Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 30 June 2014

Sunday Evening

I'm a Cover Girl!
Well WOW what a weekend!   I have already related a little of my first ever trip to Pride, and the slightly unscheduled outing events of Saturday evening, what I might not have added is that as I was getting lift to and from that concert I was able to have a drink (or four or five) in the pub afterwards, so I went to bed late, happy and just a little drunk.   Knowing that I had time to have a bit of a lay in I wasn't too worried, but then on Sunday morning I woke up around seven and just couldn't get back to sleep.

Looking on the bright side this did mean that I had time to get my act together for the afternoon rehearsal and evening Gala Concert.   With my bag packed, my Trombone in tow and a flask and sandwiches prepared it was back up to town to the wonderful new Milton Court Concert Hall at the Guildhall School of Music in the Barbican.   The rehearsal was fun and the hall brilliant, it will be a bit of a pain having to go back to the Church next season.

Our Soloists Soraya Mali, Michelle Daly, Nicky Spence
and Timothy Connor enjoying the "after concert"
The concert itself was great fun for the all involved, the Orchestra, the Soloists and our chorus, the excellent Pink Singers I think the audience enjoyed themselves as well as we got lots of genuine spontaneous applause.   I had at least four friends in the audience a couple of girls from Croydon Trans, and perhaps more impressively one of my customers (who by now I consider more a friend) and her son, neither of whom have any LGBT connections but just came to listen to the music.   This is the sort of audience I want to get.

And then afterwards we all moved up the road and rather took over one of the local hostelries, I thoroughly enjoyed my night and was rather surprised by just how late it was when I eventually left

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Still a Good Day

Still thinking about yesterday's "Good Day" I will carry on my story after the parade had passed.   By now we were all in need a drink and a "restroom", Trafalgar Square was going to be like a zoo so we adjourned to a local hostelry.   Of course the Pub was mostly occupied by revellers from Pride so we didn't even get a second look, well not true because we did end up in conversation with the guys at the next table.   In all I ended up enjoying myself a little too much until I suddenly realised just how late it had got and had to make a mad dash for home.

I was sorry to yet again miss an opportunity to hear the fabulous London Gay Big Band in action but I was already committed to a local band performance myself.   I arrived home less than ten minutes before a friend was due to pick me up, I was in full make up and displaying scarlet nail polish and a selection of subtle but still very fem jewelry.   There was no way that I was going to be able to do my transformation act in time - and indeed I had no inclination to, these days I find I am just so much more comfortable presenting my true self.   The All Saints Concert Band is a very friendly local community band which I have been involved with ever since it's inception way back in 1975.   Last night I was actually the only one who was there back at the first performance, but there were several people I have known for many, many years.   All these factors combined to create a sort of perfect storm.

So, I was left with the choice I could just change into my dinner jacket and leave on my make up and nail polish, or put on a black dress.  All things considered I thought that the dinner jacket was likely to send a more confused message than a dress, so one of my more conservative and comfortable black dresses it was.

I don't generally like to just surprise people like this, but somehow last night it just seemed right.   Generally I like to sit down with someone (while presenting as the man they are used to) explain about being trans, and then maybe show them a few photos, this is a model that has so far worked as I have not had any negative reactions so far, a couple of surprised ones but nothing negative.   Having found a model that works, why change it?   Probably because I stupid.

When my friend came to pick me up he barely raised an eyebrow, but then he is one of the most laid back people I know.   However when I arrived pretty much the only comments I got were complimentary and positive.   After the concert we all went to a local hostelry for some refreshments, I did have to make some explanations, but once again everything was very positive.   If anybody had any negative thoughts they certainly didn't come my way!   One girl I spoke to afterwards was very interested, and admitted that I had been confusing her, she had wondered if was gay, but couldn't reconcile that with my being married and having a daughter.   Well now she knew and was reassured by knowing (the dinner jacket would probably have confirmed this wrong impression).

After I explained, and asked people to call me Paula no one forgot and I was correctly gendered throughout, what a wonderful bunch of people!

I know there have been rumours circulating, at least they will not be rumours any more!

Proud!

Yesterday was "A Good Day" although I did manage at least one failure - my first attempt at waxing my legs, it hurt as expected, but also left too many hairs in place which wasn't expected.   Anyway that was just a minor irritation against the bigger picture.   And the bigger picture included Pride.

