is number one, and feel free to insert a joke about people from Innsmouth and/or The Fens at this point ;-)

So, why do it? Well, the idea is that this somehow helps the pain away by removing some of the pressure from little piggies three and four. It didn't make my toes numb, nor hinder circulation. Whatever the true science is behind this, I don't know, but it did seem to work for me. Yes, I did feel my big toe complain towards the end of the night, but that's by far and away an improvement from the level of ouch from our StartUp session back in September. Come the next day, and I've been out and about walking the dogs, I've not felt a twinge of pain at all. Interesting! If you do give this a go, please do let me know how you get on.

Towards the end of the night, our transguys approached me and asked about the photo on the Chameleons' site. They (politely) said that it made the group look very trans-female only, which I won't disagree with. I did say that the snap is at least 8 years old or so, and we've struggled to get a replacement. It's a combination of a lack of volunteers and getting a snap good enough to replace it.

But, as ever, the Chams Massive are stepping up to the challenge, and I'm hopeful that we'll manage to make some type of collage / mini portrait gallery, so we can make things more inclusive. In the interim, I've swapped the old snap for some stock art of four people - two women, two chaps - in some sort of team fist bump. It ain't perfect, but it'll do. Hmm, that reminds me of my make-up attempts :-)

Happy Halloween for next week. I'm off to clean up the mess from the kids' pumpkin carving.

Take care,

Friday, October 20, 2017



With summer over, I've moved away from my trusty CC cream, and switched back to foundation. The colour corrector is a little darker than my, shall we say politely, Celtic skin tone (translation: are you secretly a goth? :-) ). With my Clinique foundation almost out, and looking like it was not it's best, I needed a replacement.

The thing is, what do you do when you need a bare-ish face to try on new product, but if you want to be out & about, but your confidence is held up by not being bare-faced? Hmm.

In years gone by, Boots had visited Chameleons and they'd said they had a Beauty Room. You had to ring ahead and book an appointment with a specialist. So far, so good! This I did.... and found the room had long since gone. So much for the Room of Requirement coming to my rescue :-)

After battling with the phone system, and explaining my plight, the Beauty Manager said she'd sort something out and get back to me. A few hours later, I got a call from beauty specialist, and we'll call her M, to preserve her anonymity. M asked a few key questions about skin tone, coverage, and whatnot. Afte that, it was time to book something in. Result!

So, it was Wednesday morning and I strolled in, in Richard mode. The usual work clobber, and a small rucksack with make-up remover, plus existing slap. I was early as the Traffic Fates had been kind, so I hung about waiting for my appointment. I met with M (not the lady from 007, I should add :-) ), and off we wandered away from the shop floor, and into the backroom offices.

We set up in the Beauty Manager's office (bless her), and then M and I spent about an hour plus testing foundations to find what worked for me. We chatted a little about what had led M into this career (I'm curious), and her thoughts on what worked from a sales point of view. I found all this very interesting, not just because I'm a nosey cow, but I love to hear from interesting people. In turn she asked a little about me, and what I was after from the session.

Skip on some time, and we'd sorted out a foundation that worked with my existing primer and powder. I know the latter may be old school, but a light dusting of powder really helps set my makeup. Oh, and if you're not using a primer, you're missing out. In addition to that, I quizzed her about lip liner, and after some pro-tips, I had improved my lipstick technique too. What's not to like?

When asked what look I went for, I said that I tend to swing between daytime and a nighttime look, depending on what we get up to at Chameleons. Cue a quick look on Facebook, to show her my profile photo, and the glam shot of me from a few Christmases ago. "How'd you get that shape?" she asked, and off we went in to talk about padding and corsets.

Throughout the session I never felt odd, nor that I was making M uncomfortable. We did talk about the vibes customers give off, and when it's a good time to be a little more relaxed than too serious. M's professionalism and friendliness really added to the experience, and last night, I wrote a quick thank you to Boots praising both staff. I hope that the Store Manager sings their praises.

Back downstairs, I paid up and gave my sincere thanks. Given this was an 'off week' (i.e.: no Chams), this experience really put a bounce in my step, and when I think back on the experience, it brings a smile. Good stuff.

Next week it's Chams again, and I'm hoping M's boss gives me a call, so we can try and plan a make-over night. You can but try!

So, if there's any lesson to be learned from this little jaunt: do ask (and always politely). The better beauty staff are here to help you, and not to make a sales target. If you don't get want you want, move on to another store (Leicester Debenhams, you lost out, as you ignored me!) and ask them nicely too.

Perhaps the Ever Lovely Mrs J's words to our nippers apply to me too. No, not "have you got your socks on", but you never know until you try.

