Tuesday, 31 May 2011

On shopping and parents

After seeing my Sister in law on Saturday we were on full on finish cleaning mode on Sunday.  We needed to get the spare room finished and the other rooms tidied up.

Those plans got a little scuppered when we got an SMS from my sister in law asking if we fancied going to a Mexx warehouse sale.  Seeing as Mrs Stacy and I like Mexx we thought that we could go down for a quick look and see what is there.  The warehouse is only 20 or 30km's from home so it shouldn't take more than 90 minutes or so to get there, shop and leave.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

We were queueing to get in for an hour, spent an hour or more inside going through the racks and paying.  Oops.  Mind you, the clothes were *really* cheap.  Mrs Stace picked up a coat @ about 115 euros discount, I picked up three skirts @ 10 euros each (shop price was 50+ per skirt).  In total we spent 96 euros for a bag of clothing that was probably close to 500 euros in the shop!  That it's last seasons styles really doesn't bother me - I like clothes I like - fashion rarely figures in my choice of what I buy!

We spent the remainder of the afternoon getting the rooms cleaned and prepared and collapsed on the sofa in the evening to try and get some energy back :)

Yesterday morning came and I got ready to go and pick my parents up from the airport.  That did not go well!  My hair refused to go properly, the zapped hair from Friday showed through the foundation and I felt like a mess as a result.  There is nothing like confidence crushing images in the mirror just before leaving the house.  Esp when everything went so well on Saturday with my Sister in Law.

I was in half a mind to give up and get changed again - but I didn't have time to redo my hair as him so I just summoned up all the confidence I could muster and left.  Mrs Stace got a call from a colleague just before I left so she had to stay at home and take that.

I got to Schiphol and struggled to get into my walking shoes.  Eventually got out of the car and then had issues walking to arrivals (for somereason my skirt was full of static and sticking to my tights which meant it was riding up at the front).

I reached the arrival hall and waited for my parents to come out.  Shaking a little from nerves, but actually otherwise I was fine.  I wasn't staring round trying to see who was looking at me.  I was not trying to hide away so no one could see me (the amount of people crowding around the arrivals gate would  have made that impossible anyway!)  They came out we had a hug, walked back to the car and my mum said I looked a bit off.  I explained about the above and she said that if I was not feeling up to meeting them as Stacy why did I not just go as him.  I just thought if I can go out looking that bad and still act with confidence then I should not have an issue in future trips out.  She laughed and said that I didn't look 'bad', and that I still looked feminine.  I just looked like I was out from the night before :)

Got home and had a great day chatting, watching some TV etc.  They had not been to bed for more than 24 hours so they were shattered so they drifted off to sleep occasionally.  I was going to get changed, as the make up was starting to look awful - but my mum managed to convince me that it was fine and that I shouldn't worry so much.  I eventually got changed when they went to sit in the garden.  Should the neighbours see me when I going somewhere, so be it.  But I don't want to just sit in plain view in the garden that is overlooked from every side for Mrs Staces sake.  When they find out I won't have a problem doing it, but for now I'll try to avoid it.  All in al it was a great day.  They are currently asleep still from their travelling, and I am about to go for my run around the lake.  In the rain :(

Sunday, 29 May 2011

In which my sister in law meets Stacy

Well it's the morning after the night before, and I am still sitting here in the make up from last night as it was very late (not something I do very often!)

I was quite nervous - in fact almost as nervous as when my parents met Stacy for the first (only so far) time.  I started very early, in fact I painted my nails (also something that I do not do very often) whilst watching the Monaco qualification.  I managed one hand, but I had to ask Mrs Stace to do my right hand as it was not going to be able to do it left handed.  Thankfully she said OK and did a great job (so I currently have metallic purple nails - a present from the wife of a colleague).

After the qualification was finished I spent a age shaping my brows (as much as I dare to do) and shaving.  I got dressed, moisturised and did my hair and then went to prepare food.

