Sunday, 26 May 2013
So what have I been up to recently apart from making myself nauseated? Well, in the last few weeks I have been running flat out. Although it has been a bank holiday extravaganza here over the last few weeks it's just been too busy to see it as relaxing.
Firstly there was making the cheesecake in the middle of the week:
It's my take on a Hummingbird Bakery cheesecake - half vanilla, half chocolate and then swirl them together to try and get a marble effect. Not bad for a first attempt, but my next one will be better!
It tasted lovely, but we ate too much of it!
Then there was baby sitting (including me falling down the stairs). Cooking for more people than normal which I love, but stresses me out beyond belief. Seeing other people (again great, but tiring) and last week it was my father in laws birthday and so we spent the day there (eating too much again).
In fact eating too much has featured in the last week as well. birthday cakes, lovely food made by our cook in the office and then on Friday someone suggested getting in some snack bar food for a change. This turned into kebabs, which I enjoyed at the time, but didn't sit well for the rest of the day and probably had as many calories in it as I need in an entire day...
I've found a new workout on the Xbox that just about killed me last week as well. 40 minutes and 400 calories of exercise to compliment my 45 to 70 minute runs that I do three times a week.
And with all of that working out I still weigh exactly the same as 76 days ago when I last weighed myself. Still in the 23 BMI range, so not bad, but all of that work and I am not down to the 22 range. Damn! ;p
But still with everything that is gong on we decided this week to do nothing at the weekend (outside of working out and basic house keeping). And for once we managed to do what we set out to do :) On Friday whilst shopping I saw E.T. on BluRay for 10 euros. I loved that film when I was younger and so could not possibly miss the chance and got it.
That is what we watched yesterday afternoon. It has been remastered beautifully - so sharp and with wonderful colours, and the sound was awesome (I like my sound system ;p).
And both Mrs Stace and I were in tears at the end. It turns out I still love that film, and buying it was a great idea!
So, time for me to make lunch and then do nothing again, except for figure out what I am going to relax to this afternoon. Ahhhhhhhh.............
But something to leave with you. After I went running this morning I got my self a double cappuccino and it reflects my weekend to date.
Hope you all had just as good weekends!
No, this is to do with professional presentations. When you have to stand up in front of people and try and get them as interested in your topic as you are.
I hate them. Or rather, I'm terrified of them! Literally. When I have to present to people I work with daily I get nauseated, and stand with shaking legs and generally don't feel well.
When it is with people I don't know those symptoms start days before, and I end up having to live on Valerian to get my nerves under control. It really destroys me for the days leading up to, and a few hours after, giving an important presentation.
And so, when my company offered the chance of presentation training to the entire company I was one of the ones that signed up. Or, actually, I turned it down saying to the guy organising it that before I do the training to get my presentation skills improved I needed to first get the nerves under control so that I could actually dare to stand in front of the group.
He came to visit me afterwards and told me that actually getting your nerves under control was part of the process that they wanted to tackle and so I should join the training.
First of all there was a meeting with the people interesting along with the guy organising it, the founder and director, and the finance director to see what people were hoping to get out of the training. I was the last to go and told them about my nerves, and about what happened the last time I had a company wide presentation to do over our release process. And in telling the storey all of the feelings came back in droves. I was on the verge of tears by the time I finished it. But it was good to get an understanding of the real problems that I have with doing this.
And seeing as it is going to be more and more a part of my job if I wish to take my career further then it's a good idea to get it under control!
So this week we had the first real training session. We had an external presentation trainer come in and had us go through a few exercises before having to do a 1 minute presentation to the group. Gulp.
But I got through it,and I think that I managed to do enough eye contact and kept it on track. I could barely stand with the shakes in my knees,but I got through it.
