Friday, 30 July 2010

I'm freezing.

A while since my last post here though many of you will have found my T Central piece which Calie asked me to write, saves you wading through all those early posts!
Welcome to my two newest followers BTW.

As you can see it is part of a series showing the widely variable ways we deal with our problem, a fascinating series and well worth a visit.
The summer if that’s what you can call it is cold and wet this year, not all the time but the sunny spells hardly dry the place before some more rain. Watering the vegetables is easy this year and that is about all you can say in it’s favour. Between wet spells we have been harvesting red and black currants and gooseberries, most going into the freezer for a taste of summer later in the year.
Catching up on some socialising and trying to get some work done on the house and garden is taking up all our time at the moment. I will get a day off soon when I go for my next GID clinic appointment, in anticipation I went to organise blood tests so that I could take the results with me for discussion. My doctor is off on holiday with her children so finding out exactly which tests were required took a while and the receptionist took me through to the nurse station to try and get it sorted.We chatted about what it was for matter of factly and while the nurse was on the phone to the clinic I asked about changing my name on the records, more phone calls… They have always been reasonably friendly there but by the time I returned for the sample to be taken the next day there was a change. I think they have taken me on as their pet! They have become so much nicer! Concerned to get the correct pronunciation of my name and organising to phone to let me know when I can collect the results and so chatty! I had no idea you could talk about clothes and shoes on the national health system!
When I wrote my T Central piece I was told some were using photographs but not all. I thought two separated by forty years would be interesting but when Julie saw those which I had chosen I had to email and say a new choice would be sent once it had been approved. There are few enough of my early days, many purge their wardrobes I purged my early self portrait investigation into the strange creature I was. People have made careers out of such self examination! I had nudes studies which would have made it really popular! New pictures are hardly much more readily available so Julie decided to portraitalise me in the garden once my hair was washed. It is always interesting to see what you look like and a photograph is quite different from a long hard stare into a mirror. To do the occasion justice I was told to wear her best silk dress, a rare treat indeed then she took about a dozen shots. I used to cringe or hide from the front end of a camera lens but she captured someone totally relaxed and content with them self, I never thought I would ever feel this way in this lifetime.
A couple of days latter Julie returned from a day away on one of her projects and said she had a present for me. How on earth did she find the money for an ipad I wondered, no such luck but she had something equally intriguing. A box of hair collouring! Reality is most easily seen through a camera lens! She had finally seen that I was becoming a grey haired old lady and did not think it suited me. There was a pantomime applying the stuff but who is going to pass up a little personal attention? We have a long way to go before we get profficient at this but the first result was better than I could have hoped for, not something I thought I would do having once bought such a thing when the grey first appeared but threw it away. A number of girlfriends have hinted that I should do this, they all pay a fortune to have it done in a salon, I have done it on the cheap as usual.

Friday, 23 July 2010

independent life-forms

I have never been overtly excited by breasts, there is the esthetic pleasure and pleasure in a touch but nothing you could really call lust. For preference I would have to vote for smaller rather than larger though I doubt that will have small breasted girls shouting out a loud yea! 
I keep bumping into things! I protrude a little but that little has not yet been programmed into my spatial awareness and each bump is sore as hell. Each day is a series of ouch, ouch moments as I turn without thinking or pick up something without thinking, I am going to learn to do a lot of thinking!
In the mirror they do not look much, a pert small handful at most but looking down with a more extreme perspective they are beginning to take on more of a dramatic presence. They can hardly be ignored as they take on their independent course in this life vaguely connected to this body but reacting to gravity and body movement slightly out of phase to the rest of me. An ever increasing everyday reminder that this journey is well on it’s way and far beyond any point of no return. Once started there was never going to be a return just the occasional moment of regret creeping in that it has taken so long to set off on this obvious path.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Shortest post ever

Wendy Carlos wrote some early electronic music then just melted away into a very private life. Here is a fascinating intelligent and honest interview. Do not be put off by the stupid wrong pronouns in the introduction.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Garden archeology.

