Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Friday, 15 September 2017

Bad Mood

I have written a few time recently about fresh starts, new experiences, and indeed the passage of time.   Much of this has been without reference to my transition, and I do understand that many of you come to read a gardening, or a music based Blog, but since Paula's Place did start out as a Trans Blog I think it is now time to come clean about my latest big change, or at least currently still immanent change.

Back in August 2011 (or over half a million hits ago!) when I started out here I considered myself a "Plain vanilla cross dresser" married with daughter, my own burgeoning business, and no intentions of changing any of that.   Now I consider myself a single Trans Woman, I transitioned socially a few years ago, and have now been taking hormone therapy for about 18 months, and my whole life is very different.   But then again I am very different, I am occasionally asked what effects the hormones are having, and I'm sure that the questioner is primarily interested in primary sexual characteristics, I general choose to disappoint them.   The things that strike me most are not just a couple of physical developments, as much as my mental state.   In simple terms I am no longer angry, all the time.   I was not even aware of this underlying and permanent state.   I just thought that was how life was, a little like before I had glasses I thought everybody saw the world as fuzzy, that was simply how it looked.   Now I know better.

Sure my skin is softer, my nails brake more easily, and most fun of all my sense of smell is so much better! But the more placid me is much nicer, and I am a better musician for it.   All this has happened through more hormonal changes, yet they are still well outside of "normal" levels, so I am now having some enhanced medication.   It will be interesting to see what will change next.   I am rather excited about all this, but it is also tempered with some apprehension; especially when I consider what the next stage of this strange journey will be if I choose to take it. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Fresh Starts

In many ways it feels as though Summer is drawing towards it's conclusion here in South East England.   Temperatures are falling and day light hours are declining.   It feels as though we have had quite a lot of rain and wind, and some of the leaves are beginning to turn ~ don't be fooled by the horse chestnuts, their leaves having been turning very brown very early over the last few years due to the attentions of leave miners ~ this all makes me feel as though Autumn is about to be come in.   I shouldn't be surprised, I always used to think of September as the beginning of Autumn, the new school term starts, the Cricket season ends and the Rugby season starts, but over the last few years summer has extended well into September and even October, certainly at the moment I am still doing Summer jobs (dead heading, grass cutting, weeding etc.) and haven't started with Autumn pruning, planting or leave clearing. Long may it last, I enjoy every season in the garden, but I certainly earn more in Spring, Summer, and Autumn! In Summer the work is not too arduous, I can do longer hours, and wear my shorts!

Any one know what this is? it seems to be an annual
about 2.5 meters high,that grew up under a bird feeder.
The flowers look like a
Convolvulus to me but I can't find it in any of my books.
I haven't started yet today but looking outside I don't think I'll be wearing shorts today, and with my first customer I will be arranging a date to scarify their lawns ~ so this is a definite indicator.   The other big one for me is that my birthday is looming.  It's not a big one this year, but it is another year closer to my pension, at the moment I'm not at all sure what I will do on the day, strangely for a Saturday I don't have any Gigs planned so if anyone wants to send me a bottle of Champaign to aid the celebration feel free!   Last month both my Mother and Daughter had birthdays, they are now both of an age where every birthday is significant, and to be honest I'm not sure I envy either of them!

When I passed my last major milestone I decided that I had to address my Gender issues and start exploring what they actually meant and what I had to do about them.   I am now fast approaching a conclusion, after my last appointment with the GIC I find I need to make a decision, some would say the decision, I have to remind myself that this is not a one off chance where I need to give a definitive yes or no answer, I do have alternatives, including "Not Now"   Having said that I think I am approaching a conclusion, and maybe when I get back from my holiday next month I will have made up my mind. By then I will also have experienced a month on my adjusted medication, which may well also influence that decision.

I think it would be nice if I could get the whole thing sorted out within the decade, and then just get on with life.

I will be doing just that this evening as I take my second rehearsal with Croydon Brass, until we get our two new cornet players we are limited in our repertoire, so I have adjusted an arrangement I did earlier this year ~ originally conceived and arranged for clarinet choir it will be interesting to hear how it sounds on Brass!   I think I will be doing quite a lot of slaving over a hot stave over the next few months!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I need a Dragon!

Ripple, "Helping" with the Blog
One of the things I have found since moving into my flat is the lack of companionship, not so much human companionship as the non-human.   We used to have cats, and then fish as well, when the cats left home the fish stayed, but in my new flat I just don't have space.   With plants on all the windowsill, books on the shelves, and tubas on the floor there is no room for an aquarium.   It may sound strange but I used to say "hello" and "goodnight" to them, watch them while I ate, or sometimes just sit and look.   Realistically I know I don't have the space, indeed ideally I would like to get rid of a couple of pieces of furniture, so any additions are definitely not on the cards.

