Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Pleasantly Surprised...

I was reading a technology news site today and came across a gutter press story about a Belgian man who found out that his wife was cheating on him.

It turned out that she is also transsexual, something that she didn't tell him.

The story is not a good read, and really is gutter press. But I was drawn to the comments section...

Against my expectations the comments there were actually very reasonable and thought out.  For the most part, there are of course the obligatory Neanderthals in there. 

I was pleasantly surprised...

You can find the story here, the link to the comments is at the bottom.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

That would certainly help...

I just had a wonderful off the cuff complement from a colleague who works in a different department.

I was microwaving milk for my coffee, and standing eating morning ontbijtkoek (sorry, I have no what it is in English, kind of a spiced cake) and she walked up and said (my poor translation coming up, sorry!):

I think it's fantastic that you still radiate happiness, since the first day of your transformation you have looked so happy it's been wonderful.  And that you still do now, congratulations!

Considering my last post this was such a welcome compliment, I have such a smile on my face at the moment :)

Sunday, 25 November 2012

If someone sees my self-confidence can you tell her I’ve been looking for her?

 I can’t wait for next week to start…

Considering how good my week has been in most respects, the only thing that I remember is how awful I have felt myself… And it’s not fun.

I am going to stick with blaming the extra testosterone for now I think, as it’s still the only change in my life in the last week, and I can imagine that it’s not a case of taking two tablets a day instantly going to back the old levels.  That the remaining testosterone has to be worked out of my system first.

So what was / is so wrong?  I have stopped feeling myself, and it has scared me terribly. I have been panicking again when leaving the house. I’ve started to feel that people are staring at me.

And, hopefully that is also the cause, I have lost myself in the mirror again. After being so happy at finding myself in the mirror losing it again was just plain scary.  It is, I am pleased to add, starting to come back again – I saw me when drying my hair after my shower this afternoon.

My concentration at work has been terrible this week as well.  The rush things where you don’t have time to think are fine, but as soon as they are done I am struggling to pick up the next thing on my list when it is not urgent.

Who would have thought that 50mg per day less androcur would cause so many problems?

After being tipped off for the documentary about the transsexual beauty queen that was on BBC I ended up seeing it yesterday.  And spent an hour choking back tears trying not to cry.  I failed.

You see whilst I have never wanted to take part in a beauty pageant – or breast augmentation – the rest of her story rang so true for me.  How I felt when I was 4 or 5.  How I felt when puberty hit and I knew what the outcome would be.  I started to wonder how different my life would have been if I had had the nerve to have said something to my parents when I was that age.  Actually, that has been on my mind a lot in the last week (also down to the testosterone maybe?).  Would I have loved to have grown up a girl and into a young woman?  Oh my, yes! Am I glad that I am at least the woman I need to be at 36? Again, oh my, yes! Would I be prepared to have forgone my life to date to have done it earlier?  No.  Really, really not.  But it is a paradox that has also had me in tears this week when I was discussing it with my mum on the phone.

The one sentence that really got me going is when she was in tears saying, “I just don’t want people to laugh at me.”  I well up typing it. Over the last week it’s been plaguing me again, it had stopped months ago, and it isn’t a welcome return as you can imagine. It’s something that really plagued me when I first stepped into the work as Stacy.  Hopefully it’s going to die down again now.

All in all though I was really impressed with the documentary.  For once I didn’t see the sensationalism UK documentary, I saw a fly on the wall documentary.  It’s a big difference between Holland and the UK – here most documentaries here are very fairly done, documenting the journey that a person is making.  Most of the ones that I see in the UK always seem to have an angle, and not just on transsexuals, but other subjects too.