My friend Peter blowing his horn
Now untill yesterday I was a Pride virgin, I had heard a lot about it but had generally either considered it as nothing to do with me or people like me, or more recently I had other commitments.    Well yesterday I managed to free myself of all my daytime commitments so I could at least get up and see the parade with some friends from Croydon Trans.  This group is evolving and will be much more active soon, but that's another story, so, five of us met up at Charing Cross just in time to get soaked, at one point we did take shelter in one of the stall on Trafalgar Square as some of the heaviest rain I've ever seen in London fell on the revellers.    Of course the weather must have put a lot of people off going but there were still enough to be called a crowd.
The Band Approaching

I am sure I missed great deal, but we managed to find ourselves a spot by the railings to watch the parade.   I knew some of my friends were taking part as the London Gay Symphonic Winds were marching, I was a little more surprised to see one or two other friends taking part.

It was great fun, if damp, to be a spectator, but I think that next year one way or another I will be marching myself, whether that will mean carrying a Trans Flag or a tuba remains to be seen, but to paraphrase Max Boyce I Will Be There.

One little Face Book exchange I had before leaving
- friend - "Pride! its raining men, and rain"
- me - "OK so should I take an umbrella or a bucket?"

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Tan Lines

Today is Pride and I am going up to London, I also have to rush back for a concert this evening and then another tomorrow.   So I did my finger nail last night, and this morning did my toe nails to match (hope it's nice enough for sandals).   But I am aware of a fairly impressive bruise that is still showing on my right foot after dropping an iron trivet on it last week.


However the worst thing to my eye is the ridiculous tan line across my foot where deck shoes I wear for work stop.

The ups and downs of Work

Sometimes there are big disadvantages to a my job for a girl like me, the one that first comes to mind is the wear and tear on my nails.   It is really hard trying to preserve a decent manicure while weeding a patio, or indeed anything else.   Then of course there is the heavy lifting, this helps to build up muscle bulk in pretty much the same way as an hour or two a day pumping iron at the gym, I know, I've done that as well.

Many men I know would love to have musculature like mine, but not many girls.

On the other hand there are some positive benefits, over the last few weeks I have been developing a tan that would otherwise require either an expensive holiday or a lot of time on a tanning bed.   I have been wearing shorts quite a lot so my legs are a half decent colour, but I have been wearing tee shirts or vest a lot more so my arms and shoulders are positively brown.

On Sunday for our Gala Concert I will be wearing a backless dress (if I can sort out the minor problems with my boobs) and so a couple of time this week I have even been able to take off my shirt and enjoy the sun on my back.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wash Day Blues

Don't worry I'm not about to break into song, I will keep my blues strictly on the Bass.

One of the many downsides of my current lifestyle is that there is an awful lot of laundry to get done, not so bad at this time of year, I can generally just stuff it in the washing machine,, and then hang it out in the garden to dry ~ as an aside it is a little surprising how easily I have got used to hanging my pretty smalls as well as my not so pretty bigs out in comparatively public view ~ this way I can get two or three loads done in one day.   The ironing is another matter, but not what concerns me right now.

This is the first time in my life when I have regularly done my own laundry, first my mother did it, then I used to have a service wash, then my wife did it.   Now I have both a garden and a washing machine I do it, and as I say it's not too onerous a chore.   My problem may be due to lack of experience or knowledge but it is beginning to get me down.

How can my clothes come out of the machine dirtier than they went in?   Every now and then I will do a load of washing and as I hang it out I will find dirty grey smudges on one or two items.   Inevitably it is usually the white ones that are worst.   I wipe around the door seal, I have used a descaler, I have even run an empty wash, but still it happens.

What am I doing wrong? Can anyone give me any ideas how to stop this happening?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Leopard print tights

A while back I asked for some sartorial help, I only got two replies, and they contrasted about as much as is possible.   I suppose that as in everything else I simply have to weigh up the alternatives and find the style that suits me.

It was only a couple of days after that post that I found this on you tube.





Monday, 23 June 2014

Mid Summers Night Dream

I can't believe that 2014 is already half way through!   Maybe it is a sign of my ever increasing age, but I prefer to think of it as sign of how busy I have been this year.   Much of the year has been spent simply surviving, the winter was so wet that I had real trouble making ends meet and have been catching up one way and another ever since.

One aspect of all this busyness is that decisions seem to get made without a great deal on conscious thought.   I find that I am now more or less reconciled to the idea that I will be transitioning at some point, indeed I am now looking forward to it and have started to plan the how and when.   Just at the moment I am trying too "get all my ducks in a row"  what do I do first? who do I have to tell? will I be able to stay a member of my Church? but the biggest of all is how will my daughter react?

