Sunday, 30 May 2010

Shoes, dancing and problems with weight loss

Well the shoe shopping trip was sucessful, though I didn't get the ones that I went for.  In the shop I asked Mrs Stace if she would wear the ones from yesterday, as they are her style as well (except maybe the heel).  However, as she already has the same shoes in black she didn't think that she would.  So I went for a different style instead.  I just hope they don't look too old (though again Mrs Stace seems to think that the heels stop that).  But I do like them I have to say...

I tried them this morning with my new outfit and a brown semi formal jacket that I borrowed from Mrs Stace.  As I now have a therapist I think I may, at some point, start to go dressed and this would be an idea outfit.  We'll see what happens when the time comes.  I also managed to get my eye makeup perfect for the first time today so I am on slight high from that.  See if I cam manage it next time as well.

Last night was spent dancing for the last time of the school year.  It's the third year, and we both struggled with how complex it got and just how many steps we had to learn and remember.

The ballroom was a disaster.  Had the strictly judges been there Craig would have made the middle syllable last a year.  We did one run through the English Waltz and then I forgot the steps.  Totally...  I couldn't remember a thing.  The tango was OK, not great I thought, but OK.  The quickstep (one of my favorite dances) was just a mess.  The music they choose was just too slow and not a single couple was in step with the beat after a few seconds.  During the break between ballroom and latin all the Silver* couples were complaining about it.

The latin was great.  The rumba, cha cha and samba came together, I remembered the steps and we started to enjoy it.  We finished on the Jive.  My absolute favorite dance.  The music was quite quick and we just got totally into it.  We both had hugh grins throughout the dance and when we were finished the couples we always drink with during the break said that they couldn't take their eyes off of us due to the engery and enjoyment we were putting into it.  That was wonderful to hear!

After a demonstration dance from the resident professionals (WOW!) we got our certificates.  Actually scored quite well ballroom, and as expected for latin - average of 8 for all 7 dances.  All in all an enjoyable night :)

There was an issue before we went though.  Mrs Stace brought a fantastic dress for the night and I wanted to match.  Seeing as I've lost weight I thought my black suit would be perfect.  I was wrong.  Whilst the trousers now fit OK (fine on the but, loose on the waist) the jacket was a joke.  We both thought that I looked like a kid trying on his dad's clothes.

I have another suit, but that was also not great (better, so that's the one I wore).  Again it fitted on the but, but there are inches spare on the waist, and the fitted jacket just isn't anymore.  Then I pinched it in.  Woohoo for the shape left, but not for a blokes jacket...  That was not a problem I was expecting to have...  It takes me back to being a teenager when I wore 501w's until they stopped making them as they fitted better than the standard 501's.  Kind of the same issue Keli has... But womens jeans these days are a little more obvious than back then so I have to go searching for something different...

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Damn, just when it was going well!

The last two weeks have been great.  I've been getting on with stuff, both project management stuff and getting my hands dirty in code again.  I'd say I was back to 90% of where I used to be and was enjoying my job again catching up on the things I let lapse during the last 6 months.

Then Thursday and Friday seemed to undo that somewhat.  My phone has not stopped ringing, and during 1 60min meeting I missed 20 emails.  I just can't cope with that it seems - my concentration gets destroyed and I sit staring at the screen again.  Hopefully next week I can get into it again.

That set the tone for yesterday.

I had two conversations where someone started talking about personality types.  And twice I was called a girl.  One time, and I know it was not meant in a nasty way, I was asked when I was starting hormones.  It was with someone who I get along with well, and we enjoy winding each other up - and neither of us takes it serious.  But I just could not answer that.  I had no witty comeback that I could use.  I had to go for the lame smile and saying haha.  Christ, it cut deep.  I'm sitting here tearfully just writing it up.

Then I went out with some ex-colleagues in Amsterdam and again personality questions came up again.  I was the only one who answered differently, and got back - that's a girls response.  No hormone question this time.  But to hear that when you are in a GD dip and not be able to give the answer you want to was almost as bad as the hormone question.

We are all geeks (me the least actually) and the talks went to blogs.  And talking about linking to each others.  I had to work so hard to stop myself saying anything.  Again just sitting in the corner saying nothing and fading into the background.  It was an enjoyable night, but it was bloddy hard as well.

It's not all bad though.  I managed to get a couple of important things organised this week.

I have an intake with a therapist.  Got the number from the VU and called.  He only takes people from the VU and a trans self help group in Amsterdam so I could get an appointment quickly.  Still a week and a half away, but I'm looking forward to starting (it doesn't scare me like the VU - maybe because this is getting my head in order and more than something that may significantly change my life).

