Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 22 May 2017

A little problem

I have not been around much the last week or so, I have had I.T. and other problems, I have also just realised that unless I work a ridiculous number of hours I simply am not making enough money.   I have decided to put up my hourly rate ~ to something still pretty low, especially compared with a plumber! Having made the decision I then couldn't act on it as I needed the computer to write the letter to my customers putting up my charges!

Well I now I have my computer back, but am reminded of another problem.   This machine was provided for me by one of my customers, from time to time I have been doing consultancy work for him, but have known him for nearly 25 years.   However for the last couple of years since I started my transition he is the only person who has refused to accept me, and has been continuing to use my "Dead name" (Jargon buster! the "dead name" is the name a trans person was given at birth alongside their assigned gender, when we have transitioned we take on a new name to reflect our authentic gender).   It is possible that he does not realise just how upsetting this is, however it is not possible that it is anything other than a deliberate act, and one that I now find profoundly upsetting.

In short I have decided that I am no longer prepared to accept this behaviour, and so I sending an e-mail today explaining why this is so insulting, undermining my whole sense of self, and telling him firmly that I will no longer respond to that name.   This may be another bridge burnt, I hope not, but by now I was not anticipating still having these sorts of battles.   I think it just serves to underline my assertion that coming out, and transition are both processes not actions.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A, B, C,....................................

I started writing this post last Sunday, a series of hectic events, and computer problems has meant that I haven't been able to complete it until today, but it is still very relevant.

Those of you who were with me last night may not be surprised to find out that I didn't manage to get an early start this morning.   This meant that I was going to be late for Church, I don't go to Church religiously, but when I can I do like to.   When my wife left and I started my transition I had to change my Church, it took me a little while to find a Church where I was comfortable, and they were comfortable with me.   By some strange co-incidence both Churches are called Christ Church!

Maybe not such a co-incidence since I am an Anglican Evangelical, and Christ Church is a popular name for evangelical Churches in the Church of England.

Christ Church Beckenham
I have been very happy at Christ Church Beckenham, they are a warm, friendly and loving Church family, the building is very fine (although some modernisation of the halls would serve the community better), and there is a drive to build the kingdom of God in Beckenham.   The trouble is that since moving there is a drive for me on Sunday morning!

This morning I wanted to go to Church but when I got to my car I realised that it would take me at least half an hour to get there, meaning I would be around 20 minutes late, I don't like being late, even though I often am, the alternatives were to miss out all together, or to go to my local Parish Church, which just happens to be called.... Christ Church.  

Christ Church Croydon
Unsurprisingly this is an evangelical Church with a membership that reflects the local community, a very different community to Beckenham.   I thoroughly enjoyed the service, although since it was both an "All Age" service, and a Baptism it was not typical.   The preaching seems sound, the people friendly and accepting, and a Worship Team whose enthusiasm maybe outweighs their abilities a little.

I have been thinking for sometime that it was about time that I worship in the community I am living in rather than commute to a nice middle class community.   I am just not sure yet whether I am ready to make this step.   I will not rush into anything but contemplate prayerfully on this, it's not easy.

Christ Church Anerley
It has also made me think, I started at Christ Church Anerley CCA, then I moved to Christ Church Beckenham CCB, and now I'm contemplating a move to Christ Church Croydon CCC. Will my next move be to Dunstable?

This morning I visited CCC again, and was once again impressed by the enthusiasm and friendliness of everyone I met. When I say they reflect the local community I understand they have 26 different nationalities within the congregation, and that is my local community!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Holding on

My laptop has been getting progressively worse over the last week or so, everything I use it for more than a couple of minutes it will switch itself off. So, I have now put it in hospital for a check up, repair or replacement.

Given that on Friday my car has it's MOT this could all prove rather costly.

It also means that I can't pick up any emails,  although I do now have a smartphone,  indeed it is what I am using for this post, it is deliberately not set up to collect emails.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible . 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

It's not always Easy

Although this started out as a Transgender Blog, it is an area of my life that I talk about less and less.   As my Wife has been known to comment "Not everything is about Gender", however it is often hard to relax and accept that even though I may not be everybody's idea of a "normal" woman this is me.   Increasingly I find that once I am up and going I rarely think about gender, just every now and then when I am struck with the incongruous.

