Monday, 29 June 2009


You know how the joke goes, I was going to write about apathy but I couldn't be bothered. In some ways that is how I feel, uninspired to write anything as there isn't anything sufficiently interesting or upsetting to impart.

I read that one of the positive effects of taking spiroaldactone is that it can give you a feeling of well-being, I think this is inline with how people report feeling better once taking estrogen as well, I guess it's a hormone thing. This could be why I feel relatively relaxed or it could be simply that I'm just accepting more of what is happening and coming to terms with it.

In some ways it's disappointing as I seemed to have spent alot of time trying to sort my head out, then working on getting the treatment I need, and now there is a calm and somewhat boring period while I simply wait for the hormones to take affect and for my life to develop.

There are still lots of things for me to deal with but I guess I've just become a little complacent and am just reverting to my chilled-out self, running with a high level of optimism and denial as usual, almost like being in a dream. The reality is that I seriously need to sort out my voice, my life and my weight!

The last one is particularly worrying if I stop and think about it - I have put on quite a bit of weight and I have a huge appetite. I've just had to tear myself away from the fridge as I was going to grab some cheese or a bun with some flora on it, or I was even considering the bacon or burgers. I was also just tempted to eat the sandwiches I was making for tomorrow and my mouth is watering just writing about it all. I would blame the heat but that is meant to make you feel less hungry, I suspect it's all the medication. It's going to be hard to stick to a diet AND lose the weight I have.

So, where am I really? I guess I'm just meandering which I suppose is good, life could be so much worse, but then again, I think I need to seriously do something to make some more progress, otherwise, what was the point of all the pain and hurt that I, and others close to me, have already been through?

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Drug Weather Report

(the title of the post is inspired by, i.e. plagarised from, a sketch of the same name by the comedy group Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie - also on Wikipedia)

I won't even attempt to be as funny as the aforementioned sketch as this is simply an update on what I'm taking at the moment.

A week or so ago I went to see my GP to update her on my latest trip to Dr Curtis (I'm essentially acting as a post-woman in delivering the letter from him to her) and also to get prescriptions for more hormones and the spironolactone as well. No problems in getting these though my GP suggested a blood test after a week rather than the month that Dr Curtis had mentioned just as a precaution since this drug can increase potassium levels quite alot and that is a risk factor (anyone considering self-medication take note!).

Anyway I've been on the spironolactone for over a week now and haven't really noticed any significant affects, good or bad, though obviously the positive changes do take some time to happen. From what I read the drug can take over two weeks to actually start to act so it's early days yet. Should get my blood results next week which should hopefully provide some reassurance that it's not having any negative affect.

Oh, I should also mention that one of the affects of this drug is to lower blood pressure, mine is actually quite low anyway (my Dad has actually suffered some problems because of this) so that obviously something to keep an eye on.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


I bought some new stainless steel pans today which shouldn't really be a big deal but which I was quite excited about as I was getting fed up of the cheap and nasty ones I had that claimed to be non-stick but which had now started to rust!

Anyway I only got a cheap set of Morphy Richards pans from Argos and was quite impressed that they came with a 10year guarantee! I thought I best read the care details and was rather amused by the last paragraph!

Fathers day

Just had my son come over (obviously brought by his mum I hasten to add) to bring me my fathers day gifts which consisted of Jelly Babies, card and a cool container thingy with a plastic fork and little tub for sauce. I thought that was fab!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Face up to it!

This was just a random thing I thought of while pondering what else to write and it triggered a memory of something that's bugged me for a while.

I don't get alot of online attention (thankfully ... though slightly disappointingly at the same time) but I do get the odd one or two who simply don't have a picture or it's something completely obscure.

Here's the deal: there is absolutely no chance at all for me to take anyone really seriously if they don't have the courage to have a real picture. I don't believe I'm particularly brave but now I at least and being honest enough to show me as me.

It bugs me when I get friends requests or other messages from anonymous users on Facebook with no real picture. Showing myself as me takes an awful lot of effort, the least anyone else could do is be equally honest when trying to contact me.

Rant over.