Secondly...  I have an appointment to talk to my brother.  I loved his reaction to me making the appointment with him.  "I need to talk to you"  "Why?"  "Because I do"  "OK mate".  He is quite happy go lucky in some things.  Just hope he still is after I've told him.

And finally...  Something happy to end on...  More shopping today.  We are off to do the shoe shopping that should have been done last week.  I just hope they have the shoes in stock!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Time and shallowness...

Over the last two weeks I have really got back into the swing of things in the office.  I started to keep an excel sheet for persoanl time management and you know what - it helps.  I can focus better than previous weeks and at the end of the day I can look back and see what I have done and feel some sense of acheivement.

The downside is that my time online has gone down by about 90% as it used to be my escape when my head was completely lost.  So if I haven't been commenting, or answering mails as quickly as normal I would like to appologise (though my boss is happier ;-p)

And the shallowness?

I just got a package from H&M that I have been waiting for (for over a month).  A new skirt and top that I couldn't find in their bricks and mortor store locally...

I'm over the moon with the clothes, Mrs Stace a little less so.  Apart from the obvious reason why, the skirt is a EU38 (US8 on the label and according to the size conversion chart a UK10).  And It's a little loose.  Top's an 'M' and is just about right (a little loose but not too much)... Mrs Stace does not think that is fair...

I saw a friend for the first time in a while yesterday, he's the first person to comment that I had lost weight since the start of the year.  I was about jumping for joy that someone had noticed (I was beginning to think that it was impossible to tell!)

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Sunny days!

It's been an interesting weekend (Holland had a bank holiday so it was back to work this morning).

We were supposed to be shoe shopping (using a voucher that Mrs Stace got with a pair of shoes she brought a few weeks ago).  That never happened as what I thought was the end date for the voucher was in fact the start date.  Something to look forward to next week.

Instead we went office shopping to make working from home more comfortable for Mrs Stace.  One monitor, wireless keyboard / mouse combo and very nice office chair later she has an office that is nicer than where she works.

I have to ask though.  Has anyone ever seen the mythical creature that is believed to have the special power of cuying what they need from Ikea?  We went in for a chair and left with a chair, two ergonomic pillows with covers, three oven dishes and a teapot.

Sunday was cleaning day. Woohoo (but we have a nice living room again).

Yesterday we went to a castle for the day, it was my father in laws birthday and so we were treating.  Sun, warmth (too much really, but better than too cold) and the whole family together was nice.  Nice joke with my sister in law as well.  She was discussing why there is a queue outside the ladies, but not them men. After a long discussion she asked her husband 'do you have any idea of the layers under a womans outfit?'  'Yes' I replied sheepishly.  She cracked up.

Then called my folks again last night.  For the first time since speaking to my dad in the new year we had a discussion about how I was doing, going into detail.  It was really nice to be able to open up to him - and nice to know that he can open up back.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Catching up

Well after the shock that was my reaction to getting on the VU's waiting list yesterday I am doing better today.  I've calmed down, and as Mr Stace has pointed out it's not something unexpected, nor unwanted.  I guess I now need time to reflect and think.

I still have to call the therapist who's number I got from the VU.  I actually tried calling, but the number sems to be wrong.  I have to call the VU again to confirm the number.

Things are still on the up.  I'm back to 90% at work (Friday excepted) and it has been noted by my boss that I'm getting back to full strength. For the first time in a while  I can look back on the weeks work and be happy with what I have acheived.  I have too much to do, and have a lot to catch up on, but with a little time management and prioritising of open tasks I should cope.

And finally...  A week after getting the epilator I have to say I am very impressed.  There are still a few stragglers that I haven't caught yet.  But whereas I always have to shave on a weekly basis, I still have no regrowth after one week. Woohoo :)

Time for my Saturday skate.  Busy day today - MotoGP in France so I want to see qualifying, shoe shopping and tonight is the last practice for the final dance of the year where we get marked.

Have a good weekend all.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Waiting (or ohgodohgodohgodohgodohgodohgod)

I just called the VU.  They had their monthly group discussion yesterday and decided that I should go forward to the diagnostic phase.

The waiting list is still 9 months, but they hope to be able to make it shorter.

I'm currently a bit of a wreck - I wasn't expecting the news to affect me this much, in fact I was just expecting it to be a simple call.  Guess I was wrong.  Still a little na├»ve about how I react to things I guess.  You'd think at 33 I'd be past that.