Right, let’s try an end on something that is making me happy…

After about a month of exercise I am now up to 8.4km per run, and doing it at 9.4kmph. And running 5 times in two weeks. I used to do the 5km Hilversum run for the company I work for, this year I was not ready to be seen sweaty and disheveled by so many people so I didn’t take part.  I’m thinking that next year I may do the 10KM though.  If I am up to 8.4 now then by April I should be ready for a 10km competition J

That said today’s run was really hard, and I can’t say that I enjoyed most of it, but the satisfaction of getting to the end certainly made it worth it!  It was cold, grey, windy and miserable.  But with headphones on my ears (bringing triple benefits of music, audio coaching for the run and keeping my ears warm and out of the wind!) and with layers on to keep warm at the start I set off!

For most of the run the wind was tempered somewhat by the houses as I run through the neighborhood.  In fact the only road where the wind was channeled was behind me, and it meant that I had to try and stop myself being pushed forward too much.  But then at the end I ran past a lake and suddenly I’m being blown sideways, my feet are being blown into each other almost tripping me up.  Then, for the last stretch (had to be didn’t it) my heart beat was up to 166bpm and I was barely moving.  Each time both feet were off of the ground I stopped and almost went backwards.  I was so happy when I got home! J

Right, relax then time to make pizza!  Mrs Stace is going out with a fiend this evening and as they are in a bit of a rush we are making some pizzas for Sunday dinner.  One chicken pesto, one ham and mushroom and one creamy bacon!

Sorry for the randomness of the post, but it was actually great to write (and was the original reason for starting the blog!)

Hmm, I think I almost see someone who has been missing for a week now, hopefully she’s coming back to stay! J

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Hmmm... That wasn't in my plan...

A little more than a week after my very, very happy post about the VU and I was back there again in not so happy circumstances.

The endocrinologist asked me how I was feeling last time and I said I was tired, but wasn't sure if it was just the stress from work at the moment.  He looked at my last blood test and said that  my testosterone was very low, in fact it was to low to measure, and that could be a cause and halved my androcur.

Over the last 9 days though I have been getting more and more stressed, and I've been so irritable and argumentative at times that I just thought something wasn't going well. I hadn't felt that way for quite some time, and didn't like the me that I was when I was feeling like that.

Last night I was travelling in rush hour traffic and at the end of the journey I was so stressed I should have been called Eric :)  Even sitting still in the dark car when I reached my destination for 5 minutes doing a breathing exercise did nothing to help, and I went in a instead used 4 glasses of wine.  Not good.

And this morning I was climbing the walls in the office even before my first cup of coffee - even two of my colleagues noticed and asked what was wrong.  The only thing I could think of, and the one I didn't want to blame as I thought it sounded stupid, was the change to the medication.

But...  I called the VU and they managed to get me an appointment with the endocrinologist on the same day (something that I was not expecting).  I went in this afternoon, told her what was going on with me.  She asked about some other symptoms (and guessed the ones I had correctly) told me I wasn't being stupid for getting an appointment and put me back on my old dose.

So, as of tomorrow I'm back on two tablets twice a day - I just hope they don't take too long to kick in again!

Not on my plan of things for today! I had to cancel and move meetings and appointments with my boss to make the appointment at the VU, but I guess it will be worth it! Hopefully my work will pick again as well, that has suffered the last couple of days :(

But...  Always end on a high note if you can.  When the guys asked me this morning what was wrong and I told them what I thought it was and how I was feeling one said 'Yup, testosterone will do that too you!"

"Well, you can bloody keep it then!"

So the other answered: "Hey, hey!!!!! Calm down - chill honey bunny!"  It made me laugh anyway, which I needed at the time :)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Older, Wiser… Or just less Testosterone?

I’ve always been really careful about what to attribute to hormones, or rather changes in hormonal levels.  When I get tired I try to push through it and think about stress levels (even though the Endocrinologist disagreed and did say testosterone levels that are not measurable can do that to a person…) and whether I may have been pushing myself too hard (also quite likely).

Since starting on hormones I have been more emotional, that much I can’t deny, but I have not had any rollercoaster rides.

And yet…  Something happened this week to make me question whether they could be having an effect.

