29 December 2013

Not like a character from a Jane Austen novel

The following has been saved as a draft blog post for over a year. I knew part of what I wanted to say, but not all of it. It occurred to me today that I now know the answer, and can can complete the post...
I have been pondering a line from the character Elizabeth Bennet in the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice on and off for quite a while now.

I cannot bear to think that he is alive in the world and thinking ill of me.

While she was saying it in regards to the man that she was in love with (but didn't realise it at the time) and ended up marrying, I see a generic parallel in my life in general.

I know that I shouldn't care about the opinions of negative people, but I have a tendency not to want anybody to think ill of me.

I've finally realised where my whole thinking was wrong.

Elizabeth Bennet cared about Mr Darcy's opinion of her because it actually mattered to her, even though she wasn't aware of why at the time that she made the statement. In stark contrast, the attitudes and opinions of people who think ill of me must no longer matter to me.

For years, even when I knew that I was being rejected, I sought approval and acceptance from people whose opinion I should never have cared about. That includes a wide variety of people, including family members who have chosen to reject me because I was honest about who I am. It even includes some members of the trans community who have gone out of their way to hurt me. The apparent reasons range from political differences to jealousy, but I've finally come to realise that the reason is entirely irrelevant, and I shouldn't even try to work it out. I simply have to disconnect myself from anybody who has chosen to reject me, irrespective of their reasons.

As a scientifically educated political moderate, I've been rejected by radical socialists and deeply conservative pseudo-religious people alike. At the same time, I have genuine friends including some at both ends of the political spectrum. We might not see eye to eye on many issues, but we are still able to not only be civil but to be friends. Hence, a political difference doesn't have to be a reason why someone would reject me, unless they are too narrow minded to be able to accept a difference of opinion. 

So, from now on I am going to make an effort to ignore people who choose to reject me. I'm going to try not to even think about why they are rejecting me, but simply accept that they have successfully argued for their limitations. I'm not even going to bother feeling sorry for them any more.

26 December 2013

The best laid schemes...

Because of Christmas, I had to arrange my nail appointments around the public holidays and my nail technician's holidays. That means that I have only one nail appointment during my 3 weeks of holidays, and that is tomorrow. I actually arranged this appointment about 6 months ago, when the salon got its new financial year (July to June) diary.

Like so many times before, I planned to go to my nail appointment en femme. This time, I planned to wear the same outfit as I wore to The Lindy Charm School last month. In anticipation of that, I've been keeping up with all of the usual hair removal, etc.. I straightened my fringe for Christmas day, and planned on straightening all of my hair and having a go at putting it up tonight.

I figured that if I had success with my hair tonight, I should be able to get up around 9am and be easily able to make a 1pm appointment.

Tonight, I was informed that, without any consultation, it has been arranged that my son will be picked up at about 9am tomorrow by my father-in-law, and that we are to pick him up from my inlaws' place after having dinner there.

So now, I have to work out whether I'm going to go to my appointment en femme as planned, then rush to change back and risk damaging my nails before they have time to harden, turn up to the inlaws' place for dinner en femme, or, after weeks of anticipation, not do girl mode at all.

18 November 2013

An observation about nail colour choice

I'm very aware that I haven't been out much this year. It's over 2 years since I stopped going to the cafe nights regularly, and over a year since I went there at all. Other outings have also been infrequent.

While outings have been infrequent, the desire to go out has not. At least once every day, I think about when I might next have an opportunity to go out en femme. Most of the time, particularly when I consult my work diary, I don't actually know when there will next be an opportunity.

For example, I have work booked after 3pm on the next three Tuesday afternoons, and when I went to cafe nights, I aimed to finish my scheduled work at 3pm so that I could actually finish by about 4:30. Of those three, there is only one that has a moderate chance of taking little enough time that I could finish by 4:30. The only other chance would be if I had a cancellation.

Sometimes, I find an opportunity and start planning an outfit and outing, only to have work or family wipe out the opportunity entirely. Sometimes, I try to push past the obstacles but it rarely works. The Halloween Tinkerbell plan this year is an example of this ~ I originally planned to do it, then it appeared that I was going to be in Sydney for the weekend. While my family went to Sydney, I stayed home but not to go out as Tinkerbell but because I had two lots of tax paperwork that had to be completed. I did one lot on the Saturday (missing out on Halloween) and the other on the Sunday (missing out on wearing a '50s outfit to Chromefest). I've had several people comment about the fact that I didn't turn up at Halloween, particularly those who saw me last year or had heard about it.

In spite of all of this, I choose my nail colours based not on coordinating with my regular male apparel but on what I hope to wear. I choose red, orange or bronze, because I've decided what outfit I want to wear next time I go out, or I've chosen something specific such as a pair of earrings that I want to build an outfit around.

So, in effect, by continuing to choose bold colours, I'm declaring that I still hope to go out en femme before (or to) my next nail appointment. I guess if I go back to neutrals that disappear into my hands or regular clothes, that will be an indication that I've given up hope.

17 November 2013

Hair accessories

Yet again, I've been so over-run with work that I haven't had a chance to post. Then again, until yesterday I didn't have much to write about.

After going to the Lindy Charm School last month, I decided that I wanted some red imitation roses to go with the dress and skirt that I haven't worn yet, both of which have a red rose print on them. The right shade for those should also go well with the dress that I wore to the Lindy Charm School.

The imitation flowers that I got from the Lindy Charm School this year and last year started off as ordinary stemmed decorative flowers. The stems on most of these imitation flowers are glued into a socket on the back of the flower. It's quite easy to pull the stem out, pierce a hole across the socket then push a bobby pin through that hole. That's what had been done to the ones from last year. The ones from this year had had the stems removed but (possibly an oversight) hadn't been pierced, so they had to be pinned on using bobby pins on the outer petals.