The Garden is a jungle. Well much of it is. This is partly because the garden is just too big to easily look after especially as we get older. We don’t look after the garden, I do. Julie thinks reading a good book with a cup of coffee and a biscuit is gardening. When I firs arrived here thirty years ago nature had been allowed to run wild and I foolishly thought  it would just be a matter of time before I had it under control. Fool! Luckily we like a degree of wilderness and it has even become fashionable, who would have thought?
We do not get any more able to get about the rough stone paths and slippy steps round to the greenhouse / garden room, we know because that is where we spent a lot of time camping out during the work on the windows recently. I have long planned to improve the access ever since I found out just how difficult it was to get someone in a wheel chair to join in a party in that room. It involved me balancing the chair on one wheel up to the point on the steps where someone else grabbed the front and we lifted the whole chair and passenger down to the room level. Never again!
I have been gradually devastating the whole area since we returned from our trip, cutting shrubs back to within an inch, or 2.45 centimeter of their life, perhaps even beyond but I need the space for a new ramped pathway. Who needs to go to a gym if you have a garden?
My old self had been through a period of despair and seeing little hope for the future had let nature regain a hold in many places. Here is a piece of garden archeology which parallels my old life.
At just about the same time I got  the message of no hope of help for my dysphoria in the early 70’s someone brought something to the house for my sister in law to repair. When told that it was never going to be possible to return it to a pristine condition it was left here in the garden where it has been subjected to a hard life and sometimes lost in growth to re emerge periodically in ever more miserable condition. We both went into a dark period in the recent past but have both reappeared battered and scarred into the light. For once I think I am in better shape!

Friday, 16 July 2010

The future...

I have been blogging for a while now, even have a group of followers though not all of them like my old fashioned template or this typeface…
During this time and the short while before when I was just searching and reading other blogs I have seen many come and go. It is quite understandable that someone should come here like me to feel less alone and gain support while learning from other’s experiences. It is also understandable that there are many reasons why someone should suddenly just stop posting and vanish from our lives leaving a deep sadness as they do.
For many this is a transient place, a haven for body and soul while making that arduous transition from one world to another. Few will ever understand just what we have to go through in terms of mental, physical and financial turmoil to make our transition. Who would not just want to move on.
There is no fixed point on the journey where people jump off, everyone has a different point at which they feel it is time to move on once they feel comfortable with where they have reached or wish to become one with the real world and do not wish to be found in this twilight zone.
Recently I have been through some changes which left me wondering where my future lay. A lifetime thinking I would never get any chance to make even a partial transition has changed drastically in the last few months. It is over three months now since I started with my HRT patches, a relatively low dose due to my lack of testosterone in the system and the results are really starting to show. With nipples showing through two layers of clothing they are really starting to show. The time came where I had to tell my closest circle of friends and family just what was happening, not something we look forward to doing but it has to be done and to hell with the consequences. I had reached a state of calmness and well being and was finally as happy as I thought I would get. I thought I had reached that point others had reached and would have little or nothing left to blog about. My search through lost time, stirring up the dusty old memories long ago buried had been an interesting project and I did not have to pay for therapy to do it! You all read patiently for free. At no point was I considering deleting the blog, I hate it when all the first hand information so carefully gathered vanishes overnight leaving others to have to reinvent the wheel. We all bring something different to the story, I thought my contribution had more or less come to an end.
My coming out tour should have been better reported but connection to the net was sporadic and the posts rambling or out of date and never got posted. The tour was a great success with hardly a murmur of decent. I had been accepted for what I was for decades though few really had a true inkling of what I really felt though many sensed it. My niece summed it up well when she said that she had never seen me as an uncle. The young are so much more aware than adults.
So I am home again but life does not go on as usual. The calmness which I had felt before the trip started was nothing compared to the calmness I feel now. To have made that final declaration of independence from the tyranny of gender dysphoria, to have said to the world that old life was a sham and you have to accept me for who I have always felt I should be.
The number of metaphorical descriptions for this moment I have lost count of but they are all true. How I lived for all those decades with the torment constantly swirling through my head I do not know. What I do know is that it is gone and I stand on the edge of the unknown. I feel really stupid to have failed to reach this point before now, how things could have been different but I am not going to dwell on that.
Suddenly I can see that I can have a future and have to plan for way off into this future, not something I have ever done before! It is not the best time to have done this with personal and world finances in a mess but that is the world and I am stuck with it.
Will I continue to blog? More to the point will you all want to read it? My transition is still only partial but phase one is definitely over. I may have a life and I may have to post about repairing the house or gardening whilst still transitioning! The T stuff is part of my life not my life. I have broken through some sort of barrier to real life, hope you can bear it. Time for a change of title and staying with my Proustian theme I am calling it  “Time Regained”.
Guess you are stuck with me for a while yet.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The journey home.