Grand Theft Auto V is due for release next year.  I have brought every installment since GTA III, and I find it quite good fun.  I know that there are lots of thoughts about whether violent computer games should be allowed, and my opinion is that as long as the age on the game is stuck to then I have no issues – never after playing have I felt the need to put it into real life (just the same as whenever I played cops and robbers as children we never felt the need to go out and hold up the corner shop afterwards).  If parents choose to buy their 6 year old children 18 games then the parents are at fault, not the games makers.

But I digress…

There was a trailer for GTA V this week, and I was looking forward to it.  But…  After watching the trailer I can say that I won’t be buying the game – I was actually shocked and almost turned the video off half way through.  The reason was one scene that just didn’t seem cartoony computer game violence and just came across as so real that it’s something I don’t want to do for fun.

And there is my question.  Am I older, and so not growing out of those types of games?  I am hesitant to say wiser, as I won’t complain if anyone else buys it (I know half of the office will have it on pre-order – good for them J).  Or is it down to a change in hormones, I’m wondering?

I’m really not sure…

Mrs Stace did at least joke that she saw one advantage for the process though…

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Questions about myself

I was catching up on blogs over the weekend and I found this from Lynn.  She has kindly asked for me to provide some answers as well. I thought it sounded interesting, and as I was struggling for a topic today I did it straight away!  Sorry if they are long winded J

AWARENESS: When did you first feel trans? How did it make you feel? Did you embrace or run from it?
I want to say I knew I should have been a girl right from my earliest memories. But I’m not sure that saying I should have been a girl is the right way to put it.  I so desperately wanted to be a girl, and I wished for it so badly, and was always so disappointed when nothing happened (hey I was very young, you can believe in wishes at that time!).  I never did understand why I wasn’t one throughout my childhood.

Did I embrace it?  That is a tough one to answer.  When playing on my own I was always the girl I wanted to be, and when playing with my female cousins I never complained about playing with their dolls and toys.

Me and my female cousins also put on plays for the adults (as kids do) and I always made sure that I dressed up as a girl when we did.

I had a few girlfriends when young (which the adults thought was ever so cute), and spent time after school with them baking with their mothers or playing with them whilst on holiay.  My male friends thought it was funny and made fun of me for it, though at that time I didn’t care.

But when playing at home in the same room as my parents, or with friends or my brother I hid it as well as I could.

Does that count as both embracing and running?  I’m not sure.

ADOLESCENT COPING: How did you cope with growing up? What about puberty? How was school, or teenage life?
People say that they would love to go back their teenage years.  I really, really wouldn’t.  It was hell – from the bullying at and after school to the fact that I was growing up and going through puberty which brought home the fact that I was going to lose the frame that I had and become man.  When my shoe size went above 5 (and yes, I know now that I have it very lucky with my frame – but at the time…) and my legs started to get quite hairy I really got upset over it.

I didn’t feel a connection with many people and outside of a small group of friends became somewhat of a loner. I started to get really emotional about things (which didn’t help the bullying obviously, it was somewhat of a game to see just how much they could make me cry).  The teachers in my school were zero help; they just told me man up and ignore the bullying and stop crying. Until I did something back to the bullies and then I was again told I should just ignore them and punished for rising to them.

I do not have pleasant memories of that school.

My parents were great, but really didn’t get the fact that I was crying so much and, for my own sake, I really did need to stop crying because it’s something that boys just don’t do.  But, they gave me a huge amount of support through school, both for academic things (ensuring I studied when I should and that I took time out when I should) and when I was bullied.  The teachers may have ignored it completely but they never did, and did their best to stop it.

As for the dressing, well whilst I knew something was wrong all of my life, it was not until I was a teenager that I started to dress (except for the play clothes as a youngster).  Quite how it can feel so right, and yet so guilty at the same time is strange.

