Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 25 January 2016

Spell Check

Over on her Blog, Femulate, my friend Stana has posted about the number of Trans friends she has who are also Radio Hams. I am intrigued by how some interests and occupations seem to be over represented within the trans community.   At my own group TransPALS we seem to have a disproportionate number of technicians of one type or another.

We also seem to have a very high number of people with Dyslexia (why is dyslexia so hard to spell?) including me. A while ago about four of us were sat together when somebody asked how to spell a word and none of us could help.   My own condition dictated my early career choices, I always veered toward numbers, if I had to write anything I would try to dictate it, or write in long hand, in such a way that my hand writing might be blamed rather than my spelling.  P.C.s revolutionized my life, not only did they make my first three jobs redundant, once word processors introduced spell check I could write!

Now I am totally reliant on that little squiggly red line that Microsoft puts under around a third of my words.   Without spellcheck I could never run this blog, but neither could I have written articles for trade press, business letters or reports, it has been totally liberating.

I do wonder whether it is just co-incidence that there are quite a few of us around the Croydon area, or whether or not there might be a statistical correlation between being Trans and Dyslexia. A simple Google search is not a lot of help on this one!

Friday, 22 January 2016

21st Century Girl

I have already admitted to my dependence on my laptop, that sort of glosses over the fact that if my laptop is my only access to the good old interweb, that means that I don'y have a smart phone.   That's right no iPhone 6 or indeed even a phone with a touch screen, I still use a good old fashioned phone with buttons that allows me to talk to people and do text messages.   This combination of simple phone and a laptop has served me well for many years now, but I think it may be time to change.

I have agreed with my Daughter that when my phone contract is next up for renewal and I can upgrade I will go for a touchscreen smartphone.   Possibly more bravely I have agreed to let her select the phone and then train me to use it.   So one way or another it looks like I will be joining the 21st Century in a couple of months.

There is so much more than a phone to being a 21st Century Girl though, and I am still learning a lot of them.   In many ways I missed out on the whole process of growing up to be a woman, so much of what I did learn I learnt from observing my Mother and her friends, yet most of them grew up in the first half of the 20th Century, now I watch women my age I see that they have much more freedom than the previous generation, yet are still constrained by society in many ways.   They also have much more financial responsibility, as modern life becomes more and more expensive fewer families can live on a single income, there are also a lot more single women of mature years than when I was growing up.   Then I look at my daughter's generation and see that they enjoy more freedoms, hopefully they will be joining a more equal world (even though pay, political representation, work opportunities etc. etc. are still very far from being equal) and will be less restricted.  

Yet I also see that they, as a generation seem to be in some ways more restricted.   I am aware of an increased sense of sexualisation of women, the pressures to dress in particular ways, to be perfect in body and complexion.   I sense that these pressures increase with the amount of images available and so much more is available, they also seem to have to be available so much more as well, with social media, increased hours of learning, increased pressure to appear perfect, and to pass exams.

It's great that they have opportunities that previous generations didn't, but they also have pressures as well, sometimes I'm amazed how well many of them are doing.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

A nice warm lap!

Looking back on yesterday's post it all sounded a bit negative, I'm sorry it was actually not that bad, but it is a bad time of year to be a gardener!

A few months ago, well actually quite a few months ago I did the very silly thing of spilling some coffee on my laptop keyboard. I mopped up what I could and then left the rest to dry, when it hadn't seemed to dry properly I did the even sillier thing of using a hair dryer on it. Well of course I melted a couple of the keys and it hasn't been the same since.   I knew I had to get it fixed, but couldn't face the inconvenience of being without it or the possible expense.   Yesterday I reached breaking point and just couldn't put up with it any more, so took it over to my good friends at Computer Solutions for a repair.   It seems that the repair will be neither as long or as expensive as I feared, I await the phone call..............