Time to pick up the courage to call the therapist in Amsterdam...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Honey Honey

Today is one of those days where I feel I have reverse flu.

I woke up at 4:55 and couldn't get back to sleep again, the alarm went off at 5:40 and I then fell couldn't wake up.

Got downstairs and found a jar of honey had leaked into the kitchen drawer and had to clean everything off (using cold water as Mrs Stace was in the shower at the time). 

Was late because of all of that and had to forgo the second coffee that I normally have in the morning.

And yet...  I feel great this morning!

Long may it last :)

Monday, 17 May 2010

Ow, ow, owowowowowowow! PAIN!

My birthday isn't for a while yet, but seeing as Amazon had an offer on, and I didn't feel like using a couple of months of guarantee waiting, I used used my parents present over the weekend.

Ow.

Unpacked it, threw half of it in the freezer and read the instructions as much as I ever do.

Pain.

Then I went upstairs, plugged it in, put the ice pack on the back and for the first time in my life epilated my legs.

Initially it was not too bad.  Then after a few minutes it really was.  Over the course of the long weekend (well it was here anyway) I had three attempts.  My legs are now (almost) hair free.  And red.  Please tell me it gets easier over time :)

On the bright side they are hair free.  Not stubble free with still visible hair, but hair free.  Happy happy joy joy.

Now for the arms...

Ow.

Stace :)

Oh yes...  Mrs Stace had a wonderful grin on her face when I said how painful it was and said simply 'Told you'

Friday, 14 May 2010

Acceptance

Just a quickie today about something that strikes me as odd.  I've gone over bits of it before, but there is new input now.

I don't normally go into Mrs Stace's therapy.  She tells me what she wants to tell me, and I won't blog about it as that is her personal business not mine.

But...

Her therapist came up with something this week that I found interesting.  I've said before that I always thought I accepted that I was trans.  I tried to ignore it certainly, but I always thought that I accepted it.

Her therapist seems to think that this isn't the case.  I said after Tuesday at the VU that it got scary as each step makes it more real to me.  Mrs Stace does not have this problem.  Her husband sitting there dressed and made up kind of makes it real enough for her.

Her therapist says that points to me not accepting it (or rather that she has accepted it better than I have at present), which thinking about it makes sense.  What does that mean for me?  That I have simply acknowledged it? That I am simply terrified for the future and what may lie there?

It also gives me another question.  If I have simply acknowledged it how do you move from that to aceptance?

I have to get the courage to call the therapist in Amsterdam at some point today.  It was a bank holiday yesterday, and both Mrs Stace and I have taken a bridging day to give us a long weekend.  That gives me enough time to call the guy and get something arranged.

We'll see how it goes...

Right now it's too early to call and the sun is shining for the first time this week so I'm going for a skate.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Back from the VU, and so very, very tired

Well I'm back.  The intake appointment has been had and medium term future a little more visible.

I got there a little early, the hospital is a bit of a walk from the train station, and it's thorugh a new office landscape.  Kind of feels a little Manhattenish (at least in my head).  All high rise office blocks in glass and steel, very nicely done, even with a little brownstone office in the middle.  But with the lack of sun caused by the buildings it's damn cold :)

They started early when I got there.  Two questionaires to fill out, first a medical history, the second was a more intimate psycological questionaire, that went to varying levels. And brought up a number of memories that I would rather keep locked away.

My Dutch failed me a number of times, but I managed to work out what most of the questions were asking, and I have to say that having to keep working at the language actually helped keep me a little calm.

After that a little wait before sitting with the psycologist and answering questions about life so far, and why I was at the VU.  I explained that I didn't know where I needed to go for the future - that in a perfect world I would transition tomorrow.  But this world is far from perfect, and there is so much to think about.

We talked for an hour, I answered the questions I could.  It was difficult and a little emotional - she did explain that given the subject matter it was difficult to explain your feelings and not to worry as I was doing well. It didn't feel it at times :)

At the end she said that she thought I should definately go forward to the disagnistics phase, for multiple reasons.  I have to call back later in the month (after they have had the monthly group discussion) to see if I am on the waiting list (I am not sure what happens if thy do not put me on the waiting list...  The questions you think off when it's too late).

She also gave me the number of a therapist that works with the gender team (though not part of the team) to help get my head in order before starting the diagnistic phase.  She explained that the phase is relatively short, and it's not a bad idea to start to get your head in order.

They took my picture (ug) for the files and I was on my way again.  I feel better for knowling a little more about what the future should bring (in the short term at least).  Now I'm home I'm tired, drained and need sleep.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Takes an age, then is really, really quick...

