Sunday, 30 December 2012

Home Alone

Christmas is over for another year and we're on the brink of a New Year. As 2012 leaves us and 2013 fast approaches its been a year where a lot has happened.
Back in January I transitioned and that has had one of the most interesting effects which has influenced where I will be spending the New Year.

Christmas was nice and we eventually managed to get away to my parents on the 27th. It was a much longer journey than expected because of an accident on the motorway that slowed us down considerably. Even allowing for a few stops that we had to make it took nearly 4 hours to complete what normally takes about 2 hours.

The few days we spent with my parents were really nice, its a shame that my sister and her family couldn't make it but they had all been ill and so it was better for them to stay home.

Today we left my parents and I dropped my family off at my sister-in-laws. I didn't stop long as I've now discovered that my brother-in-law apparently doesn't want me to stay there, even if I dress androgynous and forgo the make-up.

For that reason I left my family there, to make their way back home by train on Wednesday, and I returned home. I'll be spending New Year's Eve and New Year's Day on my own this year. The first time in over 15 years, and the first time ever without my son. I'm sure that its not going to be the last time that I don't spend time with him at this time of year.

I'm not overly worried as I can get some training in and also study for the examination I'm sitting at the beginning of February.

It might not be how I'd hope to spend New Year but then I knew that things wouldn't be the same at this time of year even before I transitioned. Still it will be nice to have a bit of time to chill and do what I want to do for a few days.

2013 Goals

As its nearly the New Year I thought I'd go over everything that I had planned on achieving during this year and the next few and give myself a set of goals that I want to achieve during 2013.  They cover sport, burlesque, work, home life and transitioning.
All of these will require a bit of effort on my part, none of them are just going to happen. I've not given any dates for when things are going to be achieved, even though some of them like the Outlaw do have dates associated with them.
It will be interesting to see how many of them I've achieved by this time next year, hopefully there will even  be pictures for some of them :-)

Sport

Complete Outlaw Triathlon
Complete Outlaw Half
Complete DIY Olympic Triathlon

Burlesque

Perform True Love burlesque routine
Perform Moon River burlesque routine
Perform Messin' with Fire burlesque routine
Develop Knock 1 2 3 burlesque routine
Get corset from Mags
Make-up lesson with Inma
Train to teach burlesque

Work

Pass ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst exam
Develop C# programming ability

Home

Finish decorating small bedroom
Tidy garden
Empty attic of things we don't need

Transition

Get referred back to Laurels in December
Complete speech therapy
Start laser hair removal
Electrolysis on breasts and chest area

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, hope you get everything that you want today.

We've opened our presents and my son almost filled the living room floor with his when he spread them out so we could take a picture of them all.

I got the present that I wanted, apart from the cycling gear, which was a small camera that I can keep in my handbag for those moments when I find those awesome picture moments.

Santa did come early as I received a letter yesterday from the funding review panel at my local primary care trust to let me know that they have approved my application for funding for several sessions of laser hair removal. Looking forward to using that present in the New Year. Laser hair removal, the gift that keeps on giving and giving short sharp pains :-)

Got to talk to the in-laws on Skype later so haven't got myself changed and put my make-up on yet. Will do that after we've spoken to them and before I get into cooking Christmas lunch.

As I'm not sure if I'll be home for New Year or at my parents I'll wish everyone a Happy New Year. Many 2013 bring you lots of joy and happiness and may you achieve everything that you want.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Poking the nose in

Earlier this week someone we knew about 3 years ago and fell out with came back into our lives.
V became friends with my other half when they were working at one of the local schools together. Her son was a couple of years younger than my son and her husband worked for one of the biggest companies in the area.

We got one pretty well together, until one of our friends got taken seriously ill and V started getting very friendly with her with the result that my other half and our friend fell out. Fortunately they made up before she passed away.

V then had problems with her marriage and after splitting from her husband moved in with a new partner.

For the last 3 years we've not seen or heard from her. Then she shows up on our doorstep while I was at work.

V knows about me as she saw me one lunchtime towards the end of last year in the town centre. It was after I'd been growing my hair out for a while. When she then bumped into another of hour friends she asked about me and was told.