I had planned to talk to her about this the other night but somehow it never seemed to be the right moment.   Like Jack Sparrow I am a great believer in the opportune moment, but the longer I leave this the less likely it seems that an opportune moment will occur.   So my main task for this week is to at the very least arrange to have "That conversation" with her.   My brothers seem pretty cool with the whole thing and I suspect that the bands I play with will be OK as well (at least as long as I can still play the parts).

For many people in my situation work can be a big problem, one of the advantages of being self employed is that I shouldn't have too many problems there either.   I am sure that I may lose a couple of customers, but I expect to still have plenty of work.

So this week I need to set a time and date to see my daughter for "our little chat" I also need to do lots of practise for the weekend's concerts lead a Homegroup Bible study, attend two rehearsals (on different instruments) go to a concert on Friday with some friends, go to Pride London on Saturday before dashing home to get changed for a local concert in the evening and then the big LGSO Concert on Saturday.



We all have dreams, I dream of having time

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Choir Night

On Saturday Night I went to a concert, this was quite remarkable as it feels like a long time since I have been to a "proper" concert in a proper concert hall when one of the family was not performing.   A friend of mine is a member of the choir so I was keen to hear the Croydon Philharmonic Choir in this their Centenary season.   I am glad I did go, it was a good varied program and was sung well with excellent orchestral accompaniment from the New London Symphonia.

Unusually I am also glad that I went in drab!   It had been suggested to me that this might be better as some other people were going who have met my male self but not Paula, and it could be confusing.   I was OK with this as at a concert I always feel the music and the performance should be the centre of attention, not a performer, or even worse a member of the audience.   I was glad because when we took our seats I found myself seated next a gentleman wearing a very familiar tie.

Although a bit older than me, this tie told me that we had been to the same school, and he was chuffed to pieces when I spoke to him, saying I had recognised the tie and that I too was an "Old Croydonian", we did find we knew a few of the same people, he even thought he might have remembered my eldest brother (we all went there!) although I doubt it.  
He was so pleased that someone recognised the tie and spoke to him I was glad to bring that little bit of cheer, I suspect that Paula would not have said anything, or if she had it would have had to be "My brother is an Old Croydonian", true but not quite the same.

As we were all going home the subject of the next concert came up so I handed out flyers for the next LGSO concert, thus outing myself anyway, as this photo is on the back of the cards.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday

I'm only half way through Friday, but it has been a long and confusing week, I will write more later but just to let you all know that yesterday I survived being in drag the whole day, it felt a little weird actually, with my male suit shirt and tie, what now felt like heavy shoes and ordinary socks.   After that I had a great night out with my daughter, but all of this is overshadowed by the frustration of finding my van had been broken nto and my strimmer stolen.

I experienced some quite male anger over that and am now feeling very frustrated that although I have all the bits of strimmer of different makes and models to get started I can't get them to fit together into a viable tool.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Consultant

I know I have been absent without leave for a while, after managing to post every day during April, May and June have been a bit flaky so far.    This is not because I have not been up to much and have nothing to write about, far from it! rather I have been running around like a headless chicken trying to do too much and burning the candle at both ends. OK mixing my metaphors but I'm sure you get the idea that things are a little busy at the moment.   I actually have a little time at the moment (if I ignore the laundry, the washing up, the housework etc. etc.) as I have an appointment this afternoon that will in effect take up my whole working day.

My appointment is not till 2:30 but as it is on the South Coast I will have to meet my customer in Croydon at around midday in order to drive down and make sure we are in time.   This means that I don't have time this morning to get any gardening work done, and then get changed for my meeting before I have to leave.   It is certainly not a meeting that I can wear my gardening clothes to.   We have quite a decent contract with this particular Local Authority and it is very important to my customer that we retain it, even it means a drop in profitability.   This means our presentation needs to be right.

I have mentioned before about how my "transyness" has been leaking out, apparently more than I realised as it has been suggested to me that some of my recent sartorial choices may not be appropriate for this meeting.   All very friendly and I have no objections to the suggestion, it's just that having to "butch up" it actually now feels more like I'm in drag than when I am wearing a dress.
Another well known Waste Management Consultant

I now have to go and get myself ready, I have just cleaned off my nail polish, I will now have to take out my earrings, see if I can straighten my hair out a little and tie it back, put on the shirt tie and suit, and see if my dainty feet will still tolerate a pair of heavy brogues. Thank goodness it's too hot for tweed otherwise I might end up looking more like a butch lesbian than Tony Soprano

Monday, 16 June 2014

Quote of the Day

“My body sometimes feels sore, but it works.  I don’t sleep well most nights, but I do wake up to experience another day.  My wallet is not full, but my stomach is.  I don’t have all the things I’ve ever wanted, but I do have everything I need.  I’m thankful, because although my life is by no means perfect, it is MY life and I choose to be thankful in it, as I continue to do the best I can.”