And apparently I did it quite well. I projected well enough, I used enough intonation to make it interesting and show my feelings when I talked. What I did wrong was stood with too much weight on one leg, rather than trying to have a solid stance (something that my physiotherapist all told me about - it's one of the reasons I have painful knees...) and when I get nervous I make my arm movements too big. Movement is good, but you should keep it under control :)
After everyone in the group went, and we did another couple of exercises there was the chance for a few of us to do another presentation. Due to time limits not everyone could do it, just 5 of us. My hand went straight up. Not that I was looking forward to it, but I know that the only way to do this is to actually do it!
The second presentation was made easier by the subject. A key. As in you have one minute to tell a story about a key. I chose the ignition key for the Spitfire. Though I kept that to myself for the first 30 seconds, more telling the life that the key had had from 1979 to 1999 when I got it. Then I said that I bought the car that was attached to it - what I did with it and what I hope to do with it in the future. Having something that I was so passionate about was really easy, though I was worried that speaking about a car would bore other people. I got to the end and waited for the critique, and it was surprisingly positive! The trainer actually commented to the group after their comments that everyone thought my storey was interesting, and what was it about? A car - something that relatively few people find interesting, and yet I managed it.
After a couple of other people did their presentations the training was over. 3 hours and 15 minutes. And whilst I was exhausted (I had felt nauseated since the start of the morning with the idea of doing it), but the time had flown by, I had really enjoyed it - even though it was challenging and I think it helped.
Over the new few weeks we are going to meet up in small groups and practice with each other to get used to doing it, and we are going to try and do more public presentations to keep the challenge there!
And whilst I am not yet comfortable with the thought of doing it, I'm actually looking forward to it!
Friday, 24 May 2013
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
I hope you enjoy the selection, and that it gets me back to looking for that elusive amazing picture with my camera!
Sunday, 19 May 2013
For weeks on end I have looked like the phone junkie, carrying it everywhere and always having it to hand, constantly checking it when it vibrated (I did at least have the sound off in meetings ;p) and all together being one of the annoying phone people.
Until Thursday that it, when something urgent came up and I had to run to someone's desk and discuss some testing for a project that has to be ready by Tuesday afternoon (so that another project can start). Then I just legged it across the office - I even forgot to lock my computer, a cardinal sin from a data security point of view!
Anyway we came up with a good plan, with only minimal risks associated with it and then I got back to my desk. Five minutes tops - the computer hadn't even automatically locked itself (which is how I know I forgot to lock it!).
And then I say my phone lying on the desk, looking all forlorn and forgotten (amazing how a little black rectangle of plastic and glass can do that ;p). So I checked it and, yup sure enough there was a missed call from 'Unknown Number', which is normally the VU. And an answer phone message confirming that it was the VU and they wanted to speak to me to make the appointment with the surgeon.
The following morning (their phones are only open in the morning) I called back, and once I actually got through - Friday mornings are their busiest time - I had a quick chat with the assistant about how I was doing (they are always so friendly there) and she gave me my appointment. 11th June. That is when I start the final physical part of this process.
The fear and stress that I had a few weeks ago are back. Big time. Actually, this is the reason why I told the new guy in the office yesterday - how to explain why you are all over the place, and why you can't make plans at the moment without saying why. Something I can't do.
But anyway, without trying to go too far onto a tangent...
There is also a huge sense of relief. It's finally getting there. Getting to the point where I don't feel depressed when I see myself with no clothes on (well no more than anyone else anyway). Where I can wear the clothes I wanted to wear without worrying about things being visible (there are so many great outfits I have seen recently that I just would not feel comfortable wearing at the moment!)
Finally get the point where the physical stuff is finished and it's just my head to sort out!
Terrified, but can't wait :)
Saturday, 18 May 2013
I was reminded in the most tear inducing way of just how great yesterday.
We have someone new at the office and he is in my team, so I have spent some of the last two weeks helping he around the company, trying to organise meetings with the people who he needs to know and trying to make him feel at home.
What I had not done is told him what I was going through at the moment. I didn't know if he needed to know, I wasn't sure how he would react and, if I'm honest, it was nice working with someone who didn't know and just knew me as Stacy.