This week she turns up at our place because she was in the area and had some time to spare. My other half and her had a cup of tea and a chat. During the chat V turned around and suggested to my other half that when she was ready to find herself a guy that V knew of someone. She apparently even showed a picture of the guy in question. My other half sent V a text the following day to say she wasn't interested and that we were planning on staying together.

When I was told I immediately wondered why she was sticking her nose into our business and making assumptions about our relationship.

Now I know what V is like and to be honest doing something like this is what I would expect from her but it is overstepping the mark somewhat.

I mentioned what had happened to some friends in work and the best reaction I had was from one of the guys who said to me that perhaps I should ask V to introduce me to her friend. Hmm, nope, if I want a man or even a woman I'll find my own thank you very much. Not that I have any need to do that as I have someone special in my life already.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A Year in Provence - part 2

The end of my week in Southampton went pretty well.
I learned a lot during the course, some of which I'll be able to use now that I'm back in work.
The examination is booked for the 1st February and so I'll have to go up to London for that. It will give me the chance to catch up with someone I know that has moved up there.
The hotel I stayed at was great and I had no problems there.

The journey home from Southampton took a couple of hours and took me down through the New Forest via Dorchester.
The weather wasn't very nice with rain pretty much all the way home. At one point I was stuck in a traffic jam due to 5 cars going into the back of each other in the outside lane.

Arriving home, the family had gone to my in-laws in the Cotswolds as it was mother-in-laws birthday. She'd come down to stay overnight and had then taken them back up which left me with our car.

Saturday was a sort of chilled day. I was going out for a drink in the evening and had decided that I was going to wear a dress to the pub. working my way through my wardrobe I realised that I actually didn't have anything that was suitable to wear. Everything was either too dressy for the pub or something I would either wear leggings, trousers or thick tights with. So after conferring with a friend I headed into town and to the local Laura Ashley shop.

Now Laura Ashley has always struck me as being a bit on the floral side of fashion. I know that isn't the case in reality but still, I wasn't sure that I'd find anything that would be me. Still they had a sale on so it was worth a look.

Into the shop I went and over to wear some of the sale stock was, particularly the dresses. A bit of a rummage and I had found 3 possibilities. I sent a text to my friend and described them. She came back with two that she liked. I still wasn't convinced.
Just then one of the women that used to work in our personnel department walked past with who must have been her daughter and granddaughter. I was tempted to say hello and then ask her advice but couldn't bring myself to do so.
Still trying to make a decision I was surprised when one of our personnel managers also appeared. Now I get on with H so I said hello and roped her into helping me decided. We narrowed my choices down to two before she wandered off. I still wasn't convinced at this point, one of the dresses was definitely a yes, the other I wasn't so sure about as it had a pleated skirt and I wanted the dress to be able to wear it both when I went somewhere but also to work. In the end I put the dress with the pleated skirt back and went for the black dress with a pink floral pattern. Just as I was heading towards the changing rooms I noticed another rack with some dresses and tops on it. A quick rummage and I found a grey tunic top that I could wear to work, providing I got some camisoles to wear underneath it as it is a bit low cut.
Before I went to the changing rooms I had a quick look to see if I could find a black cardigan or something similar to wear with the dress. I found just the thing in a long sleeved cardigan/jacket.
Well everything fitted and I was soon heading back home with my purchases.

The afternoon was spent enjoying a nice soak in the bath while reading a book and then getting ready to go out.

Just as I was about to put my make-up on I got a call from my son asking me how to sort out a problem with his gran's computer. Fifteen minutes of trying to work out what to do over the phone, another 5 minutes of chatting to my family and I was free to finish my make-up.

The pub was really nice. It wasn't a local one as it was in a nearby town. When I got there the first pub was a chain pub that caters to families and was really busy. Not the place I wanted to go to on a Saturday night. The second pub we went to was more back street and although it was quieter I decided I might stand out and didn't want to risk any problems. The final pub was again a family pub but this time there was somewhere to sit for a quiet drink.
The evening was quite pleasant, I noticed a couple of women looking in my direction as they made their way to and from the toilets.
At one point I was a bit shocked to see some people that we know from Yeovil. The husband is a builder and has done some work at our home, one of the daughters is at school with my son. They didn't see me and I didn't go to say hello as it would have been awkward.