We ate (quiche with salad and rosemary - sea salt potatoes) and then I did my make up (another 30 minutes!) and relaxed (haha) in front of Dr Who.

We need to wait until my niece and nephew were asleep in bed, as we do not want to confuse them with male me, Stacy, male me. After Dr Who had finished Mrs Stace called to check that they were OK and we left.  Mrs Stace drove so that I did not have to change shoes in the car.  I'm also not sure how I would have felt being in in control with the shakes that I had from the nerves.

We arrived, parked and went to their house.  And I got a very good reaction from both my sister in law and her husband.  There were shocked smiles of course, but both said that I looked good, and very feminine and very not male me.  I asked if it was better than they had in their head and my sister in law just said that she had lots of strange thoughts and this was nothing like any of them.  I do feel sorry for the people who have to get their head around the situation.  They have known me for 11 years, and even though they have known about Stacy for 18 months now it's completely different from seeing me as Stacy.

We sat and talked, looking occasionally to the football. As my sister in law joked - you come as a woman for the first time and what do we do, watch football!  Something we have never done with them in the past - I had never heard of Messi until last years world cup!  Not that there is anything that says you can't do that as a woman, it's just something that I would never do as male me...

For the first hour there was lots of staring as they tried to get their heads sorted (nothing bad, just shocked).  But we ended up chatting about things in general and just having a pleasant evening.

As they don't have stairs to leave their house there was nothing for me to fall down (which is good as this time I was in heels and had been drinking red wine).  So I stepped out of the house with no problem.

Until it was obvious how gusty the wind was and I had to hold my skirt down.  I don't know how bad the first gust was, but it had my sister in law in hysterics.  So that's fall down the stairs when I left last time I introduced Stacy to someone, and this time possibly flashing my in laws.  Wonderful :)

I think the biggest positive is that they even tried to call me Stacy, and use the correct pronouns.  I had told them at the start of the evening that I was not going to correct them that visit.  I think getting your head around  me as Stacy is enough for one night, the corrections (should they be needed) can come later.  After last night I don't think it's going to be an issue.  Though my sister in law is worried about calling me Stacy when we go to visit before the kids know me as her :)

Friday, 27 May 2011

A week of freedom!

It's always nice to finish work and turn off the computer.  It's something that I only do a couple of times a year as I need access to my desktop from home in case things go wrong.  But, when I am leaving for the week I prefer not to have the temptation of being able to access the office from home so I turn everything off.

It's been a very busy week making sure that there has been enough of a handover for my projects, and to try and ensure that things will go smoothly over the next week.

And I did something really daft :) There is a project that is supposed to go live in a couple of weeks.  However, it would be nice for the business if it was live earlier than that.  So...  I offered to do what I could to get it live early so that the business unit who wanted the project could benefit.

So my team has been working extremely hard, and I have been extremely stressed (and working too many hours when I should have been cleaning up the spare room for my parents!).  And...  We managed it - with a little luck it will be live a week early and just at the time when they need it.  I hope they appreciate the effort that went into getting it there a week early!

After I left the office I had a few appointments before shopping for the weekend.

First was with my optometrist, it's been 3 years since I last had my eyes checked (something I only realised when I had my sunglasses adjusted and asked them how long ago it was).  So they checked for glaucoma (no problems there) and did an automated check of my eyes.  +0.25 in one eye and 0.00 in the other.

I then had a chat with the guy doing the real exam about how I wear my glasses (when tired, stressed or with a headache) and he check the eyes closer.

And told me to leave the glasses alone in future as whatever there was with my eyes 10 years ago when I got my perscription is not there now.  And wearing them could actually cause me more problems by making my eyes lazy.  So now I have to try for a few months and see how it goes.  If I am getting regular headaches then I have to go back and have them double checked (no doubt with the droplets that relax the eye), otherwise I am fine for another 2 years.