On Tuesday, I was walking past an op shop, and decided to have a look for curtains for the house that we bought recently. While I didn't find any curtains, I spotted a bucket of artificial flowers, including one rose of the sort of shade of red that I was looking for and a rather large, almost white rose. At $1 each, I grabbed them both. :-)

On Saturday morning, I decided to have a look around a few other op shops. At one, I found a bunch of 7 bright orange artificial roses with no price label. When I asked the price, the woman first said 50c, then immediately changed her mind and said 20c. That was a price I just couldn't refuse!

After I got home, I got enthusiastic about removing the stems and putting bobby pins onto them. As luck would have it, a small metal spike to make the hole, followed by a bead reamer that my wife uses to clean up the holes in beads for making jewellery worked beautifully for making the holes.

Mind you, there is one flower in this photo that doesn't have a bobby pin. The one at the right end of the 2nd row, which I wore to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, was actually made as a hair clip, and has a spring clip on it, making it a little less usable than the others. The middle and right ones in the bottom row came from the Lindy Charm School last year and the rest I converted yesterday.

I've now got quite a few hair flowers, so I'll need to try to find time amongst my currently insane work schedule to wear some of them. That's if I can get back down to a weight that works for any of my clothes ~ I've been comfort eating and I'm currently around 86kg. :-(

02 November 2013

Lindy Charm School revisited

This post is now almost a fortnight overdue. Life got busy, and having a dramatic increase in our level of debt (to the highest it's ever been) combined with a high level of demand for my work as encouraged me to concentrate on that work because it has the potential to help reduce the debt!

On Sunday, 20th October, I went to the Lindy Charm School again, as I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I had hoped to do.

In preparation, on the Friday night I drove my son to Sydney to visit my wife's relatives, as planned. I then spent an inordinate amount of Saturday evening preparing myself for the outing on Sunday. I think that by the time I got to bed, it was only about 4 hours until my alarm was due to go off.

This has become a noticeable pattern for me. Like IMATS, the fact that I've bought a ticket to the event is ultimately what makes the difference between giving up before I get organised and actually following through.

Sunday's outfit consisted of the dress that I got from Miskonduct at the end of August, my red Siren stilettos, a pair of red seamed nude tights that I bought directly from the UK a few months ago (which I thought worked very well with the dress and shoes), a pair of red fabric covered button style earings that I got from Miskonduct last year (which look like a miniature version of the buttons on the dress), and a bright red handbag that I got from Miskonduct in early October.

I gained quite a bit from the day at Lindy Charm School, including many details that I didn't remember at all from last year. Being very conscious that I could remember so little from last year, I made an effort to pay attention to a lot of details. I know that I need to practice soon, but I'm more confident that when I do, I will be able to remember the necessary details.

02 October 2013

A little trim and...

As I mentioned last week, I needed to get my hair trimmed before I go to the Lindy Charm School workshop later this month.

Today, like every second Wednesday, was a nail appointment day. As is so often the case, by the time I got to bed on Tuesday night, I was so exhausted that even though I had epilated my face, trimmed my hairline and arm hair, going to my nail appointment in girl mode ceased to be an option because I really needed the extra sleep!

Knowing that the Lindy Charm School workshop isn't until after my next nail appointment, I decided to go with bronze on my nails this time and go red next time. Sadly, this was the end of my favourite bottle of Face of Australia limited edition Molten Metallic Bronze polish.

After getting my nails done, I went to the Building Society then, as I was walking back to my car, decided to stop in at the hair salon that my wife and son go to, to see if I could get an appointment. It turned out that I was able to get an appointment later in the afternoon. In the process of making the appointment, she knew who I was relative to my wife and son, which became quite relevant later on...

The first thing that she did was take my hair out of the plait, brush it out and show me the 75mm (3") or so that she wanted to take off, pointing out that the ends were thin and scraggly. I agreed with her ~ the length that she removed was about the length that I knew needed removing last year!

When she asked if I always wore my hair tied back, I answered "not always". In conversation, I offhandedly mentioned that the length that was coming off had been making it difficult to do things such a 1940s 3-roll. No reaction. I took that to mean that she had realised from the painted nails, pierced ears, long hair and lack of facial hair that I was a crossdresser, but as the conversation continued it became obvious that she had not.

When she went to trim my fringe, I mentioned that the biggest problem that I have with my fringe is that some hair is sometimes in the fringe and sometimes not, and that I often end up with some hair that is too long for the fringe but too short to tie back.

In the ensuing discussion about the fact that the shape of my hairline meant that the sides could not be brought forward into the fringe, I commented that I trim the hairline and when I wear makeup, I shade the hairline to make it more rounded. She asked why I wear makeup!

"Because I'm a crossdresser."

As has been the case so many times before, she had no idea until then. Apparently when I made the remark about the 1940s 3-roll, she just didn't believe that she'd heard straight and ignored it.

Of course, this led to many of the usual questions. How did my wife feel about it, did I dress in front of my son, etc..

As usual, there was no negativity, just genuine interest because she hadn't had the opportunity to ask these questions of someone who is openly a crossdresser.

Coincidentally, the hairdresser is the mother of one of the women at Price Attack in Charlestown, where I bought the hair donuts and green nail polish for my Tinkerbell outfit last year. The daughter has certainly seen me in girl mode before, and I think that she has also seen my Tinkerbell photos from last year.

01 October 2013

Were you at IMATS?

If I go to get Subway for dinner, I often also go to the Woolworths supermarket in the same building while I'm there. The vast majority of the time, I'm in boy mode ~ including tonight.