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 13 June 2014

I'm not superstitious, but.........................

It is now 10:30 p.m. and I am just sitting down to my dinner as I write this post. I feel as though I have had a very busy day achieving very little.   I planned to make an earl start as I needed to swap a few things around in my van before making a start to the day proper with what has now become my regular Friday morning appointment with Nelly for electrolysis. Initially all went well, I had a bite of breakfast took my normal mower out and put in the big self propelled one, made sure I had the strimmer and some petrol and off I went.

I arrived for my ten O'clock appointment to find that Nelly wasn't in and that I was in teh hands of Helen.   Again no problem, accept that with all the organising we didn't get started till about 10:30.   Then as helen kept being called out t answer the phone or talk to a customer we didn't actually et through till nearly twelve. Don't get me wrong they are doing a great job and my moustache has almost disappeared, it's just that the job I had expected to be starting around 11:30 I actually started nearer to 12:30.   That job should only have taken up an hour, but somehow managed to run on the ninety minutes so now I was a good two hours behind.   I also seem to have developed a problem with the drive system on my big mower.

So now rather than a civilised lunch it was a mad dash round to unload the van and get to the timber merchant to pick up the materials for a fence I was booked to start today.   Of course the day carried on in the manner it had adopted and the timber merchant didn't have the sizes I wanted so I had to buy bigger and cut down (I HATE waste)   With all the mad dashing around I didn't realise I hadn't picked up the trellis I had paid for until after the timber merchant had shut, so I can't do anything about that till tomorrow.   All this time I was just falling further and further behind. The final straw came along and broke this camel's back when my jig saw broke, sure I have a pad saw I can use instead, but of course that was at home.

Dashing home, just stopping to pick up some food (Mother Hubbard impersonations going on at home) arriving back just in time to realise I was late for a "do" at the Church I had promised to attend.   This was very good, and I had a chance to spend a littel time with my daughter, but by the time it had finished I was in need of food.

Getting home, loading up the oven and sitting down with my laptop I see Meg's warning, Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I'm Leaking

I'm growing impatient; I find that I am growing increasingly uncomfortable in my male self not only do I take every opportunity to be feminine but I find that my femininity is leaking through into my male self.   I have now been sporting ear studs for some time, I also taken to wearing a chain, a fem watch and a couple of rings.   I now rarely bother to remove my nail polish until I have to.

I think I have now come to accept the inevitability of my transition, I am not aware of having made a positive decision at any point where I have said "Yes I am going to transition" rather it has been a serious of small decisions that have led me to this point.   I don't think I can continue in this way, I have been warned that it could be many, many months before I hear anything from the GID Clinic, so I may have to start taking some actions on my own.

Due to the nature of my work I do want to be able to go out without makeup, so I do want to be a lot further along the line with my electrolouis as facial hair is not necessarily a good look.

I am checking out websites on how to change my name, what I can have on a new passport or drivers license without legally transitioning.

But right now I am pondering the question about my surname.    Many years ago now, when I first started to come out I adopted the name Paula Gee, I choose this because Paula is my name, Gee was available for an e-mail address.   Now Gee is not my given surname, it was the name of a friend who is sadly no longer with us, and although I have used it I feel reluctant to abandon my father's name.   Somehow not using my birth surname seems to devalue what my parents have done for me, it would be dishonoring my family, yet I have become known in some circles by the name Gee, I guess I will just have to explain to them that I am changing my name and leave it at that.   More critical would be how those who know me as Paul will get used to Paula.

Monday, 9 June 2014

18th Birthday Opera Gala - warning "Adult" content

Last I was rehearsing with the fabulous LGSO for our upcoming Gala Concert.   This is something a landmark occasion, this concert marks the Orchestra's eighteenth birthday - a sort of coming of age - and is the final event in Pride London.   We will also be playing in a new larger hall than we usually have so will need to sell a lot more tickets, but should have a much better atmosphere.   As a Gala concert we will be joined by the Pink Singers and some lovely solo singers as we trawl through some opera.