[ Update: Having re-read this I don't think it's entirely clear that I'm talking about Facebook here and specifically Facebook users who solicit attention yet don't provide an honest picture of themselves ]

Digital trap

I think I've tried to write this down before but I've not really been able to really find the right words until I could think up a snappier title for the post and maybe get my thoughts lined up in some order.

One the problems with having online representations of my life is that it makes it harder to express what I'm really feeling both here and in real life. A single pithy status update won't convey all the different things I'm going through. It's almost like I need many of these all at the same time to cover my feelings accurately.

I tried to put it in technical terms by saying that my brain was currently "running with a load average of at least 10" but that really only works if you know what on earth I'm talking about! *

What is also hard to convey is how difficult things are when what you have put out into the great digital world seems to be so much of your life; people begin to think that that is all there is and forget that one of the great advantages of this virtual environment is that you can hide your true self completely.

Of course this is essentially a double whammy; putting more into your virtual life not only means people believe that is all there is but you also start to find it harder to express things in reality. The digital representations become your way to trying to communicate with everyone else, to try and explain yourself from the slightly safer-feeling cyber world.

The bottom line is that what appears online is, at best, only showing a few small facets of what I am going through and while these show ups and downs they are by no means a complete picture and should not be taken as the whole.

[ * - Load average on a Linux/UNIX machine is the number of processes available to run at a given point in time (actually over a span of time, e.g. average over the last 1, 5, and 10 minutes). Usually on an unloaded machine the load average is low, often less than 1, even if there are lots of things running, most of the time they are waiting for things to happen. Even on a slightly busier machine load average may not increase much. Once you start getting into bigger numbers then the CPU is constantly going to be doing real work and having to think all the time ]

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sometimes, you just need your Mum

I've had one of those weeks where everything has just been so overwhelming and confusing and upsetting that I reached a point where I just felt completely out of it and totally unsure and scared and confused (yes, I know I've already used "confusing" in this sentence).

I had a long soak in the bath, ate a Fry's Chocolate Cream bar, and watched the film, Almost Famous, while switching off almost completely and just not thinking. At the end of the film, when I got out of the bath I just wanted a hug. I wanted to be back with my family in my own home and be able to have the person I married give me a hug, or my son distract me, or just have familiar surroundings.

The phone had gone and I guessed it would have been my Mum who called and I suddenly just wanted to talk to her and tell her all the things that had happened this week, just to get it out of my head and have someone listen. My Mum is a good listener, she always has been. I must make a point of telling her that one day.

So that's what I did, I told my Mum everything (which I've always done really) and the fact that she listened and the advice that she gave made me feel better.

Thanks Mum x

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Can no-one see the irony here?

There has been a large amount of news coverage of the recent elections (local and European). One angle is the mess the current government is in but they may have been relieved that the other story seems to have diverted some attention away from them; the election of two BNP Euro MPs.

Things took a decidedly more violent turn when Nick Griffin tried to make a speech outside parliament and got pelted with eggs. I don't know what it is with eggs as the assault weapon of choice but analysis of that will have to wait for another post.

What I found interesting is that I guess most people saw this as a justified attack and felt that he deserved it. Other suggestions about the election of the BNP being undemocratic and that they got through on a fluke (because the voter turn-out was so low) have also been discussed at length.

The truth is though that, to the best of my knowledge he, and his party, did nothing illegal or underhand to get elected. They presented their policies and opinions and this was sufficient to get them, according to the BBC article linked above, 943,598 voters. You could argue that they may have lied, misled, or hidden facts about their party and what they really stood for from these people, but frankly all the parties do that so it's hardly a charge you could level at them with impunity!

So the response for someone who was fairly elected but who clearly has views that the vast majority finds offensive, is to assault him? How is that just? Should we treat anyone with equally unsavoury views in the same way? Who gets to decide what views are right and wrong? Mob rule?

This is meant to be a democracy and we should have the freedom to hold whatever views and opinions we like. Even if these are not what the majority would agree with. Everyone should have the right to present those views, and equally everyone else can respond or ignore them. That is the price of a free and open society, you really have to support everyone's rights, not just the people to agree with.