The other good news is that in the course of my move I discovered that I still had my previous laptop, only rep[laced as it had grown very tired and slow with all the data I had on it.   With the data cleared off and copied onto the new machine it was a bit better but still slow.   Well after carrying out a lot of maintenance, clearing off unwanted files, cleaning up the registry and defraging the hard disk it now works fine for e-mail and internet.

So I'm not totally cut off, but I am cut off from all my business records and photos.

I am also struck by the much higher quality of my old machine, when this Dell Inspiron started to grind very slowly I got a new Acer. I had an Acer before and was very impressed by the quality of the machine, the case, keyboard and hinges were all of an obvious high quality. Such a shame that I can't say the same of the new one! At some point they clearly came to the same conclusion as Peugeot and stopped making a quality product and just churned out any old junk that "would do".   It is now going to be a bit of a pain to go back to the Acer keyboard after getting used to the old Dell again.   The lesson, next time I buy a Computer I will be giving it a "test drive" first!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Guess what I did at work Yesterday?

January is the worst month of the year for me, work wise.  It is cold, there's not so much to do, if it snows I can't even see the work, and the days are shorter.   All in all a pretty miserable time.   It wouldn't be so bad, or perhaps I should say it won't be so bad! if money was a little more plentiful and I could just fly off somewhere warmer for a bit. But at the moment it means that a lot of the time I am stuck at home feeling cold and fed up.


Yesterday was a good day, cold and bright, a nice winter's day, and I had something useful to get on with.   Unfortunately this was a bit of a highlight for the week, since the ground is still so waterlogged that I am very limited as to what I can do outdoors.

Add to this the frustration of my computer going seriously wrong, and I'm generally not a happy bunny.   My laptop is my prime computer, well really it is my sole computer, I do not have a smart phone or a tablet and haven't had a desk top for decades!

I am about to take my machine over to the computer Doctor, in the hope that he can mend it and still leave me enough money to pay my income tax this month. Ho-hum!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

David Bowie - All The Madmen

Like so many of us I woke yesterday morning to be stunned by the news of David Bowie's death.   Over the years we have become accustomed to Rock Stars dieing young, or now we are getting used to the idea that some keep going, but somehow David Bowie didn't seem old like Mick Jagger Paul McCartney or Cliff Richard ~ he just was.

As long as I remember hearing rock music David Bowie was part of it, even though he was only twelve years older than me.   He was there when I was growing up, when I first fell in (and out of) love. He was there as I became politically aware. He was there when I partied and when I indulged in solo recreations.

He was even around to help me as a parent, I suspect my daughter was first aware of him as an actor, labyrinth was one of our favorite family films ~ which probably says quite a lot about our family as well. Since then he has become one of her heroes, not a bad choice, a local lad made good, an innovative artist, accomplished in the fields of music, art and drama, a singer, actor, and a decent saxophonist to boot.

By now a lot has been said of what David Bowie meant to my generation, and the generations that followed, there doesn't seem a lot more to say, so I will simply leave you with my favorite Bowie track.

Friday, 8 January 2016

I'm a Star Darling! (or at least my back makes a brief appearance!)

Since the show was aired on Wednesday I can now tell the story, around six or seven months back I got a phone call inviting me to try on some "posh frocks".  
The invitation came from a Channel 4 researcher working with Mary Portas on her new "Secret Shopper" series.   Basically they were going to send a taxi to pick me up and take me home, pour wine down my throat all evening and all I had to do was try on some dresses and give my educated opinion.    After thinking about it for fully a quarter of a second I reluctantly agreed ~ for the sake of the community of course!

The story was that a failing Bridal shop run by a husband and wife team had bought a load of dresses because the husband liked them, he liked them because he is a cross dresser and they were what he wanted to wear.  The team wanted to get rid of them and find out if there was a potential untapped market.   I was one of a selection of Trans Women, Crossdressers and Drag Queens there especially to try the wares.   A quick look told me that the dresses were much more appropriate for the Drag Queens and the Trans Beauty Queens than for full time trans women.   Now I do have occasion to wear posh frocks, I actually have three evening gowns and another couple of long dresses, and they do get worn, but there is no way that there was anything there that I would even consider actually wearing.