Then I had my last session of laser for the summer.  When I started at the beginning of the year I brought a course of 6 sessions (I meant I had one session free) and this was the last one.  They have suggested that a break over the sunniest months is a good idea, and to be honest with what is left I am thinking of switching to electrolysis (which reading comments along the lines of 'I thought laser hurt until I started electolosys' recently on a few blogs isn't filling me with joy.  The results, sure, the idea of something that hurts more than the laser did today...  Not so much.

And, wow!, did it hurt today.  I had lots of one 2 ones, that were out in the open and I think I may have spent too much time in the sun.  And I forgot the paracetamol that I took to reduce the pain last time last time...  I had tears in my eyes before she started on the upper lip.

But looking in the mirror it's worth it!

Right, time to prepare for a long weekend...  Cleaning, introducing Stacy to my sister in law tomorrow evening and then fetching my parents from the air port.

I'll apologise in advance for my lack of on-line presence next week.  I don't know how often I'll have time to read...

Stace

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Hot and Tired!

We have had a bit of a heatwave here in Holland this week, but today it ended.  According to the weather people. However, when I was running this evening I had the impression that it was still hot and dry (and not cold and wet as my phone and computers were trying to tell me).

Assuming that the Volcano in Iceland stays stopped I get to see my parents next week.  They are coming to stay for a week, and I have taken the opportunity to take the week off from work.  I've not seen them since February so I am quite looking forward to it.

And...  Stacy is meeting them at the airport.  Or at least that it the plan at the moment.  Well see what state my face in in Monday morning before making the final choice as I have my final session of laser on Friday afternoon.

Before they get here though we have to first have to clear the spare room so that they can actually sleep, and get the weeds from the garden so (assuming the weather holds) we can sit in the garden and relax.

It's amazing just how much can collect in one room in the house when you use it as a 'just put it there till I get around to it' room...  Everytime we need it we clean it up and swear it will not get into that state again.  It works for a few weeks, and then we start the circle again.  This time though!  This time...

Monday, 23 May 2011

Super injunctions

The past few weeks I have been getting more and more annoyed at the super injunction stories.  Not at the stories themselves - I honestly couldn't care less, but that someone feels the need to abuse the law in order to protect themselves from whatever they have done wrong.

These people make their living by being in the public eye, and enjoy all of the trappings that it brings.  Fast cars, big houses, the ability to misbehave.

And then when they do misbehave they use the courts to ensure that no one knows about it, and start screaming privacy.  It makes my blood boil!  They don't give a damn about privacy when they are making huge amounts of money from giving it up, but woe betide anyone who tries to say anything bad.  You have to take the bad with the good, and using laws that are designed to protect national security (supposedly!) to keep your bad behaviour out of the news is just shameful cowardly behaviour.

Not that I have any respect for the kiss and tell girls either.  I don't think it paints you in a very good light if you go and sell your storey at the first opportunity.  Was the relationship just a way to earn some cash, or did you have deep feelings that you have just sold down the river? And what do either of those options say about you?

Basically I hate the whole celebrity worship culture and how it brings the worst out in people and society!  (And do my best to avoid it when possible!)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Uncomfortable evening...

I think the anti-muse has come to visit my overnight.  Either that or the alcohol and sugar from last night have removed it from my head.  I had a post in my head yesterday, but for the life of me I have no idea what it was…

So here is the reason for the sugar and alcohol instead.

A friend was the first of us to turn 35 and invited a few of us to a ‘Dessert Buffet’ last night.  It was lovely (she is an amazing cook) and there was a huge spread of goodies from brownies with marshmallows, to cupcakes with marshmallows or chocolate chips, a chocolate cake, a poppy seed cake, cheesecake, a strawberry trifle, a strawberry parfait to home-made ice cream and some sorbets with spirits to drizzle over.

I managed to try about half of the things on offer – but as you can imagine they were all quite rich and at a certain point you just can’t do any more!

