Sunday, 25 March 2012

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

We had a bit of an impromptu trip to the seaside yesterday.
Over the last few weeks my son has traded in his Playstation 2 and games at Game and has had quite a bit of money to use up. After Game were in the news last week because they were looking at going into Administration we decided that he needed to use up the money he had on his Game card.
As our local Game store doesn't have any of the Spylander models for the game he's currently playing on his Nintendo Wii he decided that he'd like to upgrade from his DSi to the Nintendo 3DS. Trading in his existing Nintendo and some games left him with enough to be able to get the 3DS. There was only one slight hitch. Our local store only had pink ones!

Now as you can imagine a 14 year old boy is not going to want a pink Nintendo so we had the shop ring around some of the other local branches to try and find somewhere that had a different colour. In the end the Weymouth store had a black one so they were asked to keep it until we could get there.

It was a beautiful day for a trip to the seaside.

When we got there we made our way to the shop and picked up the 3DS. After that it was time to have a walk around the shops as we made our way to the promenade for ice cream.

The beach wasn't packed like it will be in a couple of months but there were still people paddling in the sea and sitting around enjoying the nice weather.

On our way back to our car we made a quick visit to Debenhams to have a look at clothes.

On our way back out we stopped in the shoe department. I found a gorgeous pair of heels in my size but resisted the temptation to buy them. While I was browsing the rest of the section I commented to my son every time I saw a nice pair of shoes that they weren't my size. After I'd finished browsing he started looking at shoes, picking them up and commenting that they were my size. Every time I said really he replied "No" with a chuckle.

We had a great day out.

I didn't look at any boots but I think a bit of Nancy is called for.

Nancy Sinatra - These Boots Are Made For Walking

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Ladies and Gents

Yesterday I had my second interview since I started looking at changing my job. I'm hoping that it went well. It was a long day with a 2 hour drive to get there, which took a lot longer because of road works and detours and a similar drive back, but with an hour break while I stopped off to visit a friend.

I think the interview went well, hopefully I'll hear something early next week as I'm really keen on this job.

The interview was held at a Holiday Inn.

Despite having left with enough time to have arrived with an hour to spare I finally walked into reception 15 minutes before my interview time.

I approached the receptionist and told him who I was there to see. He looked at some paperwork and gave me directions to the meeting room that my interview was to be held in. After so long in the car I needed to make myself slightly more presentable and needed to powder my nose. I could see a sign for toilets in the direction that he was sending me. I asked if that was where the toilets were and he told me no, looked around briefly and pointed me in a different direction.

I looked across the lobby and saw two doors. One had a picture of a baby on it and the other, well it wasn't unisex and it certainly wasn't the men's.

I had been wondering what I was going to do when I arrived at the hotel as I really did need to use the facilities, sitting in an interview for at least an hour wasn't going to be comfortable if I'd not done something beforehand. The receptionist pointing me towards the ladies made life easier.

For most people visiting the toilets when out is something they do without thinking. For transsexuals and others presenting as female this can cause problems as you never know how other people might react. There are cases of people being beaten up after visiting toilets and I've even read comments on various websites from guys who say that if they ever caught someone using the toilets at the same time as their wives or daughters, that they decided shouldn't be in there, that they would beat them up. Sheesh! All we want to do is the same as anyone else, go in, use the facilities and carry on with our day without facing a trip to the hospital for our troubles.

My first experience of using the ladies' toilets was when I performed my burlesque routine at The Palace last year. Fortunately the pub wasn't busy and I went in with one of my friends who was going herself. Her only advice to me as we entered "make sure you sit down when you go".

Since I've transitioned I've not needed to pay a visit to the toilet while out and about. I've come close once in a restaurant and did give some thought as to whether to go or not, in the end I decided I didn't need to go.

At work we have ladies and gents toilets but also have some individual, unisex facilities. I use the latter, although (whispering carefully in case anyone from work comes across this post) I have used the ladies on a Sunday when there was very few people in and I was the only female.

The other week I had an interview in Bradford-on-Avon and again wanted to use the facilities beforehand. The car park where I'd parked had some public conveniences and although I was expecting there to be male and female facilities I found myself presented with unisex toilets. The recorded announcement that played when you entered was a bit disconcerting as it left you wondering if the door was going to spring open if you were in there too long!

So yesterday was the first time I've ventured into a ladies' since I went full time. Fortunately it was empty when I went in. While I was there one other woman came in. She left while I was touching up my lipstick in the mirror, making sure I was presentable, taking a deep breath and telling myself to stay calm.