Just a quick post today...  I just got a call from the VU Gender Team.

After waiting since December for an intake appointment I have finally got one.

For tomorrow morning at 10am!

I'm sitting here slightly scared at the moment... 

Stace

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Where is the year going?

Another week gone, another looking back and thinking where on earth did the time go...
For the first time this year I actually managed to get my head into gear and take the camera out.  Considering what I have spent on it over the years it's a woefully underused peice of kit - but I have just not had the 'umph' to get out there and take shots.  That changed on Wednesday evening.  I was going stir crazy, Mrs Stace was ill sleeping on the sofa and the sun was shining.  I took the camera to the lake near the house and spent an hour doing the 3km cirlce around it playing with verious shots.
Some worked, some failed miserably, some will make it onto my flickr page when I can be bothered to update it (just such a shame that I don't feel ready to link the male me of my Flickr page to the blog just yet...).  But here are three of my favorites.
The last is supposed to have lens flare BTW - I was playing :)
A first for me was actually aproaching a complete stranger and asking if I could take some shots - a father and son were playing with radio controlled beach buggies and i managed to get a few action shots before they broke (a screw came of the steering servo).  Here's the best of the action shots, taken at a very uncomfortable angle.
(For those interested the camera is an EOS 5D, with a Sigma EX DG 70-200mm f2.8 lens - for those not it's a neck breaking camera :p )

Actually getting the energy to go out there and do this has really meant something to me - I love photography, and I love playing with the camera.  Not having the drive to do that this year has got to me somewhat - but I just could not get the energy to just take the camera out.  Hopefully I can start doing more and more now I've started.

Other than that it's been a bit of a 'meh' week with not that much happenning.

Politics
I have been watching the election with interest...  And found that my views on politics have changed so much over the last 11 years since I left.

When I moved to Holland I thought the proportional representation was a little odd.  Roll on 11 years and I think the first past the post is just plain wrong.  Labour and Lib dem being so close in % of the vote, but so far away in terms of seats just shows how wrong it is.

But I am not sure how you could improve it in the UK.  The idea of the Lib Dems just seems overly complex - I just don't see the electorate getting the idea behind it, and I think ranking politicians on a ballot paper is just plain odd.

I like the Dutch system, you have a list of MP's that you can vote for - but you are actually just voting for the party itself and not an MP.  You get the amount of seats in parliment that you vote garners.  10% of the votes 10% of the seats.  Yes this does mean that there is a much higher chance of a hung parliment - but coalitions here are second nature - yes the breakdown of coalitions have brought the goverment down 4 times in my time here (the best not lasting 100 days...) But it does seem to work *well enough*.

I don't see it working in the UK though.  There is no local MP where I live.  You vote for a nationwide MP, and I am not sure that would wash in the UK (not that local MP's reall do that much for their local constituancy from what I can tell...)

Travel
Holly crap!  How much do train tickets cost in the UK!!!  Just watching breakfast and they have shown a special on ticket prices, and companies chaning more trains to unregulated 'Peak' services.

Manchester to London retrun (from what I can tell +/- 400 miles round trip).

For comparison, my car is not fiel efficient - I picked it for comfort and power not fugality.  On the motorway I get +/- 33MPG (if my conversion from 8.6l/100km is correct) which gives me +/- 11 gallons at a cost of +/- 60 GBP.

Previously the peak fair was 66 (already more than petrol, not sure what the parking charges are), it has more than quadrupled to over 260.  260!!!  I can fly from Schiphol to almost any airport in the UK for that with 2 people!  That means for me to take my petrol guzzelling car to London from Manchester I would have to pay more than 200GBP on parking just to break even with the train.  If I traded in my T5 for something a little more frugal (like a 2.0d version of the V50) it would be even worse.  Why do people still use the train in the UK?

To put that into perspective...  Leeuwarden (in the north of the Netherlands) to Maastrict (in the south) about 200 miles and a return is 45 euros.  No matter what time of day you travel, not matter howlong in advance you know you are going to be travelling.  I can't drive the distance for that amoutn of money hence the train suddenly becomes attrative.  They do have discount tickets over here - and yes they can only be used off peak (after 9am) - at which point it's 27 euros.

Sorry a bit of a rant there - but I just don't get trains in the UK!

Have a good weekend all - I'm going for a run now :)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I want to know how you are...

I had a long conversation with my mum again this weekend.  It's something that I had been putting off, as I just did not want to upset her.  She is a long way away, we can't get to Scotland just yet and doing all these talks over the phone can be quite difficult...