When I am working I dress accordingly ~ jeans and sweater/ shirt or tee shirt ~ I do not wear make up or jewelry, it just wouldn't be sensible so when on occasion I am miss gendered I try to take it in my stride and not appear too offended.   But it does hurt, and when I am dressed up with the full shlap and sparkles then it really hurts!   It really hurts when people get my name wrong, and when it is deliberate I find it antagonistic, and I hate confrontations.

Perhaps I have been sending the wrong messages by not pulling people up when they get it wrong, maybe I have been sending the wrong messages by not writing about these things here; but generally I prefer to look on the up side and present a happy face.

The other morning I was sat at my dressing table and all I could see looking back at me was this old bloke, with big hands and thick muscular arms, it's difficult to explain how this feels, but it depresses, it undermines self confidence, it makes me want to hide and not go out; but work has to be done and life has to go on.   I pull on my big girl's pants and get on with it, then the episode of dysphoria passes and I get back to my normal fabulousness.

I'm having a course of facial electrolysis, which hurts, it also means that some hair has to be allowed to grow long enough to be pulled out. My next treatment is on Monday and I am having to allow the hair on my top lip grow, so it will look like I'm growing a moustache over the next few days, if you see me please don't ask, just pretend not to notice.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

It's all in the name III

I know there has been a bit of a gap, but in conclusion, I think "Big Shinny" is a bit obvious, and not just as a name. This is my Conn International CC Orchestral Contra Bass Tuba

For many I suspect that "Baby Besson" is a lot less obvious. This is the name that has been acquired by my Besson EEb tuba, Originally made in sharp pitch by Boosey & Hawkes, but unusually they used their premium brand of the time "Besson, New Standard".  

Later it was adapted to modern pitch with the addition of some extra plumbing, I further customised her with an even more modern mouth piece receiver from a Sovereign and updated the valves to make them quieter and quicker.   Indeed I suspect that she is quite unique, certainly I enjoying playing this instrument, I like the much more focused sound I get as opposed to the darker wider sound of the modern instruments.

Yet perhaps silliest of all, is the Salamander brooch I bought for a couple of quid from the Scope Charity shop in Beckenham, the brooch is now known as "Berwick" simply because it lives on my tweed jacket.

Do I need help?

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Absence Report

Hard at work, "after" photos to follow
I know it is quite a while since I have posted, but I am still alive and kicking, well mostly working actually!   Now, first I need to explain that I tend consider my work to be all those things I do that don't come under the heading of hobby, personal or home maintenance.   So although this does include some things I enjoy and don't get paid for, like some of many music performances, it does not include some things I have to do and don't enjoy, like grocery shopping.

Today I will be playing with the astounding Linden Wind Orchestra, I certainly won't be getting rich out of it, and I will be thoroughly enjoying myself; but since it is an obligation I consider it as work, much as an artist will talk of their work.   Indeed I expect this concert to be highlight of my month, all of the music is challenging and the standard of all of the musicians, and the band itself is very high.   This will be a concert when there will be no piece I can relax in, I will need to be "on the edge of my chair" concentrating hard and playing to my best the whole time.

I found that last month I performed with four different band ~ that rehearsed on Monday evenings! I have had performances, recordings, rehearsals, meetings all on top of the day the job, which last month meant over 130 chargeable hours.   With the driving in between, maintenance of vehicles and tools, and admin I have had very little time for anything other than the essentials, of food and laundry!

I know I need to do less, I know I need to give something up, the problem is that I want to do everything that I do, so how do I decide what to drop.   One thing I have decided will not drop will be this blog and all my "Blogging Buddies"

Thursday, 20 April 2017

My Office Today

A new Gravel Garden I built in Penge
Rhododendron in Beckenham

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

It's all in the Name II

Gloria Monday on tour in France, 2011
I had always promised myself if I ever bought a Ford Transit I would call it Gloria, so when I did, I did! My second Transit was also called Gloria, but by way of differentiation she was Gloria Tuesday.