And so it came about that tonight I grabbed a few things and took them through a self-service checkout. After realising that there was nobody minding the self-service area, I walked around to the service counter and asked if they had the Aussie Animals cards that they are currently giving away with purchases, as my son is collecting them.

As she handed me the cards, the woman behind the counter asked me "Were you at IMATS?"

It's not something that I expected to be asked, and it seemed like it took about a second for my brain to process the question.

After I confirmed that yes, I had indeed been there, we had a brief conversation about it.

She complimented me on my presentation, and seemed quite genuine in her compliment. Considering how unhappy I was with my presentation, I was quite happy with the compliment. :)

It turned out that it had her first time at IMATS. She recognised me from the supermarket, but she was with a friend who didn't even read me. She was surprised that I was there mostly for the presentations, as she had apparently spent up big while she was there and wasn't really aware of the presentations.

It was apparently her first time there, and she seemed surprised (possibly even impressed) that it was my third time there.

I guess I tend to sound like a broken record on this point, but I find it interesting to note that, contrary to the claims of many crossdressers who won't even set foot outside their door in girl mode, there is once again no negativity at all in a relative stranger's response to me.

27 September 2013

No Tinkerbell this year

This morning, I looked at my diary and realised that I have a nail appointment on Wednesday 16th October, ahead of the Lindy Charm School on Sunday 20th. The obvious thing to do is to get my nails done red.

A conundrum arose, in that I planned to go to Halloween in Cardiff on Saturday 26th in essentially the same outfit as last year, including having my nails done in the same glitter green polish. That would be in the same fortnight between nail appointments as the LCS. Okay, so I'd have to change the polish myself between appointments.

Except that I was also considering going to Chromefest on Sunday 27th, and that would definitely be a 1950s outfit event, for which I'd want my nails red again.

So I began considering options such as applying Magic Tape (special sticky tape that is designed to be removed without damaging whatever is underneath it) to my nails, and painting it green so that it could be peeled off to reveal the red for the Sunday.

So far, so good.

Then the wheels fell off.

It doesn't appear that I'll be doing Halloween or Chromefest this year.

Instead, I'll be helping my wife's relatives who will be moving house that weekend ~ into the house that we're buying to rent to them!

26 September 2013

You can't hide with Google around

I mentioned a few days ago that I had chatted to a makeup artist who stopped me at IMATS to tell me that she read my blog, and joked that she was stalking me on my blog.

Out of curiosity, I wondered if I could find her using Google search. The first search turned up a web site that I suspected was hers, so the second search was an image search for the name of the owner of that site, and the very first photo result was her.

It took around 2 minutes to go from "I wonder if I can find her" to "Yes, that's her", while looking at her Facebook profile photo! Of course, I sent her a friend request. :-)

While it's good that you can easily find something or someone that you're looking for, the downside is that someone else can do the same to you. For example, I postulated that if I can find someone that easily, surely with the right search terms (probably a very small number of words), it would be trivial to work backwards from my female online persona to my real world life.

The answer is yes, it is. Then again, with how out I am on facebook, and in real life (particularly with my nails), I don't greatly care if people join the dots.

25 September 2013

Lindy Charm School again?

It appears that the Lindy Charm School will be coming to Newcastle again in October. They are down on numbers and may have to cancel if they don't get more takers, but if the numbers are good enough for it to go ahead, I'm hoping to be there like last year.

It's basically the same course again (except that the afternoon seems to be listed as only 2 hours instead of the 3 hours that it was last year), but after the mess I made of the 1940s 3-roll last weekend, I'm convinced that I need to do the course again because I just don't remember much of what was covered. If I had practised regularly starting straight afterwards, I would probably have been fine but having had so much else happening in my life, that simply didn't happen.

I will try to see if I can further boost the numbers, as the woman who does my nails expressed interest in doing this course when I was talking to her about it last year, and her daughter did a mini version of the same sort of thing run by Miskonduct earlier this year. If I can convince one or both of them to go, it might be the difference between it going ahead and being cancelled. Sadly, the daughter is doing her Higher School Certificate this year and the date may be in the middle of her exams so she's unlikely to be able to go.

A small complication that arose with the date of this year's workshop is that my wife will be away, and I'd normally be doing the solo parent routine for a few days. I don't want to take my 10yo son to Miskonduct, as that would either mean that he would be hanging around in the LCS workshop or downstairs in the shop. Either way, I don't want to impose him on either the LCS presenters and the other participants, or on the Miskonduct staff. Fortunately, I may have solved that problem but the solution will probably mean about 4 hours driving on either the Friday evening or the Saturday so that he can stay with my wife's relatives in Sydney and be brought home by my wife on her way home on the Sunday night.

A small side effect of that arrangement, or indeed any arrangement involving my going to LCS on the Sunday is that I'm likely to be in full 1950s girl mode when my parents in law deliver my wife and son home...

I also need to get my hair trimmed before I do the LCS workshop. I just realised that, aside from doing the fringe myself and getting my wife to trim the hair on the nape of my neck occasionally, I haven't had it trimmed since just before IMATS last year. That's about a year ago!

23 September 2013

IMATS Sydney 2013

I made it to IMATS. There were a number of things that I intended to mention in this post, but having had a rather big weekend, I'm not sure that I'll remember them all!

As planned, I drove to Wahroonga, caught a train to Town Hall station and walked to Darling Harbour. I didn't wear a 1950s style outfit because I haven't yet bought a suitable handbag. I did, however, decide to do a vaguely 1950s eyeliner and a 1940s 3-roll hairdo (the same style as I wore to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival but unfortunately it didn't turn out anywhere nearly as well as it did last time).