For me the highlight looks like being the William Tell Overture, not for the horrendous trombone parts, but for the beautiful Cor Anglais and Cello solos.   For me (apart from William Tell) this is a fairly quite concert as I am not involved in the bulk for the program and where I am it is mostly just the odd vulgar interjection.   We will be doing a couple of extracts from Bernstein's Candid, normally I would not be playing in these as there are two trombone parts and tuba - no bass trombone - but last night we only had two of us there as the first trombone was busy elsewhere so I played the first trombone parts while the second trombone rehearsed the part he will be playing on the night.  First we played "Glitter and be Gay" this of course led to all sorts of comments, my favorite was "Well it looks like it is up to Jo. to Glitter" addressed to Joanna one of our first violins and one of the members who self identifies as straight.   At the end I observed to the other trombone player that it felt really odd playing first as "I was not used to being on top" almost as I said this I realised my mistake and much puerile giggling ensued.

Later in the Pub, I suggested that the "Gentlemen" smartened up their appearance for this Gala y adding a bit of colour instead of our usual rather dull and boring all black.   The only men who look really good in all black are New Zealand Rugby Players.   Unfortunately my ideas didn't get a lot of serious enthusiasm, more suggestions that they would all wear ball gowns and / or sequins; to be honest I' not sure I could stand the competition.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A long weight

I weighed myself this morning, as I do one day most weekends.   I have tried not to weigh myself any more often than this since my days with "Weight Watchers" as daily variance could cause undue concerns, or indeed enthusiasm.   I generally wobble around the 12 stone mark (around 170 lb or 75 kg) but was rather pleased to see 11 st 10 lb.    I have not been worrying about what I eat but have been trying to cut down on the booze a bit.

Not because of the calories more because far too often recently I have got in fairly late settled down with a glass of something, only to wake up a couple of hours later still on the sofa.   So the outcome is a few better nights sleep and the loss of a few lbs around the old tummy.   Now I need to stick to it and not allow myself to slip back into my old naughty ways.

Interestingly my little loss is nothing compared to the achievement of my wife, she has now lost one and a half stone, and has every intention to carry on, keeping that lot off and losing some more.   I am really pleased that she is finally finding a way to lose, I am just sorry that the way excludes me.   We do still talk, and everything is "very civilised" but I do find I miss them, and sometimes wonder how differently things might have worked out if they were still living with me.   Having said all that I am convinced that both my wife and daughter are happier without me, and my relationship with my daughter now feels better than since she was very young.

The highlight of my week is the time I spend with her, I have my adventures and little bits of excitement (this week I auditioned as MD for a local concert band)  but those few hours are the best, and the point when I take her home is the worst.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

I Need Help

Now I am sure that many of you will agree with the implied meaning of the title to this post, but on this occasion I am looking for satoral help.   I am usually pretty self confident about my clothing choices, I feel I do have a definite sense of style, and have my own style both as a woman and as a man.   But I have now hit on a problem area.
Classic pumps
I like animal prints, more to the point I love animal print tights.   There is a bit of me that says "you are too old and should leave them to younger women" but where's the fun in that?   The trouble is that I love the tights but just don't know how to wear them.  Sure a mini skirt shows the tights off well, and though I say it myself I don't think my legs are too bad, it's more a question of what to wear on my feet.

Flatties ( with a bow)
I have several pairs of heels, some nice, normal pumps and some pretty extreme (for a girl my age and size) heels, I also have a couple of pairs of flats, but none of them seem quite right with patterned tights.   I rather like them with boots knee high or higher, heels or flat doesn't matter too much, but in the summer that seems too much.

Somehow this pair looks a lot more blue in the photos than I feel they are in reality, but I now have several pairs of various types of print, zebra, leopard, pink, blue, grey and mauve, I like them all and want to keep them, and wear them, but how?

So ladies, do you, would you, wear patterned tights? how do you wear them? and what sort of shoes should I wear?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Dinner

I don't think this diet is going to work!



For my dinner tonight I put together a salad, I hadn't planned to d anything too fancy, just a nice simple tuna salad.   I like tuna salad and I have been rather self indulgent recently.   So I'm not quite sure how I ended up with Lettuce, spring onions, capers, anchovies, cold boiled potatoes, black olives, tuna and mayonnaise. - not sure this ended up as the low calorie option.

Still it was very nice.

Monday, 2 June 2014

I have just realised how long it is since I last posted here, please understand that it is not because I don't love you, I have just been busy else where.   I have no idea how, or indeed if I am going to catch up but since my last post I have worked two ten hour days and one (Saturday) six hour day.   I have cut grass, trimmed hedges, panted up pots, weeded, swept and generally tidied lots gardens but not mine.

I have attended a sixtieth birthday party, played on a bandstand and been to an Orchestra rehearsal.   Today I am back to fixing fences.   I hope to get a bit of time to trim my own hedge this afternoon before going to a band rehearsal.

I need to learn to say NO!