EARLY LIFE/ UNIVERSITY / COLLEGE: Having grown up - at least physically, how was life? Did you fit in or fall out? Did you stay home, work away or go to University, college or work?
I think that growing up where I did, and the crap I had to deal with at school actually helped me here.  I was discussing it with an old friend recently.  Where I grew up nothing was expected of anyone.  You got some dead end job, or you started stealing.  That was the choice, and not one that I was prepared to accept.  By the time I was 15 I had decided that, screw it, I was going to get out of there.  And the only way to do it was to study and get a nice job. This also didn’t help with the bullying of course.  When you turn down joy riding to study you get called lots of names, when you go to 6th form and university people start telling you that you have ideas above your station and that you think you are too good for where you came from. Looking back…  Yes, I had ideas above my station I was not going to sell myself short just because people expected it!

I think one of the most shocking things is that some family members (not, I hasten to add my parents who supported me all the way) thought the same thing about me – for daring to want to go to university and study for decent job.

And I think the same thing occurred to me for the fact that I was trans.  Whilst I did not embrace it during my early adult life I did decide that it was not going to get in the way of trying to do well.  It made things harder, but it was just something I was going to have to deal with. (That would come back to bite me in my thirties…)

But…  The school I went to did not prepare me well for college and uni.  As nothing was expected from the students nothing was really done for those who wanted to try – this even came back in the Ofsted reports for the school, in a positive light no less!  Paraphrased: the standard of results for the school is poor – but considering the area that sends the pupils, nothing more could be expected and it is doing its best.  As an ex-pupil I would like to disagree. My math background in math made physics A level a struggle (I barely passed that exam – I got the concepts, but could not prove any of the equations).  And the first year of computing was not simple as the rest of the class had been taught at school, and I only had what I had taught myself at home (on a C64 – in the 90’s not a good choice of development machine!)

I made it through 6th form with a few, but not many, friends, and then went on to uni.  Again, anything where I just needed to understand the concepts I had no problem with (programming, problem solving, database design etc) but those things that needed good math skills (advanced math, data communications – calculating entropy etc) I struggled with.  My results list looks like it’s from two different people.  I either got very high marks or barely scrapped a pass, but nothing in between. At university I started the pattern for friends that I have now. Lots of acquaintances, and I get on with most people, but not many close friends.

I went to university at home, as it was a choice of having my own transport and living with my parents, or selling the car and renting a student flat elsewhere.  It’s a poor reason to pick a university, but I’ll be honest I have never regretted the decision.

CAREER: What you do and how you think it has shaped you (for better or worse). Is there something you long to do?
I studied Information Technology at university.  A mixture of programming (I wouldn’t say software engineering as that covers different concepts and levels of knowledge), database design, network and communication studies and micro-architecture. On top of this professional studies were also included.  I decided that this was much more my personality than the software engineering course itself – as it was described by students during our visit to the uni whilst in the decision process: IT is for those who like daylight, and software engineering is for those who like basements and pizza – by a software engineering student.

Whilst in my sandwich year I worked for a production control company – converting their dos system to windows. Things went so well that when I returned to uni I stayed on part time, and when I finished uni I went to work for them full time.  It was a great company and I was working directly for the MD.

After 6 months I got a job offer in Holland and jumped at it – also a programmer, but in a job that I quickly realized I could mold as I wanted to.  Take on responsibilities that look interesting and try to solve issues.

It’s something I kept in all of my jobs since, and as a result I have gone from senior developer in my current company to team lead / project manager / Scrum champion.

Is there something that I long to do? I would love to open my own bakery or restaurant.  But seeing as I cook as a hobby and not as a job I don’t see it every happening…  At least this way I keep it fun!
RELATIONSHIPS: Single, married, long term relationship, divorced, happy to be single? How is family life?
Married for 8 years now, and loving it!

A blind date in 2000, and a week later a day walking around Amsterdam chatting and leading to living together and getting married. She knew about my dressing from early on living with each other, but I lied to her about the why.  And yes I do feel as guilty as hell about that.

Life is still good, and we are learning what our new relationship is.  Who knows what the future holds, but I am not as concerned as I was two years ago.

COMING OUT: Have you? Would you? If so, how was it? If not, why not?
Until three years ago I would never have said that I would come out.  But a few panic attacks and a week recovering from valium put paid to that.