A friend of mine keeps guinea pigs, another has hamsters, I even had a friend who kept ferrets, I don't think I'll be trying any of them.

Indeed I shall just have to get used to being on my own, with my plants and my clutter, that may be just as well since I am far from being the tidiest of people.   I do have a few stuffed animals, and I do have a few ornamental ones _ Ebony elephants, and china dragons, there may even be the odd dinosaur, but seeing todays Wizard of Id I thought I could do with a dragon like that!

Monday, 4 September 2017

Goodbye and Hello

It's been a funny old few days; ~ no change there then you may well think, but I have had a busy weekend with a couple of performances a couple of parties, and then tonight a rehearsal.   That may not sound so unusual for me but it has been packed with contrasts.

Lets start with the two parties, one on Saturday afternoon / evening and one on Sunday evening.   Saturday's was a birthday party for an old friend ~ I don't particularly want to embarrass him but it was a big one, and well worth celebrating.   It took me a while to actually believe the age he claims to be as I'm sure he must be younger than that!   It was a very civilised evening hosted in their lovely garden (for which I will claim some small credit) where I had a chance to catch up with some friends I haven't seen for some time.   As I had driven there I too was quite civilised and managed to display some self restraint for once.

I did feel as though I was dressed rather formally for such an event, but I had come straight from my first performance of the weekend.   I had been conducting the rather wonderful All Saints Concert Band at Ruskin Park in South London.   Over the last few years I haven't had many opportunities to conduct a whole concert so this was rather a special occasion.   This is a band I have been associated with ever since it first started back in the 1970s ~ I was very young at the time ~ and since then I have had two stints as assistance or associate MD, this concert represents the end of my second stint in the role.   Not because I am fed up with them, or indeed them with me, but because I have a new venture to pursue.

They were even kind enough to allow me to play Leroy Anderson's "The Syncopated Clock" rather a simple but jolly little piece, which was the first thing I ever conducted with them, or indeed anyone!

The next day I had to hit the road and get down to Herne Bay in Kent to play a band stand concert with the "Band of the Surrey Yeomanry".   It is a nice bandstand and one of my favorite bands to play with, and there was good ice cream!   The only fly in the ointment was that I was playing Euphonium, not my favorite instrument to play, and I'm well and truly out of practise on it.   Somehow I managed to get through without embarrassing myself too much, but by the end I did feel as though I had been continuously punched in the mouth!

I then made tracks back towards London for my second party of the weekend, this one celebrating a young couple getting engaged.  Certainly a contrast to the previous evening! definitely not as quiet and sedate, but once again it was good to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen for while.   Somehow I naturally gravitated to the end of the hall with the parents, aunts and uncles, I know my place!   It is encouraging seeing a young couple so in love, they just seem to be such a natural couple, I have to wish them a long and very happy life together.

So lots of contrasts, playing my forth (or fifth I lose count) choice instrument, final conducting performance with a band I have been around for over forty years, a sixtieth birthday party and an engagement party ~ quite a weekend.

Then tonight, my first rehearsal back as MD of Croydon Brass!   I used to conduct this band "in a previous life" but had to pull back for family reasons that simply don't exist any more.   So I was very pleased to be invited to take over again as my successor stepped down after several years in the role.   There are some of the same players I remember and a few new ones, there are also, of course, a few who have left.   This is a friendly band with a long history, but to continue we need to make a few changes, not least will be updating the website!   We have two or three performances scheduled before Christmas so we have plenty to work on, and then a whole new year ahead of us.

At the moment our first priority is to find a couple of cornet players, we aren't looking for star players (although I wouldn't turn them away) we just need two reliable, regular cornet players to come along on a Monday night; we'll even lend them an instrument!

I was a little nervous about returning to a post I held before, but after tonight I am quite excited about the future and putting on some great concerts with this band. In the mean time I had better get on with writing up my bio for the Band web site!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Monthly Stats

In a month where stats may well include such important matters as Inches of rain fall, votes cast, average temperature rises my stats are a lot more mundane.

So here we go it's admit it time!

Weight 12 stone 7lb ~ 80 kg
BMI  25.3 over weight, but not by much
Units of Alcohol ~ too many, I am now back to just one alcohol free day per week
Chargeable hours worked 120

All this tells me that I am not very good at being good, have little or no self control and probably won't get into my gold swimming costume when I go on Holiday next month.

I know I will never look like this, and indeed never did or could have, but you can't stop an old girl dreaming!   I will be leaving the bikini at home, nobody needs to see that, indeed I don't know why I still have one, the original purchase comes under the heading of "it seemed like a good idea at the time" but the slightest bit of sober reflection shows it to be simply stupid.   Maybe I should consign it to the charity shop bag so I can use the wardrobe space for something more useful, like winter thermals!