Near the end of the evening it got very uncomfortable though.  I’m not sure how, but the conversation turned to transitioning, or more precise to a colleague of someone who was.  And it was not a pleasant discussion.  Both Mrs Stace and I kept very quiet (I really do not want anyone there questioning me…) and were extremely uncomfortable.  Not so much hate, more ridicule.  This didn’t feel any better…  The conversation didn’t last very long, but it did leave a lasting bad taste in our mouths.  One thing that did surprise me…  One of the guys there is normally someone who comes out with things that just annoy me.  He is very much a topper type person (from Dilbert) and comes out with some of the most sexist and discriminatory comments.  And I don’t recall him saying much at all during this part of the conversation.

The real shame is that this is someone that Mrs Stace gets on very well with, and we would like to tell – so that Mrs Stace has someone outside of family to talk to.  We haven’t so far as she is known as ‘Radio ’ due to her ability to keep things to herself (last night’s conversation a perfect case in point).  After last night I guess there is another reason why she won’t be told…

After all that has gone well in the last few weeks, this was a real confidence killer...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Zombiefication

If that is a word... It pretty much describes most of my week though.

I know why I was so exhausted on Monday (or at least I think the appointment at the gender clinic is the reason why I was so exhausted on Monday). But it has continued all week...

I don't know if Mrs Stace and I have been on the verge of coming down with something or not but we we both feeling off all week.  A bit of aching, extreme listlessness and just wanting to sleep.

Coming home on Wednesday I had plans to go for a run, but was that exhausted that I just could not get myself into gear enough to go out.  Traffic jams on the way home didn't help (90 minutes to drive home instead of 45 when you are shattered does not help!) but I don't want to use that as an excuse.  I was just not motivated to get changed and go running...

I have spent a couple of hours in front of the Kinect that I borrowed from a friend.  It's an amazing piece of kit - it doesn't capture you perfectly, but it does work very well.  It's about half as effective as running for burning calories (but then the games that my friend has are the mini game type ones that have as much time between games as moving).  If end up buying one then we will have to get some real exercise games that allow you to work out continually for 30 minutes or more.  I am not planning on swapping running for the Kinect, but if it is 'enough' then it would be nice to do it when the weather is less than clement.

Anyway...  It's now weekend and I seem to have woken up a little.  I managed to sleep in a little later than normal (8am am opposed to 6:45 that seems to be my normal weekend wake up time) and feel quite refreshed.

Let's hope that I manage to stay this way for the rest of the weekend!  I need it - I want to get back on track for my running (as in just doing it!), catch up a little on work that I have missed due to the zombiefication, and I need to start cleaning the house in preparation for my parents coming to visit!  At present the spare bed is being used as an oversized table and there is no room to walk.  I fear that the attic is about to become full to overflowing again...

Right time to hit my route around the lake!

Friday, 20 May 2011

At last, the others in the office know how to speak to me!

I got this from someone at the office.  I thought it was great, and mostly accurate too :)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Second visit to the hospital (and a bit more shopping)

On Monday I went to see my psychologist at he VU for the second time - I can't believe that it's been more than a month before my first visit!

I had decided that I was going to take public transport, both as a step that I think I need to make and because in rush hour I thought it was going to be the easiest way forward.  Right until I looked out of the window and saw how hard it was raining.  Car then.  I can do without turning up soaked to the skin, cold and with make up and hair styling gunk running down my face.

So I manage to park in the correct parking garage this time, rather than getting stuck in the permit holders entrance and turned up in time.

With the subject matter this month is was a very tiring session, thankfully I have a 5 week break before I go back again.

I decided to take advantage of being out as Stacy on the way home.  I want some shoes with a little lower heels that I can walk further in, and saw some lovely ones at Schiphol airport whilst waiting for a train a couple of weeks ago and though that I'd so some shopping as Stace.

That it was at one of the busiest airports in the world added a bit of tension I must admit :)  But there was nothing to worry about - I got my shoes (yay!), and had no problems with anyone.  The shoes are black nubuck Hoegl's, semi open with about a 6cm heel (much short than the 8's I was in ;p) and are *sooooooo* comfortable!