Now I just have to wait until I hear whether or not I impressed enough at the interview to be offered a job. Whatever happens though, one thing is for certain. At least I wont be sitting around with my legs tightly crossed.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Life Circle 2012 - Reviewing the situation

Life Circle

The latest Life Circle task was to review our Life Plan. Its interesting to see my progress or lack of and to actually have to think about how to get back on track.

Things have been busy since I first put together my Life Plan

My burlesque has come along. I performed my first routine in front of a proper audience before Christmas as planned. I did a 4 week fan dance course with the intermediate class. I almost managed to perform in the routine in front of an audience with the others at the Valentine's Show but major problems with my car meant that I had to pull out at the last minute. I've also got my second pair of fans (silk veil ones) and have started to work on a couple of routines using them. I just need to get a pair of feather fans and I can work on another routine. I plan on having a routine ready for Halloween Show and some ideas are already forming.
I've not managed to sort out training to allow me to teach. That is something that I still want to look at and need to work out when to do it.

My costume is still being made but is getting there. I'm going to be having a chat about it next Friday.

I've not entered the Outlaw triathlon yet, that will be later this year when entries open for the 2013 race. At the moment I'm not doing much training, actually none at all. After I transitioned in January my running which was what I'd been focusing on slowly faded away to nothing because trying to go for a run, shower, get dressed and apply my makeup just wasn't going to happen. With the best will in the world at the moment it takes me about of an hour to get myself ready for work, that's from having a shower or a wash through to putting my coat on. I can't simply put on the minimum amount of make-up to get me through a working day like the majority of my colleagues, not the male ones of course, it takes me a bit of preparation before I can even begin to apply foundation. As a result I decided that I was going to forgo the training for the Outlaw for the time being, at least until I can get out of the house in a much shorter period of time.

I have  been to the gym a few times and want to try and focus on going there for a while, if possible Saturday and Sunday morning then maybe Tuesday and Thursday morning. The latter will mean getting to the gym as soon as it opens at 6:30am and going into work for 10am. 

For the next two weeks though I'm planning to go every morning apart from next Friday. I'm working late shifts for this week and next week so should be able to go to the gym, come home, get myself showered and then head off to work at lunchtime.

I've also been to a local salon to talk about hair removal, they do a sonic hair removal method but we ended up discussing IPL, something that might have an effect on some of the hairs but not as good as the laser I had last year. In the end we discussed mineral foundations which might be of more use to me than liquid foundation. One of the benefits of mineral foundation is that it might be possible to wear it to the gym, a suggestion I'd read by Kasmira who posted about her experiences of lunchtime gym workouts and make-up. I'm planning on trying it out by going out for a run and seeing what state I'm in when I get back.

So to the questions that Kate wanted us to think about.

So do you feel you've moved at least a quarter of the way towards where you want to be in all areas of your life in the "one year from now" section of your LifePlan.
I don't think I've moved a quarter of the way towards where I wanted to be by the end of this year. I've made some progress but not enough. OK, I have made major changes in my life and these have affected some of my plans. I've not been out running or cycling and I've certainly not been swimming. I can remedy the running and cycling bit quite easily simply by running early in the morning and just getting out on my bike. Swimming is my biggest problem because even though I go to the gym in male mode at some point if the foundation works then I'll eventually start going as my proper self. Still swimming will be an issue for me as I wont feel comfortable in a male swimming costume and I doubt that other pool users will be understanding if I wear a one piece, besides I'm not convinced any foundation will survive an hour of swimming up and down the pool. I might be able to swim if I wear a tri-suit each time but I'll have to check with the leisure centre management if they mind me wearing it every time I swim and not occasionally.

Can you identify pressing matters you need to tackle that you've overlooked?
I can't think of any pressing matters that I might need to tackle that I've overlooked. By nature I tend to think things through very carefully, planning to the nth degree. If I have overlooked something then I'm sure that I'll realise it at some point.

If my progress has fallen behind, how can I get it back on track?
I need to address things in the areas of my burlesque and training. Getting my burlesque back on track means making the commitment to work on my routines and to get to classes. I need to make the effort to get to Bristol at least once a month. I also need to start running, cycling and swimming. Once I've got myself into the habit of going to the gym regularly I need to swap one of my weekend sessions with a bike ride. I also need to get out for a run first thing on a weekday morning. Finally I need to start swimming at least once if not twice a week.