In spite of the fact that I didn't get out between the last outing that I posted about and IMATS, I didn't have a confidence problem. In fact, if anything, Saturday's outing to IMATS showed me that I have my inner f... you, as Linda Karen calls it, in spades.

Quite a bit of the time, I knew that I wasn't passing and I really didn't care. Nobody confronted me, and beyond some laughter in the background at Town Hall station that I have no idea if it was even directed at me, I wasn't even aware of anything more overt than people looking at me funny.

The only person that I bumped into who I already knew from Beauty Heaven and Facebook was Caitlin, who I first met at the First (and so far only) Newcastle Beauty Heaven Meet-up.

I also had an interesting conversation with a makeup artist from Mayfield (a suburb of Newcastle) whose opening words to me were "I read your blog!" She then went on to joke that she had been stalking me on my blog, reading the various stories and, in particular, mentioning that she thought that I was talking about the Mayfield Subway restaurant in my posts about going to Subway en femme. I informed her that no, I was actually talking about the Cardiff one (yes, this is the first time I've mentioned which one it is). My memory for names is shocking and unfortunately I've forgotten her name but I'm hoping that she'll contact me and let me know. The photo above was taken by stalker. :-P

The shoes I wore while travelling were the mustard joggers that I wore when a group of us went to the Estee Lauder staff shop back in 2011. I also wore ankle socks over my pantihose because those shoes really don't suit wearing without socks. The heels that I took with me and wore while I was in the venue were the orange suede Tony Bianco stilettos that I bought at about the same time as the dress, and have worn with the same outfit before.

Remembering last year, I took both a knitted lap rug and a cardigan. I also read the program before the event and planned which presentations I wanted to see. Because I decided to get up at 4:45 (45 minutes later than 2011 but 15 minutes earlier than last year) and took longer getting ready than I had anticipated, I arrived part way through the Eliza Campagna / Dana Nye presentation and decided to skip it and wander around the stands instead. I went to the Rae Morris presentation, which was on the main stage.

After grabbing some lunch, I had just about decided to give up and head home. I changed my shoes back, and then decided to do something that I've avoided on all previous outings. With all of the underwear that I wear to achieve a reasonable simulation of a female shape, I basically have to strip below my bra to use the toilet, then dress again afterwards. As you might imagine, that can be a time consuming process. As it turned out, many of the exhibition halls were empty, so there were a group of toilets far enough away from IMATS to be quite quiet, which included a disabled toilet. Using my wheeled case as a table, I stripped off, did what I had to, and dressed again as quickly as I could while still taking time to make sure that everything was how it should be.

I then changed my mind about heading home, and went back in. I sat down to watch Eve Pearl's presentation on the open forum stage, and realised that this was where the cardigan and lap rug were needed. The main stage has partition walls most of the way around, which help to control the cold air that blows through, whereas the open forum is cold and draughty as I noted last year.

I stayed to watch the presentation of the student competition, wandered around the stands a final time then headed home.

On the way home, I decided to put fuel in my car before I drove home, as I didn't want to have to get off the freeway on the trip home and knew that I didn't have enough fuel. Big mistake, and one I won't make again. It was only a couple of kilometres to the service station, but when I got there, there were cars queued 3 to 4 deep for every bowser. Because my car runs on LPG, I was able to be very cheeky and, when the car in front finally made it to the petrol bowser, I was able to park within about 20cm (8 inches) of that car and use the LPG bowser at the same time. I'd already parked and was opening the fuel door on my car when the guy got out, walked to the back of his car, realised that he couldn't walk between them and walked around the front instead. Once I'd paid for the fuel (using my male credit card with no issue), I had to drive around several back streets to get back to the highway just a few metres the other side of the service station.

On the plus side, I was very aware that I really didn't care what others at the service station might have thought. On the minus side, the whole fuel exercise added over 30 minutes to my trip, whereas getting fuel on the way out of Newcastle would have added 10 minutes at most.

03 September 2013

Saturday outing

With all of the things that are going on around me at present, I didn't expect to be able to get out until at least my nail appointment on Wednesday. An issue with a web site that I have to use for much of my work left me rather limited on what I could do for the last 3 days of the month, which culminated in my making the decision to not even try to work on Saturday.

So, for the first time in 5 months (yes, Kurri Kurri was 5 months ago!), I did my makeup, dressed to coordinate with my orange nails and went out shopping. It was also my first time trying to use different shades of foundation for highlighting and contouring. The contrast between the shades seemed to be so subtle that I wasn't sure whether it actually worked at all or not. I'll have to try it again and make more effort not to put the base colour over the highlighted or contoured areas. I'm thinking that next time, I might do the base colour first, instead of doing it last and trying to fill in between the other shades and running over the edges of them too much.

My outing on Saturday was largely a direct result of seeing a dress advertised as a clearance item on Miskonduct Klothing's facebook page. The one that I most wanted sold before I could get to try it, but there was another one that looked like it might also work for me. The reason for wanting another dress even though I'm yet to wear the last one that I bought is that if I wear a 1950s style outfit to IMATS, it's probably going to have to be a straight skirt, as I don't think that I'd want to try to do the full skirt on trains and walking from Town Hall station to Darling Harbour and back. The fullness could also be an issue in IMATS, both in crowds and sitting in seminars.

At Miskonduct, I tried the dress that I was hoping to try, and decided to get it. I have realised, though, that I need a suitable handbag and some flat shoes to go with my red and orangey red 1950s outfits, and to that end my next stop was Charlestown Square to look for shoes. It may have been my lack of practice, but I felt that I didn't pass as well as I used to. I visited Sharon at the Tree of Life store, had a look at a few shoe shops and on the way past looked at a few other shops. I found a red lace parasol at one shop for $50 but wasn't sure if the shade would be right. I also spotted a temporary clearance store that had a white lace parasol which I think was $30. I'll probably have another look next time I'm there.