You have to read this post as a piece of historical travel writing. I started it on the ferry home but the distractions were too great to finish it in time to post from our stop in England as planned. have to get this out of the way and then I can resume normal service.

The last post was days ago.( ok this is over two weeks late! ). Long long ago and far far away. The lazy south is now but a dream and we are suffering the torments of hell on a high speed catamaran made of recycled cola cans just shaking it’s self free of French moorings and heading back to our island home. The joy of being crammed in with a rabble of noisy fellow travelers cannot be described, I have selected Kraftwerk, Man Machine to drown them out and it is not working! Julie has just returned from foraging, No haute cuisine tonight. Probably no haute cuisine for the foreseeable future till the excess of the last month or so has worn off. I have been very good skipping courses, cut out cheese altogether! We shared main courses and still feel a little bigger!
We have hit warp speed.39 knots or 71 KPH, a good average on country roads these last few days but out at sea on a car ferry the size of a block of flats! So back a bit.

The summer weather really started the day we left at the crack of lunchtime. How much stuff gets collected when you stay put for nearly five weeks. I used to be able to cary all I needed for a three week trip including tent and heavy camera gear on my bike but we have been treating our wee Polo as if it were a Tardis with infinite luggage space to take things home for others as well as ourselves. Yanna wants us to deliver a case of wine to some of her friends so that is one less for us! 
When I first started to drive round France with Julie thirty years ago the national routes passed directly through most towns without much trouble and each was a joy to see with all the street life now the best you can hope for is a bypass through the of of town shopping sheds and industrial areas while the centers have been one wayed and pedestrianised with hardly any available parking for visitors. We used to drive up to the local spectacular cathedrals and park outside for the visit then off to the next one. Tody took half the morning for just one of us to get to visit one which we had reconnoitered the evening before to see the Flamboyant facade in the evening light before sitting in a park till nearly ten pm under the plane trees which must have been planted during the revolution more than 220 years ago. When we returned this morning the local market had taken over the streets around the cathedral and half the world had driven in to shop, it would have been easier to walk from our hotel some way away!

The evening before, on the first day of our trip had been spent in the church at Conques listening to an atmospheric but average organ recital during the evening illuminations of the carved capitals in the high ambulatory which I had paid my 5 euros to walk round. Conques is the sort of place we normally avoid like the plague these days but it had captivated us so much nearly thirty years ago we decided to risk one more visit. The one who has  trouble with stairs booked the room. Just as well since it was a 67 step climb to the top floor in a town where the cars are left well outside the walls! Nothing in the town is flat and it is built on a steep hillside, memory had flattened it somewhat! Time had tidied it up a bit too much, there is beauty in tumble down melancholy! Now it is a boisterous stop over on the booming pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain. Just how deeply buried in the countryside we had become we were to find out the next day when we drove the endless double bends through the wooded hills for hours not helped by the roadworks everywhere to suburbanise the deepest country villages. The voyage of discovery was turning into a journey!

We should have remembered just how much better it is to stay two nights in each place to give more exploring time and as we get older and slower perhaps that should be three. Our haste was due to Julie wishing to get home to watch tennis!
The flying boat got us back to the UK in the early evening where it was only a little over an hour back to my sisters home near Oxford. The next day was to have been another sibling get together with baby sister returning from her holiday cottage and dropping in at lunch time. Unfortunately a motorcyclist had crested the brow of a hill already on the wrong side of the road while they were waiting to turn off the main road. there followed a scene from ER with helicopters and ambulances, their car died at the scene and the insurance has offered them peanuts for it's loss.
The bike rider has broken lots of bones and will not be riding like a lunatic for a good long while, my brother in law has an awkward thumb injury because his  hand was near the gear shift when the bike hit.
Shame since my sister wanted to see that life was fine after my change of status, she is the worrier in the family. We whiled the day away mostly helping with gardening jobs and chatting. I unfolded my bike for a ride around the village which is cute with many old thatched cottages,which have not been photographed, the moment it appeared it was taken from me by my sister and taken for a test ride! When she finally returned it was borrowed yet again!
Sunday was great! Balls were being kicked somewhere on the planet and a vast proportion of the population stayed in on a glorious day to watch it on tv. Three of us set off following Eddie's directions to an old country house with interesting gardens. Few were on the roads and those that were were generally much better behaved than usual, more ball kicking please! We lay having a picnic with red kites which have been reintroduced gliding about playfully in the skies above us. This was the quietist weekend of the year so we saw the property in comfort and uncrowded, Eddie took us down narrow wooded country lanes my sister had never seen before then back onto still empty main roads.