Sunday was a relaxed start to the day and then it was off to collect my family at our usual handover point halfway between our home and my  in-laws place. We had a bite to eat and then returned home.

It was a busy week but nice.
It also showed that either I'm passing well enough or that people really aren't worried.

Roll on 2013 and whatever that will bring.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Year In Provence

Or more accurately a week in Southampton.

I'm spending the week on a training course in Southampton. Its the first time I've spent this amount of time away from home since I transitioned. Its also the first opportunity I've had to be myself where people don't know me as anyone but Jenna and to see how they react.

I've got limited Internet access so I'm going to post as I can. This is part 1.

Southampton 2nd to 7th December 2012

Sunday

What a journey it was to get down here. To start with the hire car is one of those that has a key that you put into a slot on the dashboard. Once its inserted then you can press down on the clutch while pushing the key right into the slot in order to start the engine. The car doesn't have a traditional handbrake, instead you press down on the brake while pushing a switch on the console near the gear-stick. Its not too bad once you get the hang of it, and aren't panicking because the car has stalled or something like that.
The actual journey was OK until I reached Southampton. At that point things started to go adrift because the satnav told me that I'd arrived at my destination while I was still on the M27. Exiting the motorway at the next exit and heading into Southampton before stopping to reset the satnav so it would find the hotel was called for which even then lead to a roundabout trip as I managed to miss the exit on a roundabout and found myself back on the motorway.
The hotel is some distance from the venue where I'll be doing my ISTQB Advanced Test Analyst course. Hopefully I'll be able to find the place without too much trouble tomorrow.
At the moment its just before 10 o'clock, its raining again. I've not been out of my room since I got here. Tomorrow I'll be eating in the restuarant so I'll probably have a couple of drink in the bar as well.
I've got quite a bit of reading to catch up this week, in addition to any homework we get from the course. Reading wont be the only thing that I do though as I've brought a couple of my fans with me. I've already spent aa bit of time this evening working out the timings for my True Love routine and have gone through that a couple of times. Its not a complicated routine, neither is it very long (about 3 minutes 15 seconds in fact) so by the end of the week I should have it in a state that I can start jazzing it up and making it more of a performance.
Anyway, its 10 o'clock now and time to get ready for bed.

Monday

First day of the course done.
Last night I didn't sleep all that well. I usually don't when I'm staying in a hotel, the bed usually takes a few days to get used to as well as all the different noises. I was eventually awake by about 5:30 this morning but sat in bed reading my bible, something I haven't done for a while.
Just after 6 I started getting myself ready for the day, by just after 7 I was ready to face the outside world and heading for breakfast. I kept things simple this morning and didn't eat a lot, come cereal and a small fried breakfast.
Just after 8 I set off for the course venue in Ocean Village. It took me a while as the traffic was quite hectic initially but thinned out as I got closer to my destination. On arrival I was a bit worried as I didn't have much change for car parking and all of the car parks in the area were pay and display. I parked the hire car in the nearest car park and popped into the reception of the Innovation Centre to see if they could tell me the best place to park. Fortunately they have their own parking spaces to the rear of the building so I was able to leave the car there.
The course was interesting, there are only four of us plus the course tutor. He looked familiar and it wasn't until I got back to the hotel and checked the notes for another course that I did a while back that I realised that he was the one who had done that course.
The one thing that I'm definitely going to remember the course for is hazelnut coffee. The drinks machine uses pouches containing the drink that you want, there is a few things to choose from but I've settled on the hazelnut coffee option. I've drunk so much of it that I can still taste it even after a couple of glasses of wine. I think I might be getting addicted to it.
The trip back to the hotel was equally hectic but I didn manage to get into the hotel without having to do a roundabout journey this time.
A bit of revision and the obligatory phone call to the family and it was time for dinner.
The restaurant was heaving, I had to wait about 15 minutes before I got a table even though I had booked. The waiter that seated me was really nice and kept updating me on what was going on and checked to see if I'd ordered my meal and how long it would be.
I'd chosen to have duck breast with potato Anna. The duck tasted lovely, there could have been a bit more food though. Next time I'll know to order a side dish!
Some people do like to complain and the chap that was seated before me, after he had been served his meal and had pointed out to the waiter that there was some mushrooms missing, said "this place is like Fawlty Towers." It wasn't that bad!
Today has been a good day. I've not had any issues with people. The staff are well trained, I had a smile from one of the waitresses in response to a smile I gave her. My waiter addressed me as Ms. On the way to dinner I rode up in the lift with an older gentleman who stepped aside to allow me into the lift and then when he got out in front of me apologised saying that he should have let me out first.
I'd say that today was a passing day.

