Saturday, 27 June 2015

Oh Carp!

I was thinking about not posting this as events have moved on a bit, I've added an update at the end.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


For so long now I’ve been focused on transition, on RLE, on GRS, on becoming me on the outside as well as inside. Yes, I’ve done other things, triathlons, burlesque, belly dance but in the background there has always been the fact that I needed to bring my body and spirit into alignment.
Now that I’m simply dealing with the day to day reality of being post-op it’s time to bring a new focus to my life, it’s time to actually make the most of the life that I now have, to make the most of having got rid of having to spend my life as a male when I never really was.
Triathlons and burlesque, I can actually do something with these now. Is that all though?
No, it’s not.
For a while now I’ve been trying to develop a persona for my burlesque alter-ego. I had an idea about who she was and it involved Steampunk. Mira D’Glass who is my alter-ego is an adventuress, a dancer and a sophisticated lady depending on the situation she finds herself in.
I’ve recently finished working on a character profile for her based on a large number of questions (about 80). Each question is designed to expand on who she is, her likes and dislikes, her background and a number of other areas.
Being an adventuress she is going to need a suitable costume. Mira is familiar with various weapons and combat skills. With that image in mind and also with the idea of a set of metal fans for performing burlesque routines with I started looking at metalwork courses. I found a place in Glastonbury that teaches blacksmithing, it’s not an overly expensive course and it teaches you the technique needed to make a number of things from nails and rivets, to a utility knife and a short sword. Both of these would be very useful additions to Mira’s costume.
Of course a sword needs a scabbard and she would only conceive of using a leather scabbard. Leather working courses are going to be next on my list of things to look at.
If Mira is going to be proficient in the use of various weapons then she is bound to be able to use a bow, with the result that archery lessons would be an obvious thing to consider.
So many things to explore just to develop a burlesque alter-ego, so many things to explore because they would be interesting and give me the chance to develop new skills.

And then of course there’s the burlesque itself. Being part of a dance troupe is going to be fun, learning new routines and performing them as part of the troupe will be a dream come true. Going to along to the weekly troupe practice and especially to the monthly session where we perform for each other will be just the thing I need. Having a monthly session to focus on will force me to look at the ideas I’ve come up with for routines and actually flesh them out into something that could be brought up to a performance standard. Right now I have every monthly session up until the end of the year planned out with a different routine for each.

Beyond burlesque is triathlons. I’ve loved doing these over the last few years and there are races I want to revisit as well as do for the first time. Even better is that in 2 years’ time I will be able to compete against other women for prizes and age group places, the latter meaning that I can focus on getting to the level where I can qualify for Kona and the Ironman World Championships, a race I would love to do.

But life isn’t just about triathlons and burlesque, there are so many more possibilities. I have the chance to do more writing, to take the idea I have for a novel and actually write it.

Beyond that, who knows? Right now the future looks amazingly bright, and there are so many possibilities, so many things I can do. The only real limit to what I can do, what I can achieve is me and, having reached the point in my life I have, the things that were holding me back are now gone and I’m free to try and fulfill my potential.

Life is uncertain, but it certainly has possibilities.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

I'm not a gardener but...

Recently LittlePuffin over at Muddling on posted some pictures of her garden, the latest ones are here.

Before I went into hospital I made a big effort to tidy up our gardens, partly so I could enjoy sitting in the back garden during the 3 month heat wave we were supposed to experience over the summer and partly because we were moaned at about the overgrown lavatera and brambles that that took up a large corner of our front garden. The front garden was also tidied up in order to get rid of the hedge that had been there since before we went in and to replace in with a fence around the front of our property.

This is what the gardens looks like now.


Our house being an end terrace we are very lucky that we have a lot more land than the other houses around us. Most of our neigbours front gardens are as wide as their houses.

I'm not really a gardener, I can cut grass, do a bit of weeding and planting but that's about it. That is going to have to change if my plans for the future happen.

In the meantime there are things that I want to do with our gardens to make them low maintenance but also something that we can enjoy.

In the back garden the border that runs from the small patio area to the back of the garden is going to have anything growing in it killed off, a suitable membrane put down and then pebbles put on top of it. We're then going to put several large planters along the border. The border running along the back of the garden will eventually disappear and a reasonable size summer house or garden shed put there. The shed that is near the house will then be demolished and paving slabs put down so that we have a bit more space close to the house. In a couple of years when my son leaves home a small lawn in the back garden will be enough for us.

The front garden is going to have a membrane put down along the fence panels on the one side where the hedge used to be, pebbles will be put down on top of that. Replacing all or part of the garden with pebbles is something that a number of our neighbours have done, we're happy to just do part of it.

In the area where the lavatera and brambles were we plan to dig it over and put grass seed down, at least as far as the brick wall where there are steps leading up to the garages alongside our back garden. That area will be leveled off and have a raised area that will be covered with more pebbles.

Its definitely not something that we will be doing quickly. Getting rid of the plants and weeds in the borders will take a little while. Cutting down and killing off the remnants of the hedge and lavatera will also take time and a lot of physical effort, something I'm far from capable of at the moment. Its something to plan for, and when finished will hopefully make our garden look really nice and something we are happy to enjoy.