If you are going to start assaulting people because of their views or trying to censor them then who says that same won't be done to you when your opinion is in the minority?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Get your pronouns here ... collective nouns for sale!

Enough is enough.

I know my new name/gender has been difficult to adjust to and I have to say everyone has generally been great about getting pronouns right or correcting themselves when they make a mistake. No big deal and I've been happy to not say anything since I figure that this just makes people more uncomfortable .

I've had two incidents in quick succession which have made me think it's time to start correcting people. The first was a BT call centre worker who had all of my details on screen (where it clearly says "Miss") and still referred to me as "sir" - bad move considering I was already pretty much annoyed with BT anyway (I'll post about that later). Yes, I know my voice isn't brilliant but since I had already identified who I was it was an unfortunate slip on his part.

The second I won't go into but was essentially written rather than verbal where there clearly is a chance to correct a mistake before making it in a sense! A slip of the tongue is one thing and can't be taken back, keyboards have delete keys that can be employed to erase text!

So, enough. I've been tolerant for far too long, no more Miss Nice Girl.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Is it really worth it?

I think I am having a nasty bout of reality at the moment which I guess is the euphemism I employ when I am thinking about things rather too lucidly for my own liking.

I've had a few minor aches and pains recently, bad back (due, I think, to all the walking on Monday, sleeping funny, or just lifting heavy objects - my son!), and the, to quote the adverts, misery of hayfever symptoms. Also I'm not sticking to my diet, not been cycling into work last week and generally just meandering at the moment.

I've spent the weekend being fairly productive however, seeing my son yesterday and getting some chores done today. Because I've not been out either day I've not bothered with make-up, partly because the hay-fever really was making my eyes stream and anything on my eyes would either make them itch even more or eventually end up smeared all over my face. So I've really been looking at my face, and also the rest of me, without the usual benefit of even the thinnest veneer of artificial femininity.

And it's not really a pleasant sight. It's also not really a very convincing sight either. The reality is that I've only been on hormones for 6months and they don't make significant changes within that time (and given that my dosage has been increased it's arguable that nothing big is going to happen until all the drugs are at the right level).

When it comes down to it there is little real difference between me a year ago and how my body, and to some degree mind, is today. In fact the mind thing is maybe the bit that really has changed the least; there are some changes in my body, obviously, as I've noted before, but really if I sit down and think seriously there isn't any real mental change.

This is something that I once read (paraphrasing): hormones don't make you into a woman, they only deal with the physical changes to make you look more like the one you feel you are. I think what they do help though in giving you something to pin your belief in your real gender identity on. It's hard to feel like a given gender if you don't really feel you look the part.

Being a given gender for so long it is really hard to suddenly become another overnight. While hormones can't undo the changes made during puberty the longer you have been exposed to the "testosterone poisoning" (can't remember where I read that but it sounded apt) the harder it is for them to at least make the best of a bad job and try and smooth (pun intended) out your body. I think the same is true of your mental state, the longer as the wrong gender makes it much harder to become the new (correct) one.

I am finding it difficult to, in some ways, recapture my belief in myself and who and what I am at the moment. Probably not helped by me taking refuge in the distractions I use to indulge in to block everything out, i.e. gadgets, technology, tinkering with computers. I know there should be nothing exclusively 'male' about being totally geeky and nerdy but in my experience it does seem to be so and I also can't help but associate those feelings with the old me.

I'm beginning to see why alot of transsexuals would have facial surgery, it's not only to feminize their appearance more, but to also make it just different so that there isn't the constant reminder of who/what they were.

As ever I take a fairly pragmatic view of everything. Things do upset me, sometimes without me fully acknowledging how much, even to myself, and I do still want to make progress. But I never have been, nor probably ever will be, so upset, angry, distressed, or disturbed about what I am going through to really go to extremes. I always really do just think that things could be worse and that I'm lucky with how my life is even if it could be better. Some would say that, being able to think like that is a good thing, there are times, like now, when I suspect they are wrong.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Ding dong, the witch is ...

... gone!