I came out to a colleague first.  He was very understanding and sent me a text the same day. He gave me a lot of help in the weeks that followed trying to keep me calm.

Then there was Mrs Stace.  I was about to have another panic attack and I knew the only way to stop it was to speak to her. 11pm on a Sunday evening is not the time to come out to your wife.  We talked all night and the next day we were both a wreck at work the next week.

She made me go to the doctor and the rest as they say is history.

I came out in the office the day before I started to live full time as Stacy, the reactions were amazing, I got lots of support that day, and on all of the days since. There were one or two people who had issues, but they were never nasty to me, they just didn’t know how to react around me.

And family… My family has been amazing as well.  My parents were adamant that I was not transsexual when I first told them – but they were in shock. After thinking it though, and definitely after seeing the real me for the first time, they stopped calling me by my male name in private and started asking if they could send daughter cards for birthdays and Christmas.

I don’t think that I could have asked for more from people.

THE WAY FORWARD: What’s next for you? What are your hopes - trans, or otherwise?

Well, after the appointment at the VU this week next on the list, trans wise, is to prepare for the operation.  I am not looking forward to the pre-work there…

On the family front it’s just to try and continue figuring out my new relationship with Mrs Stace and to try and continue enjoying life.

On the work front it’s to try and get the best I can from using Scrum in the office, and to try and take my career to the next step in the coming years.

WORDS OF WISDOM: Anything you’d like to share to a younger you or to other trans people?
To a younger me… Stop feeling ashamed of yourself.  It’ll come good in the end, and you know what?  It’s possibly even better for the trials of youth!  Never give up, never stop trying. You are going to be the person that you should have always been. Not at the right time, but then who is to say what the right time is.

You are going to have the most amazing spouse!  Make sure that you tell her that J

Oh, and sorry – by your mid-thirties you are still going to be lost by the more complex advanced math.  Sorry.

To other trans people…  Don’t give up, and don’t let it run your lives for you.

Be the real you that you are, and please note the real!

There are no wrongs and right here as long as you are true to yourself. Please, please do not think that you have to act in a certain way – you do not need to act how you think people expect women, or men, to act. You will only lose yourself this way and end up hiding behind a façade even bigger than before and people will never know the real you.

Try not to feel too sorry for yourself, you’ll be doing a disservice to yourself if you do.  Life sucks, work with what you can and do what you want to do!  You’ll be happier for it!


Lynn passed these questions on to 7 other people, I haven’t really thought about who to ask to take up the mantle…  I’ll come back to that…

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

24 little hours :)

You know what…  24 hours ago I was ready to do an absolute rant of a post about the uselessness of the UK government agencies, along with a comment of how I can’t wait until I can just get a Dutch passport and leave the entire festering mess behind me.  J

But I won’t, because I have had such an afternoon that my mood has lifted to a much, much better place.  And I am probably healthier for it too.  Oh, the post will come – maybe I’ll have even calmed down enough to downgrade it from rant to just an outpouring of frustration; but not today!

So what has happened to make my mood life so much?  An afternoon in the hospital is what.  Today was my three monthly meeting with the gender team at the hospital.  Plus, as an added treat, I needed to have a bone density test (I think I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago).

Not knowing where the radiology department is I got there really early in case I could not find it.  Erm..  Right next to the entrance.  Oh well, I went to the radiology reception an hour earlier than I should have been there, told the receptionist that I was very early, just wanted to make sure that I knew where I needed to be and that I would grab a coffee in the café and come back in an hour.  No, no – go through to waiting room R2 and we’ll fetch you from there.

OK, I got out my e-reader (love paper books in home, love the e-reader for on the move!) and settled down to an hour or more wait – after all what is the chance of the appointments staying on schedule.

About 10 minutes later I was called in.  Told what I needed to remove, and what I could keep on and then went into the x-ray room.  It was so not what I was expecting.  Instead of the large and scary piece of kit hanging from the ceiling there was a table that looked as though it came from the sick bay in Star Trek.  A flat bed, with an arm coming from one side that could move up and down the bed.