Tuesday

Second day of the course. The restaurant was a bit busier yesterday morning. Had some fruit to start but it felt very unladylike trying to cut through chunks of pineapple, apple and melon with a spoon with people around. Don't think I'll go for that option again. Will probably go back to cereal or skip that and have a couple of pastries after my full English. Missed my favourite of button mushrooms though as they didn't have any out when I went to get mine.
Drive to Ocean Village was as busy as on Monday but I did arrive early, in fact I was first to arrive, the other girl on the course was second.
The receptionist greeted me when I arrived. She's very friendly and very smartly dressed. I like her.
The course went well as we got through all of the material easily which allowed us to get back to our hotels to do some revision on our own. I worked through some examples and then left it at that as I wanted to have an early dinner so I could have a bath and watch some television.
On the way back to the hotel I popped into the Asda Hypermarket at Eastleigh. I'd forgotten just how big they could be. I wandered around as quickly as I could picking up a notepad, some Pringles, chocolate digestives, a bottle of Pinot Grigio (hotel drinks are extortionate, over 6 pounds for a small glass of wine, 9 pounds for a larger one, the bottle from Asda was only 5 pounds) and a bottle of what I thought was Jim Beam bourbon which turned out to be a black cherry bourbon drink. Very nice, very drinkable and after one very large glass will be going in my case to take home.
I noticed last night that I've been forgetting to slap on my hormone gels. So made doubly sure that I'd remember to do it before I went to bed and when I got up in the morning.
Dinner was a lot quieter than Monday evening. The restaurant wasn't as busy at 7 when I went down. Service was great. Food was even better. I went for belly of pork with black pudding and potatoes followed up by vanilla and strawberry crème brulee with a shortbread biscuit and Chantilly cream.
While I'd been eating a nice looking American had been sat at the table next to me. As I was eating my dessert he asked if it was good, to which I put my hand on my tummy and replied yes. His dinner arrived at that point and as I'd finished mine I left him to it and we didn't chat any more. If I was more confident with my voice and appearance it would have been nice to chat some more.
I am meeting lots of different people, not just staff here but also other guests and I'm not getting any negative reactions so I'm happy.
After dinner I enjoyed a relaxing bath, finished my Jim Beam and had a couple of small glasses of wine in my room while reading my books, Coming Up Next by one of my favourite television presenters Penny Smith. I've had the book for a while and haven't got round to reading it. Now that I've started I can't put it down and will have finished it before too long. Oh well, will have to get her next book.

Wednesday

Finally finished my book this morning. Nothing to read now.
I've missed a couple of the programmes that we normally watch this week. Although I've got a TV in my room the things that I'd usually watch with the rest of the family like Grimm and Elementary are on satellite channels and not Freeview.
The course went well today. It was about a couple of testing techniques and once you understood what was involved they weren't too bad.
I chatted to the receptionist at the innovation centre when I got there this morning. Both of us have daughters. Her oldest is between Rhys' age how old Kayleigh would have been this year. It was a nice chat as both being parents we had things in common.
Weather today has been chilly, not as cold as yesterday when the car was iced over, so glad that I brought de-icer with me.
Two more days to go before the course is over and I head back home. Will be nice to have all the things that I take for granted when at home available to me. Even if is my last weekend before I have to start training for the Outlaw next year!
Spoke with the family using Skype earlier. So much easier than simply using the phone and better than Windows Live Messenger. Everyone was OK. 


More to come at the end of the week, or tomorrow if I manage to write up a post before I lose my Internet access.