Yes, it finally happened, the one minister who I really wanted to see go is going to "step down" after the elections on Thursday, that's right, Jacqui Smith has left the building, gone, vamoosed, out-of-here, goodbye, seeya, so long, etc!

As regular readers of this blog will know I've not been a particular fan of Ms Smith and have grown to dislike her intensely due to the legislation and strategy she has been responsible for. I guess it would be too much to hope that her successor would reverse the mistakes already made but it would be good if she/he didn't make things worse!

Bet the CAAN are having a little party in celebration at Ms Smith's departure as well!

Jogger from memory lane

Okay, I'm sorry but this is a bit geeky.

Just been testing something on an AIX server and I just happened to run the "smit" command which starts the admin tool, use to use this years and years ago when I did UNIX admin/development type stuff but haven't seen it since then. Anyway, I remembered the little running icon that it had from years ago, and guess what it's still there!

Running ...

... failed ...

.... success .... YAY!

I'm sorry, I just thought it was kinda funny!

Hormone update

Just a quick post to mention about the treatment I'm on just in case anyone is curious.

After seeing Dr Curtis on Monday my medication is changing a little; my estrogen level was a little low and I did mention my concern that the patches might not be as effective in this heat and with me cycling and therefore perspiring (yeah I know, "sweating" really) a bit.

The suggestion was to stick the patches on my lower back below the waistline which I'm going to start trying next week though do still prefer them stuck at the front where I feel they probably get more blood-flow - will experiement.

Also I'm not to change the patches every 3 days so as to keep the dosage up at a higher level (hopefully). My tests in February had a level of 25o or so for estrogen, 2 days after applying a patch. This last time it was 173 but that was 1 day before I was due to change the patches.

I'm also going to start on 100mg of spironolactone which is an anti-androgen. Given my levels so far there may not be a need for this (my testosterone count was low anyway) but I felt that I wasn't getting the development/changes I would have expected so thought I would like to try this. It's possible that this drug will make no difference, any change may have been likely to happen with the hormones alone.

Just a note about self-medicating. I guess anyone reading this blog could take the information on dosage I have given and apply it to themselves (I actually found it really difficult to find suggested treatments when I did a search to compare what I am on to what others take).

I would strongly suggest that you DON'T do this! Everyone is different and while this dosage may be fine for me and even others (it's comparable to what my friends have taken) it's not guarenteed. If you get this wrong you could be risking your health and life. Much better to at least have your GP on-board so that you can have the relevant blood-tests (which is what I do) to check everything is okay.


During our visit to London we sat on the grass in a not very busy Hyde park to eat our ice creams. A few people were around sat in desk chairs or on picnic blankets. There were the odd one or two that were worth a second glance but nothing really to bother about - I guess everyone felt the same about us too.

We did spot one potential 'nutter' though. In fact I thought he was the guy looking after the deck chairs but on closer inspection the junk he had round his chair was maybe more loony items rather than money-collecting stuff.

Anyway he was making his way towards us as we'd finished our ice creams and were (thankfully) getting up to leave. As we walked away he just said "Faggots" and laughed. In fact he said it a few times, "Faggots, ha ha" .... "Faggots" as we walked off without looking back.

I did jokingly say to Lucy that I should go back and thank him as he did at least get my gender correct - though I don't think you can really count a nutter as a reliable witness as to weather you have passed or not.

Really neither of us were that bothered by this, clearly the guy was a loony and we're both lesbians (I have a t-short to prove it) so he was accurate in what he said. Then again, we were just sat their eating ice creams, and not doing, saying, or looking particularly lesbian at all!

I really don't get anyone, even if they are sane, having anything against someone who is 'different', if they are doing no harm to that person. The link to Wikipedia above shows people with signs saying that "God hates faggots". Surely if he does he's more than capable of showing his displeasure! Wouldn't it be better if people just got on with their own lives and left others alone to do the same?

London bound

I'd moved my latest check-up appointment with Dr Curtis for a few reasons, one being that my blood test results weren't all back yet (I had lots of numbers apart from the all important testosterone count). In the end I still didn't have the full set of results but everything was booked anyway.