What 3 things do you need to be tackling in the next week or so that you can actually achieve in that time?
  1. I need to get to the gym every morning this week, with the exception of Friday as I've got a job interview in Gloucester in the early afternoon and I have to get ready for that and do a couple of errands before I leave for that.
  2. I need to make arrangements to do the training to allow me to teach burlesque and to do that soon.
  3. I need to contact the leisure centre and check with them that it is OK for me to swim in a tri-suit every time I go swimming. Then I have to get over being self-conscious about wearing it when I go to the pool.

What one big thing do you need to complete soon to keep you on track? How do you feel about that?
I need to complete my burlesque training to allow me to teach beginners classes. That is going to be the big challenge as it will mean committing to a spending a day learning to teach. It will also mean stretching myself by finding a new level of confidence in myself, and not just the fact that others believe in me, that says I can stand in front of a group of women for 2 hours over a period of 4 weeks turning them into budding burlesque performers. Even though I've grown more confident in the last 2 years I still find myself doubting myself and my abilities.

  1. Well my attempts to get to the gym last week didn't go to plan. In fact I only managed to get there on Monday. I really am going to have to find a way to encourage myself to get there more often.
  2. I contacted M and we are going to discuss my having some training to allow me to teach beginners classes after Easter when I next get up to Bristol for the advanced lab.
  3. Contacted the leisure centre and asked the receptionist about the possibility of using my tri-suit for swimming. She went to ask the manager and came back to say its swimwear so its OK. I'm going to try and get to the pool one morning next week.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Life Circle 2012 - Time Out

Life Circle

The latest task for the Life Circle was to take some time out for myself.

I've managed to have a bit of me time recently.

The first of these was when I popped into town on a Sunday morning so that my son could get a Mothers' Day card while I went to get some new make-up and see if I could find a new top in the sales at one of our local department stores.

Picking up my makeup didn't take long as I knew what I wanted and the sales assistant found it very quickly.

Finding myself a top took a bit longer but I eventually managed to find a top and a dress in the sale. Normally when I've bought things I've taken them home and tried them on, I've usually got a pretty good idea of size. This time I didn't want to take the risk of getting it wrong so I asked one of the sales assistants if there was somewhere that I could try on my purchases. She pointed behind me and to my surprise I found myself confronted with a changing cubicle with a locking door. I went in, locked the door and tried on my purchases. Both were perfect fits so I was really happy. The top was exactly what I was looking for.

I paid for my purchases, returned to the car and put them in the boot then went off and did a quick shop in a very busy Tesco before meeting my son to go home.

My second bit of me time was when I went to get my hair done in preparation for what I'd hinted at in the pushing the envelope task.

On Thursday I made my way to Mere in Wiltshire where my hairdressers is located. We've been talking about when we can start doing whatever we want with my hair for months. Changing its colour was the first thing so on Thursday I'd arranged to have my hair dyedna similar colour to a wig I wore for a trip to Portsmouth the year before last. In fact I ended up choosing a colour that is a lot darker (more of a chocolate colour) but which suits me better. I've had lots of comments from various women friends saying how nice it looks.

It was a lovely 2 hours of being able to sit, chat about what's been happening and simply relaxing. No interruptions from family. Bliss.

My third me time was on Friday when everyone went out. Son went to his Pathfinders group, other half went out with some church friends for a chat and a drink. I put a ready made Chicken Arrabbiata and some Garlic and Herb prawns into the oven to cook and enjoyed that with a bottle of Chardonnay and the chance to watch some television with no interruptions. A perfect way to end the week.

Today, Saturday, is my final bit of me time for the week. A friend is getting married and son and other half have been invited to the wedding. I've not been invited which is fine by me as it gives me the chance for nearly a whole day to myself. I've got a few things planned. I'm going to work on some fan dance routines. I've got my new silk veil fans, or at least one set of them, I'm still waiting for the second set that I'm order but they should be here soon. Between them and the small hand fans I bought before Christmas I've got the scope for working up two routines. I'm toying with the idea of getting a set of large fans at the moment, that might just be my birthday treat to myself in a few weeks. At 3pm all thoughts of burlesque will be put aside as I sit down, switch the television on and watch Wales play France in the 6 Nations rugby.

The last week has given me a few opportunities for time to myself without disturbances. Even though I've not booked the times into my diary, something I should do I've managed to have the opportunities come up and I've taken them. Its been really good to not have to worry about work or other people, to not have to even think about anything and just switch off. I've not done that properly for a little while and should do it more often.

