Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Horay for Bloggywood

Some of the more eagle eyed amongst you will have already noticed that I have added another blog to my list.   I'm not sure how I missed the excellent Cyrsti's Transgender Condo from my previous list, enough to say if you haven't already been reading then get over there and take a look.

It is interesting, well it is to me anyway, how different a lot of the trans blogs are.   Many are a straight forward account of what the writer is going through as they progress through transition, some are more of a diary, others collect and disseminate information from a variety of other sources.   The thing is without them, good bad and indifferent though they may be we would all be less well informed more isolated and therefore lonely possibly depressed and self condemning.

There is an awful lot of bad stuff out there (or should that be here) on the old Interweb, but it has been a great liberating help to a lot of girls and boys like me.   There are also some very good sites for the other people affected by our activities, I would like to draw your attention to "Cross Dressers Wives" as I tried to say here, what we do is rather selfish and impacts especially hard on our spouses, so it is good to find that there is a place on the Internet for them as well.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Not quite the same thing

In his comment to my post "No Really Plagiarism" Joe says "Why is it that gay and trans issues often get put together? Aren't they two different things?"

Well yes they are different things, in as much as being trans is about gender identification and how we express that, while being gay is about sexuality, but maybe more to the point we are both groups who are marginalised by society, who need to fight for their rights, maybe no longer always legal rights often it is simple acceptance that we both seek, the right to go about our daily lives without fear of violence, rejection or ridicule.   As marginalised groups we support each other not because we are the same, but because society tends to treat us the same.

We group together for support, not because we are the same, but because we are different, different to how a lot of society feels we ought to be.   I support gay rights not because I am gay (I'm not) not because I am trans (I am) but because it is  the right thing to do, I play in the LGSO (a gay organisation) not because it is a Gay orchestra, but because they will accept Paula in their midst where I fear many orchestras would not.   Perhaps we are more open minded because we have been the victims of closed minds, maybe we are more accepting because we have so often been rejected, I think this is why we end up together.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Good News, Bad News

As it was raining and my wife and daughter were out this afternoon, I had a few hours to myself and the opportunity to have a little Paula time.   The way I'm feeling these days, every snatched moment is precious.   This was a chance to try on a few outfits check a few combinations, and a alight change in my make up routine, on the whole I am quite happy with everything I tried.

I then popped out as I had some banking to do, although wearing jeans and flat shoes I was very much en femme, but decided not to get changed.    As it happened none of my neighbours saw me and it was a totally uneventful outing.   In fact a little more uneventful than I would have liked, I wasted so much time trying stuff on and messing about that I missed the bank.

As my wife and daughter were still not home I thought I had better check when they were planning be back, only to find that they had decided to eat without me up in town and would not be back till fairly late, normally I would be glad of the time, but this evening we have guests coming round.   I wonder at what point she would have told me she wouldn't be here if I hadn't asked.

Things like this are beginning to get me down, I have been getting a lot of the silent treatment recently and I don't know why, and of course because she's not talking to me I don't stand much chance f finding out.   I really thought we had made some progress but things are once again just as bad as they were a few months ago.

Not really plagiarism

I have another Blog, it is not as widely read as this one, partly because in theory at least it is not as wide ranging as this one, and also because every now and then I lose interest and don't post for some time.   Occasionally there is a crossover between the two and then I may make the same post on both.   After realising that I had not posted since February and some prompting from a friend to get it going again I have put up a couple of things this last week.   Today I posted a bit about playing at IDAHO ~ this is it.

Most of the time we just potter through life getting on with our own little lives, but every now and then we get the chance to do something, to stand up get noticed and influence people, to do something important.   For most people most often this will happen when it is something that effects us directly, but as a musician every now and then we have the opportunity to do something important.  

Last weekend a few members of the Croydon Band had one of those opportunities.    We were asked to play at an event in Croydon Town centre for IDAHO
that is the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.   A selection of gay, and trans groups combined with some local Churches to promote freedom within diversity.   Freedom from violence, abuse, and prejudice.   I'm not sure how much effect this first local event will have, but there did appear to be some conversations being had and notice was taken.

I don't know whether the band will be back next year but I will be as it seems to me that this is A Good Thing

I titled the Post "A Good Thing" I have deliberately not outed myself but I just wanted my non trans friends and readers to think about this a bit, maybe it will help, maybe not, but it is always worth a try. Either way the band was very popular and I think we may have acquired a few fans

Monday, 27 May 2013

What a Weekend

Well what a fantastic weekend for the sports fan.   I am currently watching my recording of Saturday's Aviva Premiership final (Rugby), we have the second and final test match against New Zealand (Cricket) today my local team Crystal Palace play Watford in arguably the richest soccer game in the world, yesterday there was the Women's FA Cup Final, the French Open Tennis and of course the Monaco Grand Prix.   In and around all these events there is much to discuss and much I could write, but for now I think I shall put the all to one side while I think of things closer to home.

It has been a busy weekend as on Saturday I had to work for much of the day before dashing off to play as some friends reaffirmed their marriage vows as part of the celebration of 20 years married.  On Friday evening some friends asked us to join them going out for dinner, my wife declined this invitation as she had the one to the 20th anniversary party.   At the moment getting her to do anything, or indeed even to speak more than a couple of words is like pulling teeth, I am running out of both ideas and patience.   This afternoon we are planning to go to the Crystal Palace (the Park not the football ground) for the car sprints, I hope this will be fun and something we can enjoy together.
Benedict Cumberbatch, and English Actor

Later this evening all three of us will be going to the cinema to watch the latest Star Trek film.   I expect to enjoy this partly because it will be a rare occasional when we do something as a family, but also because the producers have obeyed one of the first rules of making a good Hollywood film, cast an English Actor as the baddie!

Friday, 24 May 2013

How Wrong Can I Be

There I was this morning all set up to have a nice leisurely bath, a cup of coffee and a nice easy day, maybe a bit of admin and sorting out my van insurance, when I looked out of the window and realised that it wasn't raining.

Yea, no raining equals going out and working, much work to do, not much time to do it so today I had two of us lined up to catch up on all my back log.   So off I trolled in my van to pick up my friend B, before I could get there it started raining again and didn't stop until about five O'clock this afternoon.   Well I did get my coffee but not much beyond that and an interesting conversation on business planning.   I ended up spending a quite afternoon achieving not very much, but then that's probably just what I needed, however it does mean that tomorrow I now have two customers I must be dressed respectably and at the Church for at the run through before playing by mid afternoon.   I have said many time before that I am a fan of marriage, and as my friends are reaffirming their marriage vows I want to do everything I can to help make the day special.

Jamieson at Fantasia Fair photo by Mariette Allen
I am no fan of the Daily Mail, and after the Lucy Meadows affair I am unlikely to become one.   I you wonder why, just Google Daily Mail Transgender and see how many positive stories you can find, but I did have this interesting article pointed out to me.   It's good to see photos of transgendered people that just make them appear to be ~ well, ~ people.   More power to her shutter I say.

Hi ho, hi ho it's off to work we go

Weather forecasts are notoriously wrong, r at the very best very difficult to get right, but we all keep listening to them.   Today it is meant to rain, all day, so far we have had some early morning it is now about 9:00 O'clock and fine so off to work I go and the admin will have to wait even longer.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

So much for the forecast

Today's weather forecast was predictably wrong, though today I have no complaints as the forecast was for rain, the sort of rain that would have been enough to stop me working for the day.   I have been having a good run and haven't lost a day to rain for several weeks now, although it looks like I may tomorrow, the current forecast is for heavy rain for most of the day.   Mind you we need the rain, even though it's been pretty cold and miserable it is some time since we have had much useful rain.   So I don't want to lose the working tie, but we do need the rain.

Today was another long day at work, eight and a half chargeable hours,  and then admin when I eventually get home, so if I am not waxing lyrical about some point of fashion or politics, it is simply that I am too tired to think; so good night, maybe I will be a bit more creative tomorrow.

Every Silver Lining has a cloud

I know I have talked about the value of having something to look forward to, I have also said a couple of times recently that I am looking forward to a rehearsal on Sunday, so that I can start to familiarise myself with the music we will be playing and also so I get an opportunity to dress.   Since I am not a bank I have only just worked out that Monday is a Bank Holiday, the rest of the week is half term, so no orchestra Rehearsal on Sunday and no Band rehearsal on Wednesday.   Foolishly I have arranged to work on Saturday and have one appointment on Monday, I think I will try to rearrange Monday so we can go out together and watch the sprints at Crystal Palace.

It seems that as a family we rarely get to do much together, of course at the moment much of our emotional energy is absorbed by the GCSE exams, that will then be replaced by performances by one or the other of my daughter or me, to go out as a family together and just enjoy the day will be good.

Having said all that without the rehearsals I was expecting I shall have to do at least some practise, and I do need some Paula time.   Not sure how I am going to engineer that, maybe I should just wait and see if it rains, and then sort out my silver lining.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Good News

Yesterday the House of Commons voted in favour of same sex marriage.   This, of course, does not mean that it is law yet, there are still quite a few hurdles to be negotiated, not least the House of Lords.   I believe that in many ways the Bill is fundamentally flawed, but this is basically good news.   This means that in future marriage will be an option for all, it also means that for existing married couples where one of the partners transitions they can remain married.   I think this is an issue about equality, it is not about Theology or faith, it has been made quite clear in the Bill that most faith groups have a choice about whether they conduct these marriages or not, further because of it's unique constitutional position the Church of England is specifically excluded from conducting any same sex marriages.   Interestingly one of the flaws in the Bill is that the Church in Wales is also excluded, whoever drafted the legislation seems to have over looked the simple fact that unlike the Church of England the Church in Wales is not established.   There is still a lot of opposition to this Bill, but I suspect and hope that now this stage has gone trough the passage will be easier.

Many of the objections to same sex marriage are based on Christian teaching, yet this is not as clear as many would make us think, indeed biblical teaching on marriage altogether is rather fluid, it is difficult to separate out the teachings of church and culture against what it actually says in the Bible.   However even if a Church believes that homosexuality is sinful, in a modern secular society that is not a reason to not allow a practise.   Surely if we believe in marriage then we should make it available to all, an expression of love commitment and exclusivity.   Far too many marriages fail, but that is no argument against marriage itself, maybe once we have made marriage available to all we can also make civil partnerships available to all as well.

There are many things that worry me about our politics and our politicians here in the UK, the determined anti Europe stand of many, the unthinking dislike (verging on hate) of immigration and immigrants, the failure to address the widening gulf between the wealthiest and the poorest, the ping pong with our education system, I could (and often do) go on, but the point is I am no fan of our elected representatives so it is good to find they have done something I approve of.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sometimes it's hard

On Saturday we were rather naughty and seemed to go through an awful lot of rather poor double entendres. As we were waiting to start playing  there was the comment, "Now I've got it out I want to play with it" not much later one of my Gay friends seeing my Tuba commented that I obviously liked to blow something big.   Well tonight's post is not meant to be in that vein, no cheap Dick Emery type humour intended, it's just that sometimes it is hard to find a theme for a daily post.

I have set myself a goal for, amongst other things, a daily post, and I intend to attain that goal.   But as I say sometimes it's hard, and by the amount of waffle I have already got through it is pretty obvious that this is one of those times.   The day has been long and arduous, but of very little interest.   A lot of work has been done, but no tasks completed.   Rehearsal attended but little of note occurred, so what to blog about?

I did get a new pair of shoes via e-Bay they are very nice and quite comfy, I wore them to the rehearsal tonight and after three hours they were still fine.   To me they are obviously fem shoes but they could be seen as a little androgynous.  My intention was to polish them up and use them as dress shoes, but they are so comfortable that I suspect I will end up wearing them quite often as casual shoes as well.

They are cut just a little low, and wearing them with sheer socks meant that if anyone had looked they would have seen, but as so often happens no one looks, and people just see what they expect to see.   I fully expect that no one I have seen tonight could describe my shirt, even though it has a flamboyant flower motive, and equally I could not describe anything that most of the other members of the band were wearing.

So enough rambling, enough innuendo, I am off to bed now, and in the morning I have an early start as I have two (yes two) fences to erect.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

And so it goes

Just as a simple observation I am more than just a trans woman.   I mean I do have a life outside of dressing up, you may not need reminding of this, but sometimes I do.   At the moment I have a very busy schedule with lots of good stuff going on, but that does mean no time for playing dress up.

At yesterday's IDAHO event in central Croydon, we may or may not have attracted a lot of attention, I do believe that there were quite a few conversations being had between passers by and members of the team manning the stands.   Because I was playing I could not tell how useful these conversations were, but we did had several organisations joining together to try to combat Transphobia and Homophobia and many of those organisations are not part of the "community", these connections should be beneficial to all involved, we can only learn from each other, but we can only do that if we meet and get to know each other.    I trust that the exercise was useful, I also trust that the follow up publicity will attract even more attention than the event it's self, we shall see.

Following this event I had another Gig with a band in Westerham, this finished in time to get home have a curry with the family while we watched a recording of Doctor Who?   To say we were confused by the end would be something of an understatement.   I strongly suspect that anyone who thinks they know what's going on doesn't understand.

Today after Church and lunch I finally managed to get my runner beans planted and a few other garden chores, and in the morning it all starts with work again.   I have lots of work everyday (whoopi) and something on just about every evening (Monday rehearsal, Tuesday meeting, Wednesday rehearsal, Thursday 70th birthday party, Friday breath) and then next Saturday there is another performance as some friends reaffirm their marriage vows.

Sunday I hope I can get to the LGSO rehearsal if I manage to stay awake, I need the rehearsal and I really need to let Paula out to play.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

It's just not Fair

Cristi Hart (what ever she may say about Stana a blogging superstar in her own right) has brought to my attention a post by Helen Boyd author of My Husband Betty on the en Gender blog

Basically she says points out that what ever we do about being trans it effects other people, and most of all our spouses.   Any form of trans activity is selfish, and what ever we do about it, transition, occasional outings, or hiding in the closet at home, it does effect and probably hurt those we love (or should) most.   I suppose this is the main reason why I am only semi out, the effect that my activities have on my wife are not good.   She now accepts that this is a part of me, and that it will happen, but it hurts and our relationship will never be the same again.   Just as if I had engaged in an affair, I might be accepted and allowed but the hurt is there and the damage done.

So today I joined in an event to try and diminish Homophobia and Transphobia, maybe by being open and "out there" we can slowly change preconceptions.   However as the event was quite local and involved a number of people who don't know, or know about Paula I was in drab.   I don't like showing people who have only so far met Paula "him" but the potential embarrassment for my wife of allowing some of the others meet Paula outweighed all other considerations.

Otherwise I will admit to feeling a little down as I won't have an opportunity to dress now until next Sunday's rehearsal (if I am lucky) and I do miss it.

Don't Blink

There is now a video from the last LGSO concert of us playing some of the Mahler (first Symphony, second movement) up on YouTube, this is it, enjoy, turn the volume up and don't blink or you'll miss me.
The second video is from the February concert with some of the Shostakovich, just form a static camera this time, so feel free to blink, you won't see me anyway.

Sorry if I got anyone worried, there's no stone angels aloud on this blog, I've got protection.


Friday, 17 May 2013

It's Today

Today is IDAHO, what are you doing about it? Flash mob? banners? or like me waiting for tomorrow to be more high profile?

Looks like our event is coming together so I hope it all goes well and that we might even change a few minds, or at least make some one think a bit.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

I like being a Man

I'm not quite sure what prompted the thoughts this afternoon, but I started to to wonder about this whole transgender thing I have found myself in.   There are a lot (apparently according to the Internet) of transvestites of one form or another, those who call themselves "sissies" seem to be quite prevalent (on the Internet that is).   This seems to involve dressing in pretty pink the more lace, satin and bows the better, and practicality is not an issue.   This also seems to be heavily linked with a submissive side, whether that is of a sexual and fantasy nature only or throughout life I am not in a position to say.   There also seem to be a lot who are primarily interested in the clothes, The fashionista who is so "into" the clothes that they can only find satisfaction through wearing them, this too may well have a sexual element but it is certainly not so evident.   I always used to think that this was where I fitted in, but I am not so sure anymore.

As I have increasingly been doing ordinary things, normal activities but dressed as I prefer, I find that, yes, there is a very strong desire to be pretty, but more I want to be treated as a lady, to have my femininity acknowledged, to be accepted as a woman.   This I now find is more important that just wearing the clothes, also the clothes I choose to wear has been changing, sure I still like a short skirt, but I will no longer even consider anything on the more, err, flamboyant end of leisure interest clothing, OK so I do still have the black leather mini skirt, but it would have to be a very special occasion for it to come out in public.   I want to look pretty, elegant, maybe even desirable, but not like I am in fancy dress as a teenage girl or a hooker.

I am starting to ramble now, as what I actually wanted to write about was some of the things I enjoy about being a man.   I like my strength, that is my physical strength, and I enjoy the physicality of using it, mostly in the course of my work these days but I know it's there.   I enjoy being able to walk into a pub on my own and not worry about my safety.   I know that this is a right everybody should be able to enjoy, but as a middle aged fit white an I have a definite advantage.   I don't like to feel vulnerable, just as I don't like rejection, as a white middle aged man I not only feel safe, but my opinions are taken seriously, there is an assumption that I know what I am talking about.    I have just been to quote for a job, I am quite sure that my apparent persona was a factor in everything I said being accepted.

I like being a father, I'm not sure how good a father I am, but my relationship with my daughter gives me more pleasure, and more angst than just about anything else.   I don't think I would make a good mother.   I like being a husband, I like that my loved ones rely on me, on my strength and my ability to provide, even though my track record has not always been great.

In many ways the things I like about being a man are the opposites of what I like about being a woman, As a woman I like to be able to defer to others, I like to be provided for (even if it is just being bought drinks) I like to feel protected, I like to feel I am in some way ornamental (of course not solely ornamental, but I like to fool myself that by presenting myself as well as I can I can be elegant, pretty, even desirable).

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

All Change Please

As you can see, inspired by Stanna I have had another fiddle about with the look of the blog.   The idea is to try to make it easier to read, let me know what you think does it work? is it too bland? how does it look on a mobile?

I have mentioned a few times about the Croydon IDAHO event on Saturday, not only will I be there but I will also be playing.   I had hoped to get a band from within the LGBT community, but couldn't I just don't have enough contacts yet.   Instead I have had to call in some favours from a local band, this means that we will have some music there, but since I am very much not out to these guys I shall have to do something I have up till now avoided.   As a general principle I have tried to keep Him and Paula separate, very few people who have met both, apart from some close personal friends I have known for years, I have tried to keep the two separate.   This is partly to maintain the illusion, and partly to save confusion, in some way it seems impolite to appear as one gender one day then anther on the next.

So far I have only been seen by members of LGSO, the Croydon Trans Group and my hair dresser as Paula, but on Saturday I shall be there playing as Paul.   Ho hum said Pooh.   Sometimes these things just can't be arranged how we would like.   I was tempted to use the occasion to come out to these friends, but on sober reflection my wife would be devastated, as she would be if anyone we know saw me in Croydon town centre, plying the Euphonium while wearing a dress, so maybe it is all working out for the best after all.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Not sure about this one

The other day I bought some new nail polish, nothing remarkable in this, but unusually for me it is not any sort of pink or red.   Apart from one bottle of a bronze all my nail polish is pink or red in one form or another, also like dresses I have far too many.   Anyway getting back to my new colour it is very pale, almost white, but looks great in the bottle.

I had a little time at home today between having some work done on my van and doing some gardening work.   I was ostensibly doing some admin work on the computer, so while I was at it I thought I would try out my new colour.   Thing is I can't decide whether I like it or not.

I rather like the idea of these current colours, but I am not sure that this one is quite me, maybe I will give it another try one day when my nails are longer and I am going out somewhere.

After cleaning off my nails it was back to work and being reminded of one of the reasons I love what I do

Monday, 13 May 2013

A Good Time to be a Woman

I heard a piece on the radio this morning commenting about the amount of misogyny still around, the comment was made that although this is probably the best time ever to have been a woman, especially a white western middle class woman, a lot of modern women still experience an awful lot of prejudice, restriction and violence.   It does worry me that even in the UK at the beginning of the twenty first century we still do not have a situation where everyone has the same opportunities and entitlements, and is treated with the same respect.   This is something that I would hope people bear in mind when they have the opportunity to vote, these are bigger issues than whether we should stay in the EU or what the level of duty is on a can of lager.

I am perhaps in a very privileged position to be able to have an insight into the differences between how men and women are treated.   As a woman I often feel vulnerable, when I enter a strange room, not knowing what is going to greet me, just walking down a quiet dark street or on occasion just going about my day to day business.   This is something I never feel as a man, I long for the day when women don’t have to feel like this.   I want my daughter to be as free, in every way, as her male contemporaries.

It also lead me to thought that this must also be the best time we have yet had to be a trans woman, on Saturday evening we discussed how important the internet had been to many of us, in making us understand that we are not alone and what our options and alternatives are.   Growing up I felt so totally isolated on this, I was sure that I must be some sort of pervert and that I should keep this aspect of myself well and truly hidden.   For any one growing up now in a similar situation a simple web search will show that they are not alone, that many people manage to lead happy fulfilled lives either in the gender they identify as, or switching between, and that support and help is available.

We can now go out in public without fear, we can meet in public, we can be part of society.   Of course this is from the privileged position of a middle class white Western European experience.   It is better than it was but we are still not universally accepted there are still plenty of places and situations where a girl like me can be risking her very life just by admitting what she is, or by being seen in public.   This is why things like the International Day of Trans Remembrance and the upcoming International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia are so important.   I aim to be doing my bit for IDAHO on Saturday, what about you?

By the eyebrows of Fernando Alonzo

I did enjoy today's Spanish Grand Prix, despite the fact that a lot of the "racing" is contrived with tyres designed not to last the course, DRS and KERS for once the race at the front was largely interesting, the best car and driver won, not because of luck or "strategy" but because they were faster and overtook other cars.   Alonzo was particularly impressive at the front but there were other points of interest, as the great detective might have said.   Hamilton was way out performed by Rosberg, and Button did well to go from 14 at the start to 8th by the finish, and Massa going from 9th on the grid to collect the third place trophy.

It was a nice way to spend the afternoon and relax.

A much needed opportunity to relax, I feel as though I have been overdoing it and need some time off, it's just that looking in my diary and the work I have in hand I can't see how that's going to happen.   More likely I will be working the next few Saturdays as well my usual five day week, so Sundays will be that little bit more important.   I must take the chances I get to relax, I will also be trying to drink a little less and get to bed earlier.   So not a new year resolution but a couple of simple aims for the rest of May
  1. get to bed on the same day I get up, and
  2. have at least three alcohol free days each week.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

It's so easy

It's just so easy in boy mode, I have yet to go to a black tie do as Paula, other than my recent concerts, and even as then when limited to black I still have to choose between trousers and a blouse, skirt and top, dress, then which dress, should that dress be worn with jacket or shawl, in boy mode the only decision is cummerbund or not?

And of course it is the same problem all the time, I am finding my lack of casual girl clothes a wee bit of a problem now I a going to rehearsals where a dress is not always suitable, but there always seem to be more choices to make as a girl than a boy, so any guys out there give us some time and sympathy.

Tonight, tonight

Well it was very nice to meet up with a couple of readers, welcome ladies, being such a fine self publicist I have obviously promoted Paula's Place at previous meetings of the Croydon Trans Group and tonight found that a couple of ladies have been reading.   This of course means that I did make it to the meeting, it was actually a very pleasant afternoon and evening.

I think I finished work at about 3:00 p.m. and not long after that my wife and daughter went out, first shopping and then to a local fund raiser they are involved in.   This meant that I had time.   Time that most precious of commodities, so often when getting ready or going out I have to rush, hide or all too often finish getting dressed and made up in the van.   This afternoon I had the house to myself and plenty of time, time to do my nails, change my mind about the colour and do them again.   Time to have a relaxed bath, using some nice smellies I bought myself a while back, time to shave everything that needed shaving and to anoint myself with suitable lotions.   Time to play with my hair finding out what I can do with some mouse and a hair dryer (quite pleased with the result actually), and finally time to dress fully before leaving.   All this and a couple of loads of washing and changing the bed!

Fully dressed and made up in daylight I slipped out the back way to my van to make my way into Croydon, fortunately there were no neighbours around, and I had an uneventful trip into Croydon.   I arrived early (plenty of time again) so had time to eat before we got under way properly.    I would like to use public transport so I could have a drink, but I don't think I am yet ready to stand at the bus stop outside my house, or perhaps more to the point come home full dressed not knowing who is going to be up and waiting.  

It was interesting to observe the reactions of some of the other customers of the pub where we met, when I arrived I was the first, sure at 5 foot ten and a size 16 I am a large lady, but not that out of the ordinary, arriving on my own at a quiet suburban pub of course I got noticed as any lone female would, added to that you don't need a degree in English to read me, yet only one or two customers seemed to take any sort of note, and to be honest they didn't care.   A little later four or five girl arrived together, I think they are all a little larger than me (boasting again) and of course they got noticed.   All the other customers appear quite happy with us there, and the boss is very happy with our custom, but there is no disguising who or what we are. one of us in a group of GGs (Genetic Girls), with civilians might just be noted as being a large girl, but when you get six or seven of us together it is pretty obvious.

I like beer, as a bloke I drink pints of the stuff, given the opportunity I would drink quarts and gallons of it, my good friend S likes beer and drinks pints, yet she advised me that it is not generally considered ladylike to drink pints.   It is OK for her to drink pints because she is obviously a girl drinking a pint, but if Paula drinks a pint then it brings into question her gender, so Paula sticks to halves.   There are things we cannot control, our height, our shoe size, the width of our shoulders, but there are also things we can control, primarily our behaviour, so lets show them that we are Ladies.

I want to embrace this and use it as an opportunity to show that as trans women we can be elegant, gracious, safe and friendly.   But that does mean that we need to be lady like, so I implore you if you are in a group like mine, BEHAVE!

Ladies, please, keep your knees together, don't show your stocking tops to strangers, think about how you are behaving, what you are saying, and how you say it.   We are on display.   Now I have to say that I think the group of ladies I met with tonight mostly had it about right.   One or two would pass quite well, some of us might be marginal, and lets be honest some struggle not to appear bloke in a dress, but I maintain if we behave in a ladylike manner then how we look is less important than how we behave.

It is now nearly ten on Sunday morning and I have just been through this post again and corrected a LOT of spelling / typing errors, I must clean my keyboard......... 

Saturday, 11 May 2013


Apparently this is my seven hundred and first post.   It would be fitting to have something momentous to say but I have very little.  Although the last few days have largely consisted of work I have had one opportunity to push my comfort zone.   Last night I was out dressed very strangely in one piece red suit white All Stars and blue crash helmet.

My friend has entered for a twenty our hour kart race, and has now found that his team are short of the number of drivers required, so I had a try out as fourth driver.   Although he was very kind about my performance I was not to impressed, not only was I the slowest bloke on the track I was also the oldest.   Mind you I can't use that as an excuse as my friend would have been the second oldest and he was the fastest!   My best lap time was about 10 seconds off a reasonable race pace, not only that but I seemed to spend far too much time either spinning or about to spin.   The strange thing is I felt as though I was going pretty fast, but the times were pretty slow, well at least that's one thing I managed pretty!   I think I should stick to driving the van, and maybe helping by providing a bit support, I don't think I have found a previously over looked vocation.

Right now I have just returned home after working this morning, it looks like I shall have to work quite a few Saturday's as long as the weather allows, it is the only way I can see to catch up on y backlog of work.   Unfortunately more less as I got home my wife and daughter went out, they are going to a local fund raising function which while it means I won't be seeing much of them this weekend it does mean that I have plenty of time to get ready to go out to my support group tonight.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Just like riding a bike

After a few hours gardening and breaking another lawn mower (this time the handles on my big mower actually did break) for once I was actually back in good time to get to the osteopath..   This meant I had time to have a wash and get changed before going, something I like to do but not essential, it just feels more friendly to go looking and feeling clean and respectable rather than dirty and in my work clothes.

After only a short wait I went in and enjoyed a good pummelling, I really needed this as I was beginning to get pretty stiff far too much of the time.   I wonder how much of this is down to old injuries and how much to the nature of my work, either way it is something I have to accept and my regular visits to the osteopath mean that I can keep moving and working.   A perfect gentleman he always seems genuinely pleased to see me and has never commented on my coloured toe nails or my taste in underwear.

A little later still I finally managed a concert band rehearsal, it seems like a long time since I have been to one of these since last week's rehearsal was cancelled and the week before I was ill, it was good to get the tuba out and play, even though at times it felt as though I had to relearn the instrument.   I first learnt on the EEb and I can always play that without having to think, then I learnt the Euphonium for a short while and then the Bass Trombone, again with these I need to practise if I haven't played for a while but don't have to think.   I learnt all of these as a teenager both the BBb and the CC I learnt as an adult (in the case of the CC just the last few years) and if I am not playing regularly I have to think about the fingering.   The basic technique is the same for all tubas it is just a question of remembering all the different fingerings.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hair piece

This morning my first appointment was with my hair dresser, I like the way she cuts and styles my hair, in boy mode I think a longer style actually suits me better than the current normal short hair, in girl mode I am just so much more comfortable not wearing a wig.   On the other hand the wig does allow me to be blond and I don't think I would get away with dyeing my hair just yet.   One disappointments for me is that after it has been styled my hair looks so nice, but after a day or so it loses the styling from the blow dry and I can never quite manage to reproduce the full effect.

To try to solve this problem I have book longer for my next visit so I can have a perm!   Not a curly Kevin Keegan style perm just a soft perm to hold the style.   This will be pushing the boundaries of what may or may not be acceptable, I will have to see, and if I get away with the perm then the next thing is to have my ears pierced!   The other day my wife took our daughter to have a piercing on her nose, knowing that I disapprove they went ahead anyway, I did say that if she had her nose pierced then I would get my ears done, but I'm not sure that they believed me.

Now I need to go and do some work so will have to get changed clean of the slap and take off my nail polish.   I am always reluctant to clean off my nails, it makes me quite sad, each time it feels like I am abandoning Paula and hiding her away again, still she will be out again at the weekend as I will be going to my support group, for the first time this year!   I have had a chance to try a few outfits and as long as it's not too cold then I will be wearing the dress in this photo, maybe with a cardigan.   I shall try to remember to take a camera and see if one of the other girls will take some pictures for me.

Now back to work, later the osteopath and then a rehearsal.

Cleanly does it

So another busy day, but I did manage to find some time this morning to repaint my toe nails, and this evening when I had a quick shower it was not so quick  that I couldn't shave.   As I will be with both my hairdresser and my osteopath tomorrow I want to be able to present a nice smooth presentation.   As I was thinking about this earlier I decided that hair was not nice but OK, clean shaved was best but worst was stubble.

So tomorrow when I go to the osteopath  there will be no stubble, just nice clean shaved flesh, on legs chest back etc. I shall enjoy the experience and not feel worried about the odd bit of hair just as in the morning I shall enjoy having my hair cut and will do my best to ignore the fact that the hair line is fast receding in a northerly direction.

I shall now retire to bed as I know I am a little "relaxed" after a couple of pints with my brother, more tomorrow, reports on both the hairdresser and the osteopath, and maybe some musing on tonight's trip to the pub.   That is unless something more interesting doesn't happen.

Monday, 6 May 2013

A Busman's Holiday

Here in the UK today was a Bank Holiday, and since I did work on Saturday and had a Brass Band Gig yesterday I thought it best that I spent the day at home with the family, after all I need all the brownie points I can get.   For once I did manage to get up late, so often recently when I have had the opportunity for a bit of a lay in I have been awake even earlier than normal and have had too get up as I just couldn't get back to sleep.

Well this morning I did manage to sleep, and when I did get up I could treat myself to a nice breakfast with some special black pudding I bought at the craft fair the band was playing at yesterday.   Black pudding is one of my guilty secrets ( if the small boy at the back with the dirty mind could stop giggling for a moment) I know that it is high in fat and calories and all the other things that are probably bad for me, but it does taste good, especially along with a fried egg.   So after a leisurely breakfast I set about some of the tasks I had set myself for the day, most of these were garden related, and after first the bad weather and then being so busy it was good to get my veg patch clear and some seed planted.   I also managed to clear another couple of areas and transplant some sweet williams, another job that is a few months overdue.

I am particularly relieved too have got my onions in, they have already started to sprout in the bag, my only worry now is that the cats will dig them up after I have prepared such a nice well dug over fine surface on the bed.   There is still plenty to do in the garden, but I feel a lot happier about it than I did on Friday, maybe we will manage to have our open garden again the this year after missing out the last couple of summers.   We finished off with a barbecue, just the three of us, but that is just fine by me, we all ate far too much meat and we particularly enjoyed some Hereford beef steak burgers, again bought at yesterday's craft fair.

Simple Pleasures

The other day Joey commented that "The thought of having to go to the hairdressers and the osteopath would be like torture to me!" this made me muse as to just what the attraction is, because I know I do enjoy both of these experiences.   Certainly part of it is the outcome, My hair looks better after I have had it cut and styled, and my whole body feels much better after a good pummelling.   Indeed past experience tells me that if I don't visit the osteopath regularly eventually my back will give out and I will need to take time off work until the pain subsides and I can move again.   So utility is part of it.   But only part.

I now that I like being the centre of attention, and in both of these situations I am the centre of somebodies attention, the hairdresser is totally and solely concerned with my hair, the osteopath with my body, not only that but in both situations I am being pampered, they are quite sensual experiences.   There are other things I do, like having my eyebrows threaded where the experience itself is not pleasant, but I am still the centre of attention and there is a positive outcome, but the overall experience is not a pleasurable one.   So it would seem that for me the combination of the sensual experience, being the centre of attention and of course the outcome.   having said all that believe me, if your legs felt like mine do at the moment you too would be looking forward to a massage.

A couple of days ago our daughter had her nose pierced, against my wishes, but then I'm getting used to that, I am quite sure that it was not a pleasurable experience, I am now considering having my ears pierced, I would not anticipate it being any fun, but it would allow me a much wider choice of earrings, however I do wonder if that might be a step too far, how would my family and friends react, or perhaps more to the point how would my wife react? I'm quite sure that the argument that she didn't worry about what I thought when she took our daughter to have her nose pierced so why should I worry about how they react if I have my ears done will not hold water

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Beans, Beer and the Doctor

Like most people I have good days and I have bad days, sometimes it is very difficult to tell in advance what a day is going to be like.   I can look in my diary to see what I should be doing, but that is only a clue, so much depends on the customer, the traffic, what actually needs doing and how long it takes.   Yesterday was good day.   Although I started a little shakily with some rain which meant I had to go and bring in some washing, it soon dried up and I could get off to work.   First visit to this customer, a friend from Church who broke his leg in February and still can't dig or do any heavy work in his garden.   So I made a start on clearing his veg patch, potted up some strawberry runners and dug out his bean trench.   All very satisfying work and all done in the sunshine.

When I got home I actually had a spare half hour so I could fix my favourite lawn mower.    An old Hayter Harrier 16 inch push mower this machine is ideal for my work, robust enough to survive, light enough to lift in and out of the van, easy to use, and cuts very nicely (with stripes).    The only trouble is that because all my mowers are old and get worked pretty hard I find it difficult to keep up with maintenance.   Now I have the Hayter sorted I need to clean out the carb on my little Mountfield and check the drive one the big beast.   It is nice to have my favourite back in working order.

After that it was down to the band room to pick up the gear for today's gig and then up to the Grape & Grain to meet a friend for a quick pint.    This friend used to live nearby but has had to move back to the Kent Coast to be with his Mother so I don't get to see him very often, it was nice to relax over a leisurely pint and catch up before he had to go back to Margate.

All that and a good Doctor Who, definitely a Good Day

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Weekend Starts Here

Here in the UK we have a Bank Holiday on Monday (for Mayday) so this should mean a long relaxing weekend, good weather a little pottering in the garden and maybe even a barbecue if the weather holds.   Instead I will be working today (Saturday) bandstand concert (in drab) on Sunday and then only on Monday will I get a bit of a break, and by then I shall probably be shattered.

This has been a pretty heavy week already as I have been catching up on work that had been put off during the bad weather, along with all the seasonal work I would expect anyway.   That and no dressing opportunities, indeed with my regular rehearsal cancelled no real social outings at all, a bit of a flat week.   On the positive side I am working! and next week I have an appointment with both my hairdresser and my osteopath and then on Saturday a meeting of the Croydon Trans Group so that gives me at least three things to look forward to.

I find I need things to look forward to, to anticipate and plan for.   My Father always used to say that the anticipation was better than the event, I don't know about that but I can see what he was getting at, sometimes late at night I will poor myself a large Scotch, and spend a minute or so just looking at it, anticipating the sensation of enjoying that first sip the caramel or peaty taste as the whisky is rolled around in the mouth leading to the burn of the alcohol, then the warmth as it is swallowed, then and only then do I actually take a sip.   I wonder if shopping is a bit like that, the looking at all the different items, trying them on, imagining the situation in which they would be worn.   Maybe that is why I have so many dresses.

The video is nothing to do with anything other than I just found it, and the guitarist is a (virtual) friend of mine - you really do rock Anita!

Friday, 3 May 2013

They're all at it

I think my honey bunny has a long way to go before we get to this point.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Well Dressed

A thought crossed my mind this morning, that I probably have more clothes than my father ever had in his life.   Clothes are cheaper now than ever before so we can afford to have half a dozen pairs of work trousers as well as suits, jeans and slacks.   Then the thought occurred that not only did I probably have more trousers, I definitely had more dresses.   Then I thought how many dresses do I have

4 Black
2 black and white cotton ( one of these is almost more a tunic it is so short)
1 Black and silver cocktail dress
1 white cotton
1 black and white midi
1 pastel green shift
1 mauve skater dress
1 black and grey tailored dress
2 grey tailored
1 grey sweater dress
2 cotton print summer dresses
1 pink dress and jacket suit
1 bright pink cotton

19! I think that's all, but I may have over looked a summer dress that I haven't worn for a couple of years since we didn't have a summer last year.  That is probably more dresses than my Mother ever had, and certainly more than my wife has (at least ones that she can wear)   I think I need to learn to show some restraint, I now have a dress that is suitable for every possible situation, and given that I also have trousers, jeans, skirts tops and that lot includes three suits, 1 trouser, 1 skirt, and 1 dress my girl wardrobe is now far too big.   I ought to try to rationalise my clothes somehow, but just can't see how I will manage.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

When the Music Fades

After the concert most of the Orchestra, and quite a few of the audience went for a drink, one of the problems with playing in the City is the price of a beer afterwards.   Not only were the prices way high but to add insult to injury the bar closed very early.   A few of us decided to go to another pub afterwards, I hadn't realised just how far away the other pub was, and we ended up taking a bus!

Thank Goodness for the loo mirror
It was a fun way to end the evening with a beer in the company of some very nice people, and one or two totally outrageous ones.   In a quieter moment one of the more outrageous ones asked about my situation, especially interested in my sexuality, although he put it as "are you gay" I resisted the flippant answer of "well I'm quite happy", but gave a more considered reply.   This is something that has given me much pause for thought recently and my conclusion is that as a man I am straight, I fancy women, and only women, however as a woman it is more complicated I think Paula maybe Bi or straight, that is as a woman I do fancy men, I also fancy women but is that him in her subconscious, either way it doesn't really matter as I am married.   After that the conversation got a lot less heavy again.

The first dress, I really like this ne
I did get some compliments on my dress and more on my shoes, although I understand that I was "out shoed" by one of the violins with a particularly spectacular pair of heels.   Also after one of the lads complimented my dress the other girl I was with told him that he should have seen the one I wore last time as that was a really special dress!   I have four black dresses, one of them is probably a bit too short, and a couple of top and bottom combinations so that should be enough, but looks like I need to get some more shoes, this is war!

It's better than being a tree

I understand that many parents have problems accepting the trans nature of their children.   I can understand that, I did have occasion a while back to work with the father of a former colleague who had subsequently transitioned, they were estranged.   The father felt betrayed, in some way as though it was his masculinity that was being denied.   Reading others blogs I hear of similar situations where parents cannot accept that their own children are still good people, just not of the gender they may have appeared.   I know we are out of the ordinary, but there are worse situations to find yourself in.

Here Sherman is getting a trial run at acceptance