To make a day of it Lucy came down as well to enjoy the delights of London which included fab, sunny weather, lots of shops, the relative peace of Hyde Park, the nutter who called us "Faggots" (more of this in a seperate post), tame squirrel, ice cream and lots of walking (all not necessarily in that order).

On the whole I lost the use of my camera that day as Lucy took over and got some pretty impressive shots.

The weather was amazing, lovely and sunny and warm (well hot really) and while not too bad on the tube I don't think it would have been that pleasant crammed into busy trains in rush hour (we avoided this).

Basically didn't do a huge amount before my appointment (wasn't really enough time and we did get delayed coming down as well due to a "fatality on the line") but had a nice meander around the shops (few of them), didn't buy anything as we were both skint. Still nice to look and see things to buy later!

Appointment went well (more of this seperately) and the break gave me a chance to change out of the nice shoes I came down wearing into trainers that were a little more comfortable and practical for doing lots more walking!

Had a wander across Hyde park and stopped to have a yummy ice cream as well as when we spotted a really tame squirrel that actually stayed still long enough for some decent pics:

Had a quick look in the Science Museum and also Natural History as well - nice that it's free to get into these and therefore a way to pass some time without feeling you've got to see every single thing there because you paid for it. Both were quite at that time of day (late afternoon).

Both of us were quite tired (heat, all the walking) so headed back to the tube so we could get back to Euston for the train home. Setting off from South Kensington at 17:30 and taking the Circle Line to Euston Square meant that we arrived around about 18:15 which was a little more than I thought, clearly a good idea to leave lots of time for even a simple journey.

Our train out was delayed (due to the continuing disruption from the "fatality on the line" from earlier) but only for about 30mins. The rush when a platform is announced, particularly when the train has been delayed, is quite amazing to watch or be involved in - I'm sure they would get some interesting video from ceiling-mounted cameras! Was a mad rush from everyone to get to their seats - ours being right at the front of the train and, by that point, most people had either gone to the carriages they were in or really couldn't take the pace!

So a tiring day out, but a good one. Was nice to have my best friend their and we got to have a chat, and have a fun day.

I had to continue my journey up to Manchester and on to Chorley alone and it gave me time to reflect a little. These kind of days out seem to be all about anticipation and then are frantic themselves and it's only when things are over that you realise that you had a good time and how nice it was to be with your best friend. Doesn't really matter what we'd done I know I would have still felt the same way at the end of the day. Best friends are just fab, thanks Lucy x

Day in the Lakes

Playing catch-up with the blog again, one of these days I will become more organised! Anyway, I'll cover all the fun things from the past few weeks or so and then see if I can bring it back up to date. The first thing to mention is a day in the Lake District with my son.

The bank holiday was really quite nice and I'd decided that we should take a trip into the Lakes on the Sunday. We drove up to Haverthwaite first where we could take the steam train up to Lakeside and then onto the boat across to Bowness (the picture above actually shows Bowness and the Bellsfield hotel where we had lunch).

It was a really nice day though probably could have done with getting set off earlier as we really didn't have enough time in Bowness, really just enough for lunch and for my son to play at rolling down the little hill on front of the Belsfield Hotel. I got some great pictures of him looking grumpt at the top of the hill when I told him he couldn't do that (since I wouldn't be able to see where he was), and some even better ones when I did say he could roll down!

Overall a fab day! Got lots of fresh air, nice time on the train boat, sunburn (me only which is good), and alot of fun. Also my son seems to be dealing fine with me not looking like a 'Dad' and, while I'm sure I might be getting odd looks, I have no intention of stopping him referring to me as "Dad"/"Daddy" as that's what I am.

I should also say that my son is very well behaved and, while I'll take some credit for this B is certainly responsible for still keeping him in check and bringing him up properly in what is, for her at least, a very, very awkward situation.

I'm certainly very proud of how well-behaved he is and also how considerate he can be, for example he was happy to share his toys with a younger child on the train even though this little boy did monopolize things a bit (which my son did at the same age as well, so not a bad thing). No tantrums from my son about this though and he chatted to the parents of the little boy quite happily.

Looking forward to more days out over summer!