And Finally...

An update on the Pushing the Envelope task.

Life Circle 2012 - Pushing the Envelope (Recap)

Life Circle

When I wrote up the Pushing the Envelope task I mentioned that I had something planned which would stretch me. Well I can finally reveal what it is.

Towards the end of February I put in my application for voluntary redundancy at work. Although I'd thought about it for a while but kept deciding that I wasn't going to, several things happened and I changed my mind. I've not heard if my application has been accepted but I'm now looking for a new job. Ideally I want something in the Bristol area so that I can further my burlesque but I'm open to anything that would mean a shorter drive than I currently have to do.

Last Wednesday I had my first interview in nearly 14 years and my first ever interview as Jenna. I think that it went OK but I'm not sure that I'm the person that they are looking for. I have a good idea of what they should actually be looking for but that isn't what they are currently doing.

I'm not convinced that I'm the person that they are look but I'm not sure that they are going to find that person. I could do the bulk of the role though.

Next Friday I have my second interview. From discussing the job with a colleague who has already been offered and accepted a similar role I'm confident that the job is something I can do and it would be an excellent opportunity for me. The more I hear about this opportunity the more I'm thinking that if I get offered this position and my redundancy application is accepted then I'll jump at the chance.

All of this is certainly stretching me. I'm having to deal with new people, face up to starting a new job in a new place with new people. Scary stuff normally but with where I am in life its a bit more scary but so far it seems to be OK. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Changing Marriage

There's been a bit of talk recently about redefining the meaning of the word marriage so that it encompasses same sex relationships. Andrea's post made me think a bit about this a bit more than I had.

The Oxford dictionary define marriage as:
"the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife."

I don't think that any government should be able to simply decide to change the meaning of a word in the English language. Words develop and change their meaning over periods of time granted and in time I suspect the definition of marriage will change to include same sex relationships.

If a government can unilaterally decide to change the definition of a word where does that stop. What is to stop any government changing the definition of a word to suit their purposes.

What if a dictatorship somewhere in the world decided that they were going to change the meaning of a word like murder or genocide? What is a country decided to redefine murder to be the unlawful premeditated killing of a member of the government or one of their family by another person outside the government or its employ.

What about redefining genocide to the deliberate killing of a large group of the ruling elite of this country.

If a government can go about redefining a word like marriage, what's to stop them redefining other words.

If, however, the government does redefine marriage to be between two people, regardless of sex, it will be interesting to see at what point the gender recognition panel change their criteria for granting gender recognition certificates. As far as I'm aware part of the criteria for gaining a gender recognition certificate is that if you are married and want a certificate then you have to get divorced. If you change the definition of marriage then surely that criteria surely goes out the window because providing you want to remain married then it simply will come down to notifying the authorities that you have changed your name and gender for the marriage records to be be updated. Pretty much the way you do with anything else when you transition.

If the government do opt to change the definition of marriage then hopefully they will have done so after giving it a through the knock on effects. If they don't then I can see a lot of legal challenges facing them.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Life Circle 2012 - No, nyet and non

Life Circle

This weeks task for the Life Circle was to encourage an awareness of how much we say yes and how much we say, or don't say, no.

This week I've not had a lot of chance to say no, most things that I've done have been things that I've wanted to do or had to do as part of my job. However, there was one thing that I had to say no to.

Last week I was faced with a choice. I could either make life easier for other people by reverting back to the person I was up until the beginning of January or I could say no.

In the end I decided that I couldn't face doing that, not only because I didn't see why I should do but also because to do so would have meant getting changed at work or hoping that it would be possible to change at home.

I informed my family that I'd be staying at work until they went out for something to eat and then I'd come home, get changed and then pop out to a friends for a couple of hours.

Chatting with my friend was good fun, we even had a glass of wine each.

I felt annoyed at first when presented with the situation but knew that I had to do something that would leave me in a position where nobody would be able use Monday evening against me. Of course I'm sure that my staying at work and not joining the family that evening could still be used against me but at least I can say that I was presented with a situation of somebody else's choosing and I made things as easy as I could for them.

During the evening it was stressful, in fact I developed a bad headache by the time I arrived home and had to take some painkillers before walking to my friend's house. The painkillers, fresh air, and wine, helped get rid of the headache.

Since that evening I've felt quite happy about things. I know where I stand with some people and I'm more than happy with the situation, so is my liver. I've made decisions and if people aren't happy with them then that is their problem and something that they need to come to terms with.