Take care,

Friday, October 13, 2017



Earlier today I was out at lunch, walking through the leafy suburb of West Bridgford. Given that it was Chameleons last night (woo!), I make the short journey over in the car to pay the group's money into the bank. Not that the walk lets me people watch and chance to pop into my favourite fancy sandwich shop. I should add this is *after* I've paid the money in, not before. ;-)

As I walked back I stopped by a jewelry shop to pick something up for the Ever Lovely Mrs J. Give it a few weeks and we'll have been married 20 years. I don't say this as a brag, but with thanks and gratitude. I'm thankful for her love, beauty, wit, and wisdom, not to mention the two kiddies we've somehow managed to raise. Over the years, I sometimes hear of couples having difficulty and it makes me glad that we're a family. Perhaps doubly so when I think that she didn't sign up for a cross-dresser as a husband. Still, in sickness, in health and en femme, eh? :-)

I had a slight wobble on Wednesday night as I packed my bag. Picking out a bright top, and my trusty knee boots, I found myself sat, well, despondent about the whole thing. Really, this is just plain daft, given that I was going to be out in about 24 hours, and - unusually - I had a good idea of what to wear. Why the wobble? I don't know, although it may be wrapped up with a slight feeling it's been a while (there's a worrying trend). Still, stiff upper lip, Jones. :-)

At Chams we had a visit from Nicola & Steph from TrendCo, and they kindly bring along plenty of 'hair' for us to try. Not only are they both lovely, and provide fantastic customer services, but they know just what most of our members like. Styles to suit the variety of ages, and excellent prices too.

I tried a few on while we chatted. One was a human hair wig with colour like my own had been. The cut and feel was very good, but the choppy bob made me conscious of my jaw. I tried a black curly one just for fun. It was just a bit too Bellatrix Lestrange, which may have been grand for Halloween, but a bit much for daytime. Well, unless you're knocking off Gringotts Bank, but a part-time lady never gives up her funding secrets. :-)

Nicola asked about how the group was funded and when I explained, she asked if it felt like a lot of responsibility. Well, in truth, the room booking has been handed over from Sandy, so all I need to do is handle the cash, answer emails and deal with the website. I've been doing the latter two for a number of years, so the payments aren't a hassle. Plus, it's not like I'm on my own, as Val and Diane both kindly help too. Steph asked what did I get from coming to the group. That's a question I'll pick up next time, because I need to give it some thought.

I wondered, is it a burden, doing the admin? The answer came quickly, which is no. It's more that I'm lucky there is a group. We all chip in to keep it going, what with bring & buy, discussion groups, party nights, researcher panels, and vendor visits. I know this may sound like a broken record, but I'm incredibly thankful to those at Chameleons who help keep the group going. It's not always about activities, but the simple act of making the effort to attend, and keeping the group running.

With TrendCo packing up, there was time for a few snaps (thanks Val), and then try on a blouse I'd picked up at last time's September Start-Up. Suitably officey, and I guess we all have our own favourite styles. Afterwards, it was time to head back home. I may miss the next meeting as it's half-term, but last night's outing was just what I needed.

Take care,

Friday, October 06, 2017

Moving on


Am I glad it's Friday! What a week. Sheesh. I feel like a hamster that's been through an angry pinball machine. :-)

None of this is T related. Just the punch-and-you-better-duck of life in general. A parking ticket at work, meetings, botched appointments, website woes*, and other malarkey that frankly.... and as the immortal line goes, "I'm getting too old for this shit." :-)

The above is all sorted out, but I could have done without that type of stress. Other stress, like deadlines, workload, and short bursts of dysphoria, I manage to cope with. It's not so much the pressure, but the feeling of being trapped and unable to fix things that gets to me. Then, things get stuck in my head, going around and around. Yeah, like that helps. :-)

For a change, I joined a meditation class at work and we tried a walking exercise. No, let's rephrase that, we did a meditation in which you walk. Breath in on the step forward, then toe down first and breath out; repeat. Oh, and try not to fall over.

For a brief moment, I felt rather self-conscious even though the rest of the group were doing just fine. But what if  you look a bit camp? came my Inner Critic. Camp? Sweetheart, please. I gave up keeping a hard line between Lynn / Richard behavior long ago. It's just so bloomin' tiring. Watching how you sit, making sure you don't gesture too much, etc. Ah, phooey. Sure, I'm not out, but that old firewall fell some time ago. Maybe my body language gives off a certain vibe, but... I could care.

So walking somewhat inelegantly, I engaged my inner... umm... transness? :-) and just strolled on. I think I got the hang of it and much as I couldn't quite dispel the mental noise that was going on upstairs, at least by the end of it I felt more relaxed in my body. Little victories eh?

But.... (deep breath and a sip of gin & tonic) it is now Friday and all that noise is behind me. Just the weekend to look forward to!

From a good news view: the Chams website calendar is fixed once again, so it's all automatic and I don't have to update it so much. Plus, T-Central were kind enough to feature my blog the other day. All reasons to be cheerful for!

Whatever you're up to, I hope it goes well.

Take care,