But I'll admit that it can make some conversations really difficult.
Yesterday we had our first one to one, the chat I arrange with the people on my team to ensure that all is going well, and to get feedback from them. We sat in one of the worst rooms - the good rooms were taken and the weather was simply not good enough to take a walk as I prefer to do) but made the most of it.
At the end of the conversation we got onto a topic that was also made difficult and I thought it was easier to tell him than try to talk around it. So I did.
His reaction was amazing, we discussed it for some more time, and the implications (surgery and time off etc). It was really nice talking with him.
But... Great as that was it was not the supreme moment.
No, that came later in the day.
When I got home he had sent me such an amazing, inspiring and, and I don't use this word often, awesome email that I was in tears. Now it was really personal, so I am not going to reproduce it here. But if he stumbles across this blog them: THANK YOU! That people who knew him have accepted me is fantastic. That someone who never knew him does the same, and more is just... Wow.
I just wanted to share that :)
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
OK, the last post was not the happiest. And the one before was a little heavy. Needed, sure, but heavy.
But actually life has not been too bad otherwise recently. A little full maybe :-)
So lets skip back a couple of weeks for a short fun post shall we?
We were having a friend over for food, drinks, chatting and lots of Red Dwarf (that would be a BBC comedy from the late 80's and early 90's - Google it, I promise there are no small guys running around in coloured hats as most people seem to think it is). Now, she also likes my cheesecake, so when I said I was going to attempt a new recipe, or rather decided to try and create my own from a couple that I make regularly, she said that I had to make it for her.
BTW each year this year person has dessert parties to celebrate her birthday. So... No pressure then...
(Actually Mrs Stace tells the both of us that we have to go on Master Chef or The Great British Bake Off - and neither of us would ever consider it!)
So on a Thursday evening, after running 10km and whilst trying to make a pasta dish, I started to make a Chocolate Vanilla Swirl (or Marbled - your choice...) Cheesecake. Half a Hummingbird vanilla and half Chocolate. Marbled together just before being thrown in the oven. I was very nervous (hate trying new things for guests) but it was not too bad, and past the taste test of Mrs Stace and our friend!
On the Saturday she came and we were chatting for a long time and then we ate. And had more cheesecake. And chatted a bit more and eventually switched on Red Dwarf and watched 4 episodes. And almost falling asleep on the way up went to bed.
Oh, I think I my have forgotten to include the two bottles of wine that were also in there ;)
Which made me getting up at my normal time, drinking coffee and chatting a bit more and then running another 10km quite unexpected!
Sunday was supposed to be more Red Dwarf, but with the weather that we had that was never going to happen. And so, as mentioned a couple of posts ago we spent the day in the garden drinking refreshing drinks (rather than alcoholic!) and soaking up the first real sun of the year (in fact the only real sun - it's been terrible since...)
Starting on the Thursday with the Cheesecake, going out with friends on Friday (another post) and then having her over for the weekend made it full. But very enjoyable :)
Monday, 13 May 2013
Wednesday, 8 May 2013
For the non English:
Environmental Friendly Toilet:
for toilet paper use only.
For other materials please use the wastebin to prevent the toilet from becoming blocked.
I do not want to empty that bin at the end of the day! Or as someone I knew pointed out - this explains the mess at the stations!
And yes Cass - I think this is a perfect example of why you should never underestimate the need for professional writers!
Monday, 6 May 2013
But, I now have some time before bed. Some time that I was going to use to make my first MVC web application (ug, I have to say at the moment I hate it - I hope I like it more as I get used to it as it's what we are using for the companies web site for the coming years...).
So... After that rather long winded and rambling start on to the main course!
I had a great weekend (too much alcohol, home made marbled chocolate and vanilla cheesecake and good friends) and it started with a therapy session. The first in a while.