The radiologist measured me (I’m shrinking!  A few months ago I was 176cm, now 175.5!  I always thought I was 178!) and weighed me (no you don’t get to know what!) and at least told me that I have a very healthy weight in the middle of the range (but still at least 5KG more than I want to be!).

I asked if it was going to hurt, making myself sound like a fool.  I could see what the machine was and I could figure out how much it was going to hurt.  Oh well.  She laughed and told me that it I wouldn’t feel a thing (I didn’t) and that all I had to do was lie on the table and it would be done quickly (it was).  You do have to lie in some interesting positions though J

She told me why it was being done, to check that I have no issues with my bones already, and to give them a baseline and I would be called back for another in a couple of years.  If there was any decalcification then I would probably be put on supplements to put the calcium back.  She was really friendly, wished me luck for the future and gave me a wonderful compliment as I left J

One appointment down, three to go!

The next was with my psychologist at the clinic. Again, I was about an hour early and she was surprised to see me there, asking if I did not have an appointment for a bone density test before I should be at the clinic’s reception.  I told her that I had had it already, and that I was very early – I would go to the café for a drink and come back in an hour.  She said that she did not expect her next appointment to take a full hour and to come back in 30 minutes or so.  So I took a walk to the new café at the VU hospital and enjoyed a relaxing 30 minutes reading an awful novel (kind of like watching some bad films; it’s entertainment without having to think too hard!) and drinking quite an acceptable cappuccino. After the 30 minutes I paid the waitress (yup, service in a hospital café!) and went back to the clinics reception.

The appointment with the therapist went brilliantly!  To be fair, except for the issues with the British government (which, naturally, I told her about) things are going well.  After nearly a year it’s so obviously the right decision and I feel so much better for it.  I said that I should have done it a long time ago, but then I wouldn’t be me now so who knows…

At the end of the appointment she said that as it was nearly a year since going full time it would be our last official appointment, that as I was obviously doing so well and that it really is the right thing that in the December team meeting my case would be brought up and there was no doubt in her mind about whether I should continue in the process.  As long as I wanted to.

That is where it gets interesting (skip a bit, of course I want to continue).  I have spent my whole life looking in a mirror and knowing the person looking back at me is me.  Obviously.  But  I have never recognized the person in the mirror.  Until a few months ago, when I started to occasionally, and now most of the time.  I cannot say how weird it feels to actually recognize the reflection for the first time.  Shocking, intense, amazing.  I’m still getting used to it! J When checking myself before leaving the house I see myself in the mirror, not just checking that a reflection is presentable.

And yet…  There are times when you have to get undressed.  And then it’s all a mismatch again and…  I don’t know how to describe it.  It’s kind of like it’s half me.  But, that is the long version of ”Yes, I want to continue!”  I am terrified.  Really.  The thought of another operation, and I think maybe the longest one I have had with possibly the most possibly complications.  Of the recovery time. Of the thought of being under anesthetic again.

Obviously she understood why I was scared and said that it’s understandable J

As I said to her, at the moment I really feel – as I posted a few weeks ago – that I’m reaching the end of a phase.  I only have two appointments with my therapist (outside of the gender clinic) before we stop seeing each other, inside the clinic I have no more official appointments for therapy.  I can make them when I go to see the endocrinologist I can ask for a 15 minute appointment if I want, but she does not need to see me again for the process. My last appointment with the speech therapist is on Thursday – after 11 months of appointments she feels that I am perfectly fine to continue without her. And I should be on the waiting list as of Thursday.

Her comment was quite simple.  It is. Time to live life!