And now the fourth of my playlists:
The Planets - Love In Slow Motion

Amici Forever - Whisper Of Angels

The Mediaeval Baebes - The Sour Grove

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Phone experience

Its been over three and a half years now since I transitioned. Back then one of my biggest worries wasn't people figuring out I was transsexual when they saw me in the street, it was a concern but I knew that the majority of people would take me for a woman because I made sure to give them enough visual clues so that if they suspected they would still go with what they were seeing.

No my biggest worry was talking on the phone as people would only have my voice to go on. That's changed now, but its a change that's crept up on me.

Friday, 12 June 2015

I love a challenge

Its over a year now since my son was admitted to hospital in Bristol so that he could have the malignant peripheral nerve sheaf tumour removed from his stomach. At the same time the doctors there identified a second tumour, a brain tumour called a meningioma. After scans showed its size it was decided that monitoring was the best course of action, rather than surgery.

Last Autumn we paid a visit to the Children's Hospital so that he could have a full body MRI scan to check his stomach and make sure that there were no problems developing there and also to check the size of the meningioma. Due to a problem that he was having at the time with intense stomach pains the scan was aborted when one of the pains occurred and he could not continue to lie still any longer.

Earlier this year we noticed that the lump on his forehead seemed to have grown. We contacted our local hospital and after a bit of too-ing and fro-ing of messages between consultants at our local hospital and Bristol an MRI was finally performed in Yeovil. The consultant in Bristol reviewed them and confirmed that the tumour had grown and surgery was now required.

Cue a very worried me as there was the possibility that they would give us a date that would clash with my surgery in Brighton. Something that if it had happened would have meant me postponing my surgery as my son's health has always been a priority. Fortunately arranging when the surgeon would be able to operate took longer than expected so my operation happened.

This week we received a phone call from the Children's Hospital informing us that the operation has been scheduled for next week, Thursday in fact, with him being admitted to the hospital on the Wednesday.

When we've discussed the surgery in the past the doctors have said he will be in for about a week. As my wife says though "this is Rhys we're talking about" so who knows how long it will actually be. I'm going to be positive and work on the fact that he's admitted on Wednesday so by the following Wednesday he should be discharged and going home.

So here is where the challenge comes in.

We've got to stay in Bristol for a week. Accommodation has been sorted and as on the last few stays we are going to be at Sam's House, and in the very same room that we stayed in when he had his bone marrow transplant and also the tumour removed last year, along with the radiotherapy over the summer.

Normally none of this would be an issue, however, I've not driven since before my operation and my wife does not want to drive through Bristol so at some point on Sunday when they return from a few days away (Rhys was offered the chance to go to Silverstone race track and to be driven around in a Ferrari, something he is doing today), I will have to  get in the car and try performing an emergency stop. If I can perform an emergency stop without it being painful then I'll need to take the car out for a short drive to make doubly sure that I will be able to get us across the city. The earliest I should be driving according to my diary is the 30th July, so to get us to and from the hospital means trying to drive over two weeks earlier than that.

And then we have the other challenges.

Since I've come out of my housebound recovery phase I've not gone very far, in fact I was told short walks or car trips. Being in Bristol for a week, unless I sit around Sam's House or the hospital then I'm going to have to go for wanders into the shopping area in order to pass the time. This will involve a lot more walking than I would have done at home. All I can really do is try my best to take things easy, listen to my body and when it says rest, do just that.

I'm also still on a 3 times daily dilation schedule. According to the dates I'd worked out and marked in my diary the earliest I can switch to twice daily dilation is the 23rd June, the day before I expect us to come home. On the day that we go up to Bristol, and the day of his operation there is very little chance that I'm going to be able to dilate 3 times. On the Wednesday I'm only going to be able to manage once. On the Thursday I might be able to manage 3 times but that will depend on when his operation is and how long it takes. If its anything like when he had his tumour removed there's a distinct possibility that I might only manage once. I'm sure that it wont be an issue though as I'll be able to fit in the required dilation on the days after that, and I'll just carry on with 3 times daily after the date I can drop to twice daily for a little bit longer to make up for it.

Next week is really going to be a challenge.

It would have been even if it was just my son having the tumour removed.

It would have been even if it was just me completing my dilation schedule.

It would have been even if it was just us going away for a week.

Now its going to be so much more of a challenge.

As the expression says "May you live in interesting times" and my family and I certainly do that.

To finish off here is the second of the playlists I'm going to be adding to my posts, only another 4 to go. I'll leave you with these great songs and drag myself back to bed, its nearly 5am here and I've been up for an hour because I'm still not sleeping properly and my body seems for some reason to have decided that I need to be awake at 12:30 and 3:30am, which should be lots of fun next week. Night night.

Daydream - The Lovin' Spoonful

What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

If Paradise is Half as Nice - The Amen Corner

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes - The Platters

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

I am a really sad individual

Its 4am in the morning and as seems to be the current state of affairs I'm overly hot, woke up at about 1am this morning, and have been tossing and turning until I reached the point where I simply had to get up. Before I head back to bed I thought I'd share something that happened yesterday.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Freedom, Cupcakes and becoming a porn star

This week saw another major milestone in my recovery. Having completed my 2 weeks of house arrest I was finally released on Tuesday.