On the way home I stopped at the supermarket to get some milk.  And even had a laugh with the cashier when the guy in front of me took my milk instead of his own (at least he didn't try to take both bottles!)

The two ancillary trips went great, but I was, actually I still am, exhausted from Monday.  Whilst the appointment was not, or didn't seem to be, emotionally draining it was very tiring...

And I am going to try and stop buying shoes now!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The perfect compliments (and a couple of very nice ones!)

There are a few people who I work with that I consider friends as well as colleagues.  Some of these also know about Stacy and have been very supportive over the last 12 months.  I have one colleague who lets me use his flat whenever I need to get changed after work – as I have a real loathing of getting changed at my destination.  I have another one whose wife brought me a selection of makeup back from Mexico and has given me a lot of tips on how to apply it, and links to online tutorials to help hone my skills.

He said that he would like to meet Stacy, and I certainly have nothing against it so we arranged for me to go there for a meal this week.

I had my choice of outfit ready (actually I got the combination as a complete accident due to removing the skin from my shin when changing to the oil on the R6 a few weeks ago and not wanting to wear translucent, skin coloured tights whilst they were red and scabby – but it’s now one of my favourites), got ready after work at my other friends flat and went looking for their house.

I had a fantastic evening, chatting about this that and the other.  A bit of techy chat, a lot of girly chat with his wife (which completely eluded him, sorry for that!) and a lovely, real Mexican meal.  Well almost real – they had ran out of chillies so it was not hot, which is fine by me…

The compliments?

When I first walked in “Wow, if I didn’t know you I wouldn’t have known”.  What more could a girl ask for?  Seeing as I have never enjoyed being the centre of attention it is nice that I don’t stand out…

Then towards the end of the evening I asked how he was coping – he said he was little in shock and speechless when I first arrived.  But that after a while it just became natural talking to me.

Again, that just puts me so at ease – I am just me, I don’t think about how I should be acting when I’m out as Stace (after all having another fa├žade would not help matters any) so it’s nice that someone else sees that I am just me, with no airs.

I got a nice compliment from his wife too – “You’re so pretty!” Whilst that is not as important to me as the first two (I’ve never thought of myself as good looking either in male clothes or as Stacy) it’s always nice to hear.  With my next appointment at the VU next week, and planning on taking public transport for the first time, all three compliments were a wonderful confidence booster :)

Oh, and she noticed that I have lost a lot of weight :)  That’s always nice to hear as well!

And of course the thing that had to go wrong…  His wife complimented me on how well I walked on heels and asked if I had trouble learning (I was in Mrs Stace’s 8cm heels).  I said no, not really I just started walking in them.

And then nearly fell down the stairs outside of their front door when leaving and bounced off of a wall.  Nothing hurt, except maybe my pride a little :) 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Busy, busy, busy...

Life has been unbelievably busy and stressful in the last few weeks!  Ergo, no almost no posts and not that many comments being left.  Sorry…

So what’s been happening in this neck of the woods?  Well, to start with I have been learning a little about myself. I needed to write my life CV for the VU – something that I am sure enough of you out there have also had to do.

I actually thought that it was going to be fairly easy – after all I had to write it 12 months ago for my therapist, I assumed that all I would have to do was add a bit about all (admittedly a lot) that happened in the last 12 months and email it to the team.  As I say, easy.

Only it wasn’t.  Oh, adding the new section was not that much of a problem – it’s a little in list form rather than a description, but it’s easy enough to do.  No, the problem was that a different person wrote the document last year.  Whilst the text is correct and accurate it I can’t imagine writing like that again.  So I spent a long time editing, rewriting and checking the existing text to get it somewhat more akin to what I would write today.  I failed miserably – the only way I could have achieved what I wanted to do was ‘ctrl-a’, ‘delete’ and start again.  Thinking about the amount of time that I spent on the document maybe that is what I should have done…

I sent it earlier this week, but before doing so I checked the document properties.  Ouch, 24 hours total editing time for 18 pages.  Told you I have been busy!