Monday we took our time driving the more crowded motorways north back to settle into a newer normality.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Work work work

Ten days back from our trip now and there has hardly been any time to catch up on others posts let alone write anything.
The broken garden wall which we had expected to be repaired while we were away had not been started when we returned except for a visit to drag the final remains of the rose hedge onto the driveway so that we could not get in! I was woken the first morning with a call to say we start in half an hour, let us in so we don’t have to climb the walls.
Once I had cut up the old rose I set to on the garden which had mostly been neglected while we were away. Someone had come twice to cut our small patch of green, I will not even call it grass let alone lawn. Shaded as it is most of the year it is mostly moss but to have it neat on arrival and to have my offer of payment refused, someone is going to be getting fruit soon if they want it or not!
Liz , my veg garden help got her family involved since it was so dry. All the area we had sown and planted was quite neat and tidy and her passion for the rhubarb showed by the very small plants left! Sadly they did not see or care about the tall weeds around the veg area! Still can’t complain, I have returned from shorter trips before to find that the whole garden was two feet deep in weeds and all that I wanted was lost or eaten by slugs.
No sooner were the wall builders gone when the window replacers arrived for three days. I really should have worked out the logistics of clearing room in seven different places and protecting things from the likely dust. It was windy and with their liking of a permanently open front door hundred year old muck and dust got everywhere, I doubt I shall ever find it all. First our vacuum cleaner gave up and died before it even had a chance to work out just how hard I was going to drive it. Then friends who I called and demanded a dinner invite from lent us their”upstairs” bagless machine it died almost as soon as I started the next day, the fuse was changed and off it went only to die again when asked to work a bit harder! At this point I wished I had use of a good curse and abandoned the whole job in disgust. A day later, with little hope of success I switched it on and it burst into life. Closer inspection showed that it had two replaceable filters, both well clogged up. Throw them away and you have no idea how these machines can suck! So I am back on track and hope to have the place back to habitable in a couple of days.
Julie hardly cares or notices much of this except when she occasionally comes out of the office to let the computer cool while she has a tea break. Thankfully that room was cleaned before all the breakdowns. Her project hardly leaves me much playtime on the machine so waking at six has let me catch up a bit with the wider world.
While working my mind has been racing to make sense of where I am now and hope to get back to real posting I the near very future. Watch this space.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

What goes in must come out.

Eight thirty am and already I have been working in the garden and have caught up on net friends, my internal clock is showing sympathy with my bedside clock and is broken.

I am not a fan of s***. If proof of the no existence of a wise and caring god this stuff has to be it. There are animals which eliminate clean hard pellets of both solid and liquid waste and recycle the water with great efficiency but not us! I will not even go into the pleasure park next to the toxic dump planning error, even I have occasionally used the park but…

Where m I going with this loverly subject? Well every two years it is necessary to get up front and personal with the stuff! One of the “joys” of living in range of a teaching hospital is that you get involved with extra audience if you go in to be examined for anything and you get asked to get involved in research. One such project is screening for bowel cancer early signs by home testing. We got involved with this from the start and it is being rolled out nationwide now. In the first trial a friend got called in for a further test and was found to have an advanced tumor which if they had not found it then would have certainly killed him! When the tv reported on the introduction of the test he was dragged out as a perfect example of what it could do to save a life though what the audience made of someone so educated and eloquent being interviewed I have no idea, to this day he is in a league of his own several divisions above those normally seen on our screens!

Thank goodness our diet has been mostly vegetarian since we returned! Six samples need to be taken over a short period then posted (in well sealed plastic envelope) for analysis, oh what joy. No doubt there are some who receive great pleasure from dealing with this stuff but sadly it just spoils my day!

Small price to pay if it saves a life.

On a brighter note for those who ride bikes, the tour de France starts today. I know it is supposed to be a sport and I hate sport and competitiveness but it has bikes being ridden through wonderful landscape so is really just a travelogue! Enjoy.