Still we did have some fun trying them on, making a couple of new friends and giving our opinions.   In the final broadcast you just get see me in a couple of shots, including one of my bare back ~ the dress was so miss sized that it wouldn't even meet, never mind do up! However there is a nice little bit where Mary is talking to my friend Patricia who explains some of the facts of life.

If you haven't seen it yet I do recommend that you do, if only to see Mary Portas' embarrassment when she realises that she has inadvertently called her client a Tranny!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

More Presents

I have already written about a couple of the fabulous presents I got given at Christmas, they were particularly welcome as I tend not to get many, so presents that had so much thought behind them are even more treasured.   As I say I don't get many presents now and the ones that I do get tend to come in bottles, and so tend not to last well.

However every now and then I get presents for no reason, in many ways these are the best.

All three of these pairs of earrings were presents, the sparkly ones on the left from a friend in my band, she was one of the friends I came out to well before I started playing with the band as me. I think part of reasoning was as a tangible way of showing support and acceptance.

The Pearl ones on the right were from a special friend who made them. I treasure them as much for who made them as for the gift.

The ones in the middle however are all together very special.

On one of my recent ~ but not Christmas ~ trips to Cardiff my Mother yet again observed that I had my ears pierced, not with disapproval just as an observation.   She is aware that I do not just wear the same studs all the time as I do mix them up a bit, one day plain gold coloured, another day pearls or maybe a something a little sparkly.

At one point my Mother decided that she should give me a pair of her earrings this pair was my choice, I remember my father buying these for my Mother on one of his business trips to Saudi Arabia.   He was so pleased to be able to buy something that nice in the bazaar, they are gold and pearl, but although they are valuable, to me they are precious.   I also really like wearing them, after all practically all of the rest of my jewelry is costume rather than the real thing.

Since then I have often wondered about my Mother's motivations, was this just a generous gift to her child, or was there something more.   I know that she can be lucid at times despite the Alzheimer's and I'm sure that she must remember some of my earlier forays into femininity, so I wonder, I wonder is this my Mother's way of saying, "I know and it's OK" without actually having to talk about it?

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Looking Forward

Over on her Blog Hanna asks the question so many are asking at this time of year, what are our aims, ambitions and resolutions for the coming year.   Just as it is natural to look back on the year that has just closed we also look forward.   We have passed the Solstice and the days are starting to get longer, no longer are we thinking of how to survive the Winter, we are now looking forward to Spring (or is that just me?)

Well to answer Hanna's question, as far as crossdressing goes, I wish I didn't have to do it anymore.   After starting to live my life authentically, full time a year ago yesterday, I now feel as though those (increasingly) rare occasions when I have to present as male are the crossdressing.   The other day I went to see my Mother, now I usually get changed just before I get there, and then again just after I leave.   Because that was not practical on this occasion I drove back to London presenting male, all fine and OK, until we needed a comfort break, and I had to use the Gents facilities.   It felt totally alien, and wrong, and there was no way I could bring myself to use a urinal, arghh! I quickly found a stall, did what had to be done, washed my hands and fled,

There are things I would like to do, my main aim for 2016 is solvency, and now I have moved I think I should manage that this year. I also want to go on holiday, take a trip to France and one to Malta.

I also have a great desire for at least on fabulous night when I can wear one of my evening gowns, do the whole glamorous bit and glide down a sweeping staircase while the rest of the ball goers look up at me admiringly.   I know that is just a fantasy, but I do have the gowns, and I do want to wear them.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Nobody's Perfect

I fear I may have made a mistake, I rather rashly said here that my friend had bought me the coolest possible present. At the time I really did believe that this was the best anyone was going to manage, but I am so very pleased to be wrong!!!

My Daughter didn't buy me something special, she went so much better than that and made me something very, very special.

This now hangs proudly in my new hall, so that it is the first thing anyone sees when they walk into the flat. What can I say, she's wonderful!