You see late last year my therapist asked whether or not I felt OK with working up to stopping therapy. It has to happen at some point, I was doing really well and as he said it's not something that is supposed to go forever.
And I was OK with it. Until the last few weeks when things have gone really downhill. Not in life, but just in how delicate I am feeling at the moment.
So... We started the session and I said about the good stuff that is happening. It's always good to remember the good things and to make sure that you don't allow yourself to get negative.
But... There the times when I said "Except for", "Mainly good" and "That was not great, but I'm sure we'll get to that".
It has been three months since he last saw me and he was astounded at how much I have changed in that time. I asked my normal question, "In a good way I assume?" "Of course in a good way! Would I have said it like that if it wasn't!?" (He has been telling me for the last three years that I have to learn to recognise and accept compliments...) As he said my body is *really* receptive to the hormones that I am on.
We talked about my growing narcissism, the fact that since I have started to recognise myself in the mirror the reflection just memorises me. Not that I think I am great looking, just that after spending all my life not having any connection with the person in the reflection that I now do. It's me. And it really is me! It still feels strange just typing it!
Anyway, he commented on just how debilitating not actually having that connection with the reflection is, and the fact that once it is there it's perfectly natural to be memorised - he compared it to when a baby first realises that the person it can see is in fact themselves. And on top of that the hormones are currently running in as teenage girl where making sure that the reflection is one that they like and are proud enough of. I have the pleasure of both situations at the same time.
He is not concerned about my narcissism. In fact he told me not to call it that at all. He told me that he would be far more worried if I was *not* looking in the mirror and being hypnotised by seeing myself.
Of course we moved on to the bad stuff. The fatigue, the concentration issues and the delicate / fragile feelings. Crying for no reason, not being able to cope with things. Not fun.
I said that I assumed that after coping so well for the three years and not having to use my extra holiday days for emergencies, but actually being able to plan time off to recuperate that it was finally catching up with me and I was breaking.
He sat smiling as I said this, and when I got to the point about being called by the VU about the plastic surgeon he started to nod at me.
No, he said, it isn't that you are finally cracking. It's not that you are at risk of dropping into a depression that you have been holding off for the last three years.
It is about a new phase of the process and a new phase of life. I think I may have mentioned that I am terrified. And he confirmed, there is a chance that you do not wake up from the operation. That is is one of the longest they have - and when it's held it is that long that it is *the* operation of the room for that day - other ops are scheduled around this, not the other way around.
That there is a recovery process to go through. And some of it is not pleasant. That there are a whole range of recoveries from really not pleasant to really quick and easy.
And that the recovery is going to eat into your time.
It is a major event and should not be under estimated, and my falling apart recently is not something to be scared of of worried about. It's normal at this stage. Different people may react differently, but when this bit is reached it's a big moment.
And don't bottle it up. When you need time, you take the time. If you think you can only work 80% then you need to have it organised that you are sick for 20% and that the workload is changed accordingly. In order for my boss to be fair with me I have to be open with him.
And savour it. This is something that will never happen to me again. Sure, it may not be the best emotions at the moment, but they are correct for the point in the process and being afraid of them and hiding them is not going to help.
And remember the same for the operation and recovery time. Work is unimportant at that time. I am lucky enough to have very a understanding employer. Both my boss and HR have said that I should stop stressing about work during that time. That I will have more important things on my mind at that time!
And everything that has to be done afterwards. I have to stop trying to work out how I am going fit everything into 24 hours and start to think about how I am going to make the process my own - to learn the new me. (I still don't know how to do that, I know I need to, but am not there yet...)
And that after everything he has said, in 15 years of him helping transsexual patients he has never known of a single death.
It was a great session, it was a hard session and I think the one in 4 weeks will be just as hard. We have decided that 4 times a year is not a good idea and gone back to 4 weeks. If it needs to be shorter we'll make it shorter!
Sorry if that is a bit rambling, I started to type and it just sort of happened :)