There have also been big changes in my work over the last week or so.  I couldn’t write about them – and as they were causing a lot of what I would have written about I basically didn’t…  But they are now out in the open.  Two things have happened – a change in management structure, and a change in development teams.

The first means that my two bosses who I have told are no longer my bosses.  I have two new ones.  This is going to be a little of the unknown, I have yet to work with my new boss closely – and he is going to be managing both the developers and the innovation teams.  Ideally we should work as one team, but there has always been an atmosphere of ‘us and them’.  I think that having one manager, and one department, will certainly help that – providing it is handled correctly and not handled as an innovation team with a little IT tacked onto the side.

The team changes are due to a promotion of my tech lead developer to team lead of our second development team (how confusing could I make that sentence ;p).  The fact that he accepted that position surprised me, I was not expecting him to want to take a team lead position as he is a real techy, but I do think that he will be great in the job.  Unfortunately it does decimate my team as I lose the person with the most experience.  In order to maintain a pair of balanced team we have been discussing how we are going to reform them.  We have a plan which is going to be discussed with my new boss today.  Fingers crossed that he agrees.

And it has been a time of, as Jenny puts it, ‘long talks’.  My management structure knew what I was going through.  I did that deliberately, as I don’t think that it is a bad idea for them to know.  However, now that they are no longer my managers I have lost that.  I have spoken to my new boss already, and the new team lead, and have an appointment with my bosses boss (which with a flatter structure also happens to be the director of the company) this afternoon.  Update since I first wrote this post...  My other boss has now been told and took it far better than I was expecting...  So I can start to relax again...

My boss, and the other team lead took it extremely well.  The only fly in the ointment was my boss asking why I was so worried, and why would I think that he would not understand.  He wants a chat to ensure that he is not coming across as a macho man that people can’t talk to.  The other team lead was actually quite funny.  We talked, he wasn’t entirely surprised, and came out with the most intriguing sentence I have heard when having these talks. ‘It’s not the strangest thing I have heard in my life’.  I want to know what is! :)

And…  On Tuesday I had dinner with a  friend and his wife so that they could meet Stacy.  But that will get a post if its own :)

Plus...  I have just noticed that this is my 200th post...  I had not really expected to be able to keep up the writing for this long when I started.  Apologies for the rubbish I have inflicted on the world in that time :)

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Sometimes it's the simple things...

Just a really quick post... (I've been writing and proof reading my Live CV for the last week and I need to turn off this screen!)

Today was therapy day - and there was a high and a low...

The low was when turning up in Amsterdam.  My confidence has been quite high recently - and today was thankfully no exception.  Until I arrived and parked the car.  The street was very busy and I totally screwed up the parallel parking (and I thought I was improving there as well - in Hilversum I got it into a spot with no problems whatsoever!).  I had seen when lining up for parking that I was next to a block of flats, and there were a few tracksuited, baseball wearing caps and working on a scooter engine.  I panicked a little at that point - which really annoyed me as I was fine until that point and there was no reason to panic!

I eventually got the car into the fairly massive (certainly for Amsterdam!) spot, took some deep breaths and got out of the car.  Shoulders back, head high and pretended I had the confidence like I did when I was just staring this path.  In the end everything went fine and I just should not have worried!  Quite annoyed with myself...

The good!  The very good!

As Mrs Stace was working in the office today I picked her up at the train station to save her catching the bus home.  We had planned on pasta, but had forgotten the mushrooms.  So we went shopping.  Together, me as Stacy.  And she was less nervous than I was!  She even suggested our local supermarket to save wasting money on parking in the town centre.  A very successful trip, no looks and we got the mushrooms we were looking for.

And Mrs Stace was also fine.

A very good end to the day!  And from such a simple thing as buying a pack of mushrooms!

Stace