She sent me an SMS asking how we were, I waited until the evening and then called back.  I told her that I've not been OK for a few weeks, but that I am climbing out of it now.  And that I didn't say anything as I didn't want to upset her.

Her response was that she doesn't ask how I am to hear that I am fine, she asks because she wants to know how I am doing, and to try and support me the best she can from Scotland.

We talked about all the things that have been on my mind recently, including the suicidal thoughts from my teenage years to now (but not the last few weeks - progress) and the information evening from the VU.

She said that she was not surprised at the suicide - that she understood why those thoughts would go through my mind.

In all in all I think that we were on the phone for more than an hour, we had some laughs along the way, I had more than a few tears.  I explained to her that as much as I thought I had accepted my TG'ness years ago, I guess I am realising that I had not.  I'd acknowledged it, but obviously not accepted it.  That was a milestone in realisation.

One thing that made her laugh was me doing mascara.  I'm imfamous for having hand tremours.  When I tried to join the RAF as a pilot my mum made the joke that she would know which plane was mine as it would go side to side.

Now imagine having shaking hands.  Then trying to do your eyes.  She thought I meant black marks over my face.  I meant occasional 'OW!' moments as the brush suddenly meets eyeball.  She burst out laughing.  She also asked an interesting question.  I hid the fact that I was TG for many years, with the asscociated stress that comes with it.  She was wondering whether, once I am in a good place gender identity wise, would my hand tremous stop (or at any rate reduce a little) as there would be an amount of stress that would be gone.

I talked to my dad about my Spit - since we had a walk and talk just after his Birthday before Mrs Stace and I left them to come back to Holland we have not really talked about it.  He supports me through my mum - giving me advise whilst on the phone ot mum, but hasn't really spoken to anyone about it - including me.  I don't know whether he is bottleing everything up, or whether he is fine...  Mum thinks the former from what I can tell.

But...  The Spit is moving closer to the start line.  The garage is nearly built, almost has power and in a few weeks the Spit should be under cover for the first time in 1/2 a decade ready for a full body off restoration.  My dad and I can talk cars for hours - something that hasn't changed since I told them I'm pleased to say.  In the end mum made him end the conversation as she is terrified about my phone bill.  I have to say at present that is the least of my worries :)

Finally...

I have a new found respect for Nick Clegg.  I saw an interview on Dutch TV last night where they started in English (I think - sometimes I don't notice when people switch between English and Dutch) and he answered them in... Dutch!  He speaks it better than I do!  I know that he has Dutch linage but still, thinking and answering in Dutch when you don't have to - I was very impressed.  As Mrs Stace pointed out - imagine what was going on in the minds of his supporters.  There he was being interviewed, on TV and probably the only people who could understand him were the TV crew from NOS.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

I thought this was supposed to be gone

Where is spring?  Here in Holland we had one week of stunnning weather, the BBQ got it's advised yearly clean (why only once I year I don't know - but that's what the instructions say) - and my nails turned black...  It got used twice, I've seen some lovely scenery running / skating around the lake.

Riding the bike *to* work at 6:30 was warm, sunny and overall nice.

Riding back in the evening was *hot*, sunny and overall nice.

Now it's 4 degrees again when I come to work, my nose has exploded, my throat feels like sandpaper, my tonsils hurt and I'm coughing up some seriously evil looking stuff (how's that for a nice mental image!)

I thought that by this time if the year the colds were supposed to be behind us, and the weather was supposed to be picking up!

Bah, humbug!

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Nature red in tooth and claw

We were trying to be green fingered yesterday - I was replacing the house plants, and Mrs Stace was de weeding the garden.  I put some potting compost in the shed when somthing nearly flew into me as I left.

We couln't see the bird in the shed so we left the door open.

About 20 mins later a black shape darted into the shed and came out with a bird in it's mouth.  I don't think I've ever seen our cat move that quickly.

We generally let nature take it's course - the cat is hunter and there's not that much we can do to stop him.  He does have a bell on his collar to warn the birds - but it doesn't always seem to get them out of the way.

However when he tries to take them in home we stop him.  That's what he tried to do yesterday.  This is going to sound evil but...  It was like watching Silvester with Tweety.

We yelled at him not to take the bird inside and he looked at us and went 'phut' spitting the bird out.

We checked the bird over the best we could, it seemed OK so we put it high on a shed roof where it flew off and put the cat inside.

The cat was most dissapointed in us and went to sulk in the attic for 1/2 hour :)