Having felt that my presentation wasn't as good as it should have been, I was inclined to change back into male mode to go to Subway to get dinner. In the end, I did go in girl mode because it would have taken too long to change and there was a risk that the shop would be shut by the time I got there. While the staff have changed since I last went there en femme, I go there often enough that I know most of the current staff. When I got there, there were 2 people working, including a friendly petite young brunette girl and a nervous young male trainee. When I queued up, the girl looked over, obviously recognised me, smiled and then continued serving the person she was already serving.

By a subtle shift in process at the register, the girl made sure that the guy served the person in front of me, so that she got to serve me. I didn't catch exactly what she said the first time, but I think it was "You look different tonight." The subsequent several times, it was "You look really good tonight." :) That helped to make up for the odd glances that I got at Charlestown Square.

Unfortunately, Sunday was back to the reality of work. I have been so busy that I didn't even have time to type this post until now, and even now I didn't really have the time. I considered going to the cafe night tonight, but by last night I knew that I had work that I simply had to do this afternoon and tonight (much of which I'm yet to do), so the cafe night simply wasn't an option.

I also hoped to go to my nail appointment tomorrow en femme, but the same client who I met with in between my meeting with our architect and my nail appointment a fortnight ago insisted on an appointment on Wednesday afternoon this week. Having that already screw up my plans meant that working out that I'm going to have to do several other work related errands before my nail appointment isn't as big a blow as it might otherwise have been.

We have an election coming up on Saturday and, for various reasons, that means that I won't be getting out en femme. If I get a lot of work done over the next few days, there's a remote chance that I might get out again on Sunday but I'm not really all that hopeful of that. Ideally, I'd like to try to get out at least twice before IMATS, to get myself more organised and more confident than I am at present.

26 August 2013

About turn

After posting a link to last night's blog post on Facebook, one of my friends (the guy who recognised me at Kurri Kurri) asked what IMATS was.

I went to the IMATS web site to get the URL to copy to Facebook, and for some reason clicked through to ticket prices. In spite of saying that the price should have gone up on Thursday, the the early pre-sale prices were still showing.

I asked my wife for her opinion, and she said it was up to me.

After realising that it wanted me to log into the site to pay for the ticket, I realised that the password for my account was not on my Android tablet or the computer I use in the house, so I decided that if the price was still down when I got into the office in the morning, I'd buy a ticket.

You guessed it. The price was still down when I got into the office, so I've bought myself a one-day (Saturday) ticket. One way or another, I'm going to IMATS. :)

In response to my time to decide post, GlossQueen suggested that I go in boy mode. At the time, my answer to that was that I'd prefer not to go than to go in boy mode. I've moderated my position a little now that I've bought the ticket. I'm planning on being there no matter what, and boy mode is my worst case fall-back.

I'm yet to decide how I'll be dressing for IMATS. It'll probably be a drive to Wahroonga, catch a train to Town Hall, walk to Darling Harbour deal again like last year. I'm tempted to wear a retro (1950s) outfit with full petticoat, but that's probably not going to be practical for pushing through crowds or sitting at presentations...

25 August 2013


Sometimes you have to rearrange your priorities. The past week has involved a temporary change in priorities that ended my plan to challenge myself to get out en femme before the price of IMATS tickets went up.

As expected, we had a meeting with our architect on Wednesday morning, meaning that I had no chance of getting to my nail appointment en femme. As it turns out, the architect made a suggestion that should make our plans considerably cheaper and faster to build, and I also had a brief but productive meeting with a work client between finishing with the architect and going to the nail appointment, so I was fairly happy with the day overall. Oh, and I've gone with orange nails again this time. ;)

By elimination, that meant that the only day that I could possibly have got out en femme before the IMATS deadline was last Sunday.

To explain what happened on Sunday, I have to first explain my work circumstances. In spite of having described a typical work day back in 2009, I don't think that I've ever actually mentioned that I'm self employed. Instead of paying into superannuation, my wife and I bought an investment property back in 2008. The place was badly overgrown and under maintained when we bought it, and we spent several months getting it up to a rent-able condition. That's where the conversation about eyeliner happened in January 2009. After the work involved in fixing the place up, my wife said that if we ever bought another property, it had to be one that didn't need work!

More recently, the money that we had saved up in an offset account to do our planned house extensions and renovations had reached the point that our investment property was no longer negatively geared, meaning that it was actually making my income tax worse rather than better.

As strange as it might sound, I've been working too much (because the demand won't decrease) and we now need to either get stuck into the house extensions (which we can't do until the plans are approved by council) or we need to buy another investment property so that we owe more money!

This led to a discussion last year with one of my wife's relatives about the idea that we would buy a house in the area of Sydney that they live in, for them to rent from us. They and we have been looking at potential houses since December, but we hadn't found anything suitable.

Last Saturday, I got a message to say that, for the first time, they had looked at a house that they really liked. I had two phone calls from a real estate agent at about 10:30 Sunday morning and ended up organising to go to look at the house on Sunday afternoon! It was a case of drop everything and go, and plans for an outing en femme went by the wayside. We went, we saw, we made an offer. Afterwards, we stopped at the relatives' place for a while, and by the time we left, the offer had been accepted.

So for the past week, between work, I've been organising all the things that have to be done to buy a house. It's mostly in place now, but we'll have several days wait for the loan approval. As long as it is approved, we'll have a few more hours here and there of running around organising things over about 7 weeks, then it will be just the occasional few minutes here and there.