Then endocrinologist tool a look at my last blood test and apparently it was so good that he didn’t need more blood this time (I may have said ‘yea’ at that point ;p) and that everything was looking good.  I said that I was feeling a little tired, but that I was stressed with work at this time of year. He said that as my testosterone was not measurable since March it could be that, and as it is so low I can half my anti-androgen tablets and see what difference that makes.  So we’ll find out.  He also commented on my blood pressure.  I have white coat syndrome.  I see the blood pressure test and I feel my heart rate go through the roof!  It was lower this time than last time (previously 175 over something, and this time 155 over 95) but he is concerned.  When he checks the results of the bone density test (if I hear nothing in the next two weeks then everything is fine) he is going to send a  note to my GP asking her to keep a check me over the coming months.

So…  Get my next three months of hormones in the hospital chemists, and then drive home.

And… In tears – good tears.  After the last three years I was just so…  I don’t know.  Happy (certainly, I was walking through the hospital like the Cheshire cat!), relieved that everything has gone so well so far.  I don’t know.  But it came flooding out whilst driving home!

Now I’m here, with Mrs Stace on the sofa (feeling a little guilty, this is not easy for her and my joy is not hers obviously) drinking an exceedingly good South African Shiraz and relaxing!


Sorry for the long post, it got away from me a little – but feeling this good I had to get it out today whilst it’s still burning its way across my brain!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

One hour and thirty eight minutes

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was getting into a spin about a couple of things that I had to do, mainly contacting a friend who I had lost contact with and just got a number for and the other being the bone density test that I have to have to give my doctors a baseline (in Holland they do a test every 5 years to check that I am not losing bone density due to the hormones).

Well, the bone density test is on Tuesday afternoon, I’m still nervous – but have done lots of research online about what it is and how it is done.  It sounds painless – but crossing x-rays through my body just sounds wrong J  As a child I had a lot of x-rays and being a geek I did a lot of looking through encyclopedias and looking through books in the library (wow, remember the days before the Internet when you had to do that and couldn’t just put a search string into Google?) and to be honest I wasn’t happy with what I found.  They are not pleasant things, and it’s something that has a yearly limit.  Which in my at the time underage mind turned into you should avoid if at all possible.

So, I’ll be happy when it’s done and the thought of the buzz that the x-ray generator makes when the power is put through it is in the past again…  Fingers crossed for the result, too.

The other, the phone call.  I tried calling him over the last couple of week and always got his answer machine (some things don’t change – he was always difficult to contact by phone J).  In the end I decided to do something that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with, I decided to use the only other way of communicating with him that I had available.  Facebook.  I’m trying to think of a less suitable way to tell someone this information, and to be honest I’m kind of coming up blank…  But, it worked. He answered my message and we spent the rest of the evening passing messages backwards and forwards.  Mrs Stace commented that after eight years of not talking to each other we then spent the entire evening sending Facebook messages.

I got his house number and we arranged to chat last night.  It was great – we had great and open talk about my situation, about life in general on both sides, about other friends that I have lost contact with and reminiscing about our time in school.

He was really open about how he was taking it, and it turns out that after we lost contact he worked on the urology ward at the local hospital with Mr Terry and Mr Thomas. And so probably knows more about the next step of the process than I do.  He was saying that when he found out he accepted it straight away – after all that is the right thing to do (his words). He spent the next few nights thinking about it and trying to work out what must have been going on in my head and trying to figure things out and…  Couldn’t.  As he said it’s just something which he has no sphere of experience, and the only thing he can do is offer support in whatever I do.  I don’t think you can ask for anything more can you?  I can quite imagine that if you haven’t spent your whole life trying to deal with the constant thoughts in your head it must be really difficult to try and understand.  I find that a very open and fair comment, and was pleased that he was able to be so open with me.

He also surprised me in being one of the few people not to say “But you work with computers and ride motorbikes!”  I really don’t know why so many people I know think that women can’t enjoy working with computers or riding fast bikes…

All in all it was a wonderful call and we stayed chatting for 1 hour 38 minutes. It is a great weight off of my shoulders.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The coffee, the witch and the kitchen cupboard

Another week of 2012 behind us, and it’s flew past.

Possibly due to the amount of caffeine that I have been drinking this week.  You see one of the founders of the company has not been very present for the last few months, and he was feeling that he has lost touch with the people that work here.

His solution was fantastic.  He hired an espresso machine from a café and learnt how to be a barista. So on Monday morning I had, in place of my usual espresso and warmed milk, a real cappuccino. Handmade, using full fat milk and with a heart on the top (he wanted to do a tulip – this is Holland after all – but never quite managed to get those working). It has not helped my desire to lose weight.  I think it contributed to putting on ½ pound to be honest!

Now…  I love coffee (I know, as an English woman I should love tea – but no…  Coffee, coffee, coffee!) and I found it very hard not to keep going back. And so… I think on Monday I drank 7 or 8 in the office (plus the one I had before I left home). And that continued each day I worked in the office.  And, yes, I was climbing the walls J

After work I had to go and order a new sticker for our car.  We are taking a trip to a German Christmas market and the cost of the train was about triple that of the car.  But…  You have to prove that your car does not pollute the inner city.  Thankfully our car fulfils the requirements, but you have to prove it.  So I took a trip to the ANWB (Dutch AA / AAA depending on whether you are in the UK or America J) to order the sticker, and whilst I was there I thought it was an idea to get my details updated on their system (one of the ones I had forgot).

We got the paperwork for the sticker organised, and then we started with the details.  She asked what needed changing and I told her ‘De heer’ needs to be ‘Mevrouw’.  She commented that it was an unusual situation, I said yes assuming she meant the whole transitioning thing, but no.  “I’m terribly sorry, I have no idea how this mistake could get into the system.” I feel really guilty for not explaining what the issue was, but I couldn’t pull myself to do it…

Tuesday I was working from home, as the kitchen fitters were coming for the third attempt at doing it right (they didn’t).  That was also an interesting day.  In our home there are enough clues as to my past (not least the rather large wedding photo on the Piano that the fitter had commented on during his last visit when Mrs Stace was working from home).  So that fact that he was shocked when he opened the door, asked if I was the sister and got told, “No, I’m the partner.”  But for some reason he did not make the connection.  He was a very chatty person, and I must admit that whilst I agree with Jemmy’s assertion that we all have our history and there is no need to reinvent it.  But, at the same time I don’t feel the need to out myself to someone coming into my house for one afternoon.  A few questions were a little strained because I did not want to lie, but at the same time I did not want to tell the truth.  It was definitely an interesting afternoon.  Annoying too, with the fact that the third replacement cabinet was still broken meaning he has to come back again.

Wednesday was Halloween and I had a wonderful time (see my previous post)!  I know that it’s not really a Dutch tradition, but it was great how people reacted, and how many people want to be involved next year – it could be quite big...  The director making coffee even tried making a witches head in the foam rather than the heart (it wasn’t bad either!).

The strangest part was probably the fact that we are in a really stressful time at the moment. And in one of my most serious meetings I was sitting there in my witch costume, including hat, discussing IT resourcing for the project and technical limitations. Someone commented that it was strange – everyone acing normally, and yet occasionally realising something was odd.

In the evening I went to visit a couple of friends of mine, still as the witch, and their poor youngest daughter was terrified!  She came running to the door, saw the hat and then took three steps backwards…  Their eldest just laughed and thought it was funny – but I had to remove the hat and give it to the youngest before she would come near me J  It was a lovely evening, I always enjoy going to visit them and this time was no exception. My friend took a lovely photo of me going through an animal album that the girls are collecting at the moment.

And then yesterday was therapy day again.  It’s been a couple of months since the last time and seeing as everything is going well I only expect another couple of visits before I stop.  I see the point, I am getting prepared for the next steps, but I’m not needing the help as I did 30 months ago when I started.

It was a good chat, and he gave me some useful pointers and made me think about the short, medium and long term future.  And pointed out some home truths about something that was bothering me.  Basically pointing out that it is not something to be concerned about. Sorry a bit cryptic – but as I am not sure who reads this it’s all there is going to be J

Right! That’s already too long so I will stop there.  Time to get backing for Mrs Stace’s birthday – Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate New York Cheesecake.  Yum!