Gloria Tuesday was not such a good van as Gloria Monday, and never really managed to gain a place in my heart. So when she gave up the ghost and I had to buy a new van I was not too sorry.   That was when Dannie came into my life.    Dannie is a much better vehicle, more powerful, better suspension, better steering, more comfortable, just a slightly smaller box on the back.
Dannie the Vito

As far as cars go I have had several and very few have warranted names, Jade the Singer Vogue, Minnie the Hillman Minx ( my first car) are the prime examples, but when the little Seat came into my life last year she was crying out to be named, listening to BBC Radio Four's adaptation of Graham Green's Monsignor Quixote last year it became obvious that she had to be named Rocinante!

Saturday, 15 April 2017

It's all in the name

"Jade" at the Singer Centenary Rally
I am very good at giving good advice, but maybe not so good at following it, especially my own.   I have often observed that I am actually very good with money, as long as it's not my own, I am pretty much the same with restraint!
Mrs T

One of my many pieces of good advice is not to give inanimate objects names; it will only lead to an emotional attachment which then makes it more difficult to make rational decisions concerning them.   Cars, motorbikes, musical instruments can all appear to have characters which lead to them having a name, but they are still just objects.   I know when I sold my beloved Singer Vogue known as Jade it was a big emotional wrench, I still miss my tubas, "Honk" and "Mrs. T".   To me it seems foolish to voluntarily put yourself through such emotional turmoil, especially for a thing!

In which case I have to wonder why I have ended up with a Tuba known as "Big Shinny" and another call "Baby Besson", perhaps even more foolish is the car called, Roccinante, the van called "Dannie" and perhaps worst of all a brooch called "Berwick"!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

It is easy!

While I appreciate that the sentiment is hardily new, but, I have been really busy! Every thing in every garden is growing, and with the mild weather we have been having growing well.   This always seems to be my busiest time of year, with a combination of customers realising that fences have been damaged and winter tiding not done, along with all the usual spring work of grass cutting, lawn raking, rose and other shrub pruning.   This tends to be a time when I am working my socks off, and not yet reaping the rewards. I trust that they are rewards delayed by my invoicing system, but it can make April a hard month!

Add to that lot an unusual amount of musical work ~ I always call it work but very little of it turns a profit ~ and much of my discretionary activity has fallen by the wayside.

It is easy to be pessimistic, as I say I seem to have been working all the time, yet am no better off, As a Nation out education system is a mess, and the Governments solution appears to be to take us back to the 60s with selective schools. We all know that our health system is falling apart yet even Nurses are thinking about strike action as they get yet another below inflation pay award.   We widely accept out Police Officers as heroes, yet even though they will put themselves in the way of danger to protect us,  their funding is also being cut, so there will not be enough trained Officers to man the thin blue line.   We have to wait longer to get our pensions, pay for our Children's music lessons and university education, at the same as we are further impoverished paying for our parents care.

Over successive elections we ~ the electorate ~ have chosen the type of Country we want to live in, one that doesn't care about the needy, chooses not to pay those who serve us a decent wage, not to fund education or health. In short we have become a society where money, personal wealth, is valued more highly than public service, or indeed people.

It is easy to be pessimistic, yet then I remember that today is Maundy Thursday, the day when we remember Christ sharing His last Passover with his friends, the Apostles ~ what we call the Last Supper and the basis of our Christian Communion.   The day when Christ knowing what was a bout to happen, freely went to his sacrifice, the sacrifice that bought our freedom. That allowed us direct access to God tearing down the Temple Curtain, that served the sentence for our misdeeds so that we could live in freedom.

Last night I watched the Cohen Brothers film "True Grit" I had always enjoyed the original John Wayne and wondered why we needed a remake, however I found in an excellent film, indeed a better one than the original.   One line in particular struck, when the young girl said, in live we have to pay for everything, everything has a consequence ~ nothing in live is free, except God's Grace.

So yes it is easy to be pessimistic, and I am afraid that if we are not careful we will "all be going to hell in a handcart", yet I choose to be optimistic, I know that we can enjoy God's love, and that we can receive His Grace, if evil can be defeated then so can selfishness, apathy, and, greed.