We're still trying to get the plans for our house sorted out as well, and if it all falls into place, the money spent on buying the investment property will mean that we'll probably be building a bit more slowly than originally planned, but we're planning on staging the work, and once we complete stage 1, we'll be able to move into it and slow down or possibly completely stop work for a while.

So, unless someone gives me an IMATS ticket, I'm not planning on going this year. My head is still spinning too much with all of the other things that are happening for me to work out how I feel about that...

17 August 2013

A decision being made for me

It seems that my challenging myself might not work all that well. It's as if the decision is being made for me...

We have been having intermittent trouble with the electricity that comes into our house since at least 2007. There's an autotransformer near us, and it plays up quite badly from time to time. The current problem with it is that sometimes when it steps to adjust the voltage as the load varies on one phase, it arcs and causes a spike. It just so happens that some of our computers are on that phase, and the batteries in two UPSes had failed (without any error to indicate that there was a problem!), meaning that those computers, including the file server, crashed every day for the past few days. Today, it happened mid morning.

Obviously there was no point trying to work if the server was likely to crash and lose whatever work had been done, so I went and bought new batteries for one UPS, so that I could check if it really was a battery problem before buying batteries for the other one. After installing the new batteries, I tested it by plugging 2 spotlights into the output then turning off the power point powering the UPS. Having satisfied myself that the UPS was in fact going to work properly again, I moved it back into place, shut the computers down and moved them across to that UPS. By the time all of that was done I was exhausted and had a headache.

At this point, I doubt very much that I'll get the work done that I was aiming to do today, so I'll probably spend tomorrow working on it...

Monday is work, then dinner with the inlaws.

Tuesday is work then a work related meeting in the evening.

Wednesday is looking like being a meeting with the architect to work on the revised plans for our house extensions and renovations in the morning before my nail appointment. I don't think that I want to do makeup before that meeting, and that's the only way I'd be able to get to my nail appointment en femme!

So, unless the weather improves, my headache clears and I get out tomorrow, it looks as if the decision on whether or not I go to IMATS will be made by tomorrow night.

16 August 2013

Time to decide about IMATS

As I said last week, the price of IMATS Sydney tickets goes up next Thursday. I've decided that I have to make a decision before that, but as I continue to be drowned in work, I know that it's simply not going to be possible to go for both days.

The decision now is whether to go on the Saturday or not. I've come up with a way to help myself decide ~ if I can't get out between now and Wednesday, then what hope do I have of getting to IMATS even if I buy the ticket?

So I've set myself a challenge. If I can manage to get out en femme between now and Wednesday, I'll buy myself a ticket to IMATS. If I don't manage to get out, then I would probably not make it to IMATS either.

It occurred to me that if I somehow manage to get out twice between now and Wednesday, I should buy a 2-day ticket to IMATS, but I'm not likely to organise accommodation in Sydney, and I really don't think that I could do 4am starts (to travel to Sydney and back) both days then head back to work on Monday morning!

After I post this, I'm off to have a lie down until dinner. It's been a long week and I'm exhausted. Even if I manage to do all the preparations that I need to do tonight, I'm not likely to be up early enough tomorrow to go out, and I'll be working Monday and Tuesday, so Sunday and my nail appointment on Wednesday are really the only chances I've got. The odds aren't good, but they're not zero ~ yet.

11 August 2013

Antipodean Beauties: My Favourite Lipstick

I wasn't sure if I'd get to do this, but today is the last day and I've decided to ignore the paperwork that has to be done before 11pm tonight (!) and do this first. :-)

As I mentioned a few days ago, this is part of a makeup challenge. It was started by Omega, from Fashion Adjacent, who I chatted with briefly at IMATS last year after she complimented me on my shoes. It's a small world!

Anyway, moving right along, the first theme is My favourite lipstick. For me, the choice of type of lipstick was easy, but I had to stop and think about my favourite colour.

Over the years, I've tried all sorts of lipsticks. I found very early on that I prefer long lasting lipsticks, because the need to add moisturiser over colour occasionally is far less of an inconvenience to me than having to re-apply colour every few hours. The best long lasting lipsticks that I've found are the Procter & Gamble twins, Max Factor LipFinity and Covergirl Outlast. Surprisingly, in spite of considerable difference in retail price, these are actually just different shades of the same product in similar but different packaging.

When I thought about my favourite colour, I first thought of the several brown and orange shades that I wear with most of my normal clothes, then realised that no, none of them are my favourite. Without a doubt, my favourite is a colour that is part of the whole Retro 1950s style that I love to wear, but wear far too rarely.

So the answer is, Covergirl Lipfinity in 507, ever red-dy.

Here's the blog hop to the other bloggers who took part in this week's challenge (note that you need Javascript enabled for this to work).

08 August 2013


Things have been rather hectic for me recently, particularly with work. Add in having the flu for over a week, replacing my office computer, and using a toner that has turned my face into a peeling mess, and I haven't had any opportunity to even do a makeup trial to see if I can make contouring and highlighting using foundation work for me.

I'm actually starting to wonder if I've lost the confidence I used to have in my makeup skills. I'm not sure whether things are really getting in my way as much as they seem, or whether I'm letting opportunities go by when I could have ignored the apparent needs of others and made the time to practice my makeup.

I now have less than a fortnight to decide whether I am going to IMATS, and if so, whether I'm going for one day or both. After last year, I really wanted to go both days, but with how things have been over the last year or so, I don't even know if I'll get there at all now. The ticket prices go up on 22nd August, so unless I want to pay extra for my indecision, I need to make a decision very soon! In a lot of ways I'd like to do the 2 days, travel down Friday night, stay in the city and come home Sunday evening but I don't know if I'm up to sorting out accommodation and doing my hair and makeup away from home, let alone the time that I'd lose being away from home and work!

Also, I've recently been invited to join in a makeup blogging challenge, which involves posting makeup posts on pre-determined themes. There's a theme every week, and the idea is to post on the Monday. It's not compulsory to post every week, but I suspect that many of the participants will do so. I'm not sure yet, but I might manage to do this week's challenge in the next day or two (okay, it's a long way past Monday but I figure in the first week of the challenge, if I do it at all it's better late than never. :-)

19 May 2013

Red and orange nail reactions

As I mentioned last Sunday, I went to a conference the Friday before that. One of the other attendees offhandedly commented "Oh, red today" in reference to my nails. Nobody else commented, but most if not all of the attendees have met me before, and my nails don't go unnoticed. :)

As I also mentioned last Sunday, a client passed away unexpectedly last week, and his funeral was Wednesday this week. As I had already planned on having my nails done that day, I hadn't booked any clients, so rearranging my schedule was fairly easy. I was able to move my nail appointment to Thursday afternoon. Done.

While I'm quite sure that my client knew about me, out of respect for him and his family, I did the traditional thing ~ I wore a suit to the funeral. I also braided my hair and tucked the plaited tail up under the braid. With a copious quantity of hair spray to keep it in place, the result was that from most angles aside from the back, it's not obvious that the hair is long, and even from the back you can't tell how long it is. Mind you, when I used to do my hair this way, I used to just tuck the tail straight up inside the braid, but my hair is now so much longer that I had to fold it half way down and the fold ended up peeking out the top of the braid.

About the only thing that I didn't change was my nails, which were still bright red.

It was a large funeral. Larger than I think anybody had anticipated. I knew a lot of the people there, and there were really no reactions to my nails because I'm infamous enough that it wasn't a surprise to anybody. The children at the wake were a different story though. One girl in particular spent a considerable time staring at my nails, giggling and whispering to her friends.

On the way home, I needed to drop in to the local Building Society branch to deposit a cheque. I was served by one of the same staff who saw me at Halloween. I think that she was almost as shocked by me in a suit as she was when I wore the Tinkerbell costume. ;)

When I got my nails done on Thursday, I decided to go with the orange polish that I bought at the same time as the China Red. I walked from home to my appointment, and on the way home, I saw my son's school friend and his mother, whose birthday party I went to last year. The boy waved enthusiastically, so I walked over to them and said hello before continuing home. I'm not sure if he just wanted me to come closer so that they could get a better look at my nails or not, but I suspect that that may have been the case. :)

Yesterday, when I went to Charlestown Square to get a foundation sample, I also decided to have lunch there. While I sat eating, a group of 4 girls spent a considerable amount of time staring at my nails.

I am often amused by people's reactions. They brighten up my days. :)

18 May 2013

Contour and highlight using foundation

For years now, I've been using different shades of powder to do highlighting and contouring, and have always found that while my Estee Lauder foundation will hang in there for 13 hours or more, the powder generally fades away before the first time that I need to blot and re-powder.

Having seen a few mentions of doing the contouring and highlighting using foundation instead of powder, I decided that I'd like to try it. While I use a cheap foundation on my neck, my face is so oily that the Estee Lauder Double Wear is the only foundation that I've ever found that actually lasts and doesn't oxidise, so I don't want to use different types of foundation on my face ~ I'd prefer to stick with the one that I know works for me, but get the extra lighter and darker shades. The problem with that is that I didn't want to go out and buy 2 more bottles of expensive foundation in case the colours weren't going to work or I wasn't going to be able to get the hang of it.

The solution came this week in the form of a Facebook promotion by Estee Lauder Australia. The competition prize is a one year supply of Double Wear foundation, with the bonus that they were offering a free foundation sample (nominally enough for 10 days) for entering. All you have to do is go to the Estee Lauder counter at Myer or David Jones and ask...

The reality is that giving away sample quantities is a fairly normal thing. In fact, I've been given one before. I could probably have walked up to an Estee Lauder counter and got a foundation sample or two at any time. It just hadn't occurred to me to ask until I saw the promotion. The obvious thing to do was to go and see if I could get shades of foundation suitable for contouring and highlighting.

Today, I went to Myer in Charlestown Square (in boy mode). The sales assistant had no idea. I really don't think that she understood highlighting and contouring. She commented that I was making things too complicated and that I should be making it simpler instead, and insisted on applying some of the foundation that was intended to be highlight, trying to show me that it was too pale for me. In spite of my telling her that I was after a lighter shade relative to the 2N1 (darkness 2, neutral) Desert Beige that I use, she gave me a cool shade for highlighting, which will inevitably clash with my neutral base. I didn't bother asking if she would also give me a contouring sample.

I just about gave up in disgust, but on my way out of Charlestown I decided to try the Estee Lauder counter at David Jones in Kotara.

I'm glad I did, as the sales assistant was excellent. She clearly understood highlighting and contouring, and what I was trying to achieve. She volunteered the fact that they all had to be neutral shades, as mixing cool or warm with neutral would make them clash. She happily showed me a drop each of my base colour and the darker contour colour side-by-side on the back of her hand. They looked way too different to each other until she blended them a little to show how well they actually worked, and happily gave me the right neutral shades for both highlight and contour relative to my base shade.

I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to try it, but I'm hoping that it will be soon. If it works as hoped and I win the one year supply, I might have to try to get mixed batch of the 3 shades. :)

12 May 2013

Down but not out

I've been fairly depressed recently.

A couple of weeks ago, the regional police media liaison officer, Tony Tamplin, died. This was a guy who had been the media face of the NSW Police Force in the Newcastle/Hunter Region for many years. He got to work one morning, collapsed and couldn't be revived. He was very well known in the local area, and a lot of people mourned his passing. The funeral was so big that it was held at Newcastle City Hall.

I realised that, when I die, there simply won't be that sort of level of interest. There won't be that many people who care. I'm just one of those people in the background.

Then, on Tuesday this week, I spoke to a work client on the phone. He's about the same age as me, and is a well liked and respected person. He died in his sleep that night. I don't know if he had a known medical condition but I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact that someone my age died in his sleep.

I'm still at the I can't actually believe that he is dead stage of grieving. I've re-scheduled my nail appointment next week so that I can attend his funeral. It is going to be a difficult day for me, and for many other people who knew him.

I've also had a few other time consuming things happen recently, including attending a day long work related conference in Sydney, which meant getting up at 5:30am, catching 2 trains and a bus to the venue, then reversing that process to get home around 7:30pm. While the conference went very well and was very productive, I didn't get to sleep until after 2am, leaving me completely wiped out on Saturday.

As a consequence, I've fallen a long way behind with emails, paperwork, etc., and that makes me even more depressed. The pressure that it creates makes me less likely to spend time transforming myself to go out en femme, because I feel that I can't afford that time. Re-scheduling my nail appointment also guarantees that I won't be able to get to that appointment en femme, because I'll be working in the morning then finishing work at lunch time to go to the appointment.

To top it all off, today is Mothers Day in Australia. I rang my mother and unfortunately, as usual, she made a negative remark my nails. Even if I do manage to get some productive work done in what little is left of today, it's likely that there will be some comfort eating happening too. :(

05 May 2013

China Red

After Wednesday's disappointment of discovering that the red nail polish that I'd bought the previous Saturday was not the same shade as the one that I'm wearing, I finally managed to get back to the pharmacy to have another look for the "China Red" colour that I wanted.

I wasn't sure what time they closed, so before I went I thought I'd best look up their web site to find out. I then discovered that they have another outlet a little closer to me, but in a different direction. The closer one was open until 4:30pm and the other one was open until 6pm.

Since I didn't remember there being very many bottles of red polish where I'd gone before, I decided to try the closer one, and if I found nothing there, I'd then go back to the other one.

They had a stand the same as the first one had ~ the nail polish bottles jumbled in a hemispherical clear plastic bowl on a stand. I worked my way through and found a different shade of red again, but I'm pretty sure that it was darker than the one that I was looking for so I left it.

While there, I realised that the shop next door was a party supply place, and had some fancy dress costumes, so I wandered in and had a look around. There was a blood-spattered Alice-in-wonderland costume that seemed a little more expensive than I thought it should have been, and an angel outfit that seemed reasonably priced until I realised that it only included the dress itself ~ no halo or wings. Mind you, the cut of the dress was such that I suspect that my 1950s style petticoat that I wore to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival would probably work with it. If I find wings and a halo that I'm happy with, it could be an option for Halloween this year if I decide not to wear the Tinkerbell outfit again and can't fit into the Red Riding Hood costume that I bought last year. :)

Having finished there, I headed back to the first pharmacy where I'd bought the wrong shade in the first place. The traffic between the to places was abnormally bad, and they were having a problem with a malfunctioning automatic door, but I managed to get in and made my way back to the nail polish stand.

Having lucked out at the other store, I didn't have much hope of finding the shade that I was after, but looked anyway. I found a bright orange metallic colour that I liked the look of and decided that I'd get regardless. Then, just as I was about to give up, I fished a bottle of red up from the bottom of the bowl, turned it over and read the label ~ China Red. Yay. :)

02 May 2013

Fluke fail

Well, the theory was great. I thought that the bottle of red nail polish that I bought the other day was the same colour as the one that I've been wearing for the past 8 weeks or so...

Even with the two bottles side by side, they looked the same. On the nails was a different story, though. The one I bought was distinctly pink. Too pink that a second coat would bring it back to the orangey shade that I was after.

Looking at the labels revealed that the one that I like is called "China Red", while the other one is labelled "Red door red".

So my nails were again done from the nearly empty bottle at the salon, and I don't have a new bottle the same. At least I didn't waste too much money on it. :)

It's now got me wondering if I should donate the colours that I won't ever wear to the salon so that at least someone can get some use out of them...

29 April 2013


Okay. Now I'm confused.

I mentioned yesterday that I'd contacted someone who had apparently unfriended me on Facebook some time ago. On the basis that he appeared to have implied that he hadn't unfriended me, I sent him another friend request.

It appears that he has since deleted the friend request.

Either that, or Facebook is so screwed up that it has deleted the request for him.

Which puts me back to square one. I still don't know whether there really is a glitch in Facebook that unfriends people, or whether it's just a convenient excuse...

Or maybe its just me. :-/

28 April 2013

Facebook auto-unfriend revisited

Back in January, I wrote about my suspicion that there is a bug in Facebook that causes it to unfriend people with no input from the people involved.

Judging by the fact that that post is currently the 4th most read post of all time on my blog, and the number of variations in search terms relating to Facebook auto-unfriending that show up in the statistics for my blog, a lot of people are clearly asking the same question.

With that in mind, I decided to contact one of the people who "unfriended" me several months ago, leading me to write that blog post in January. This is someone who I have known for a few years, and it genuinely surprised me when my girl profile was unfriended by him, particularly as he is still friends with my boy profile and his wife and several other friends remain friends with both. I even spoke with him at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival, where I was obviously in girl mode...

Knowing that there could have been a genuine reason why he might have needed to unfriend my girl profile because of other people, I sent him a message firstly stating that I would be fine with the answer either way, briefly explaining the whole "is Facebook doing this?" issue, then asking if he had unfriended my girl profile.

In his answer, he not only said that he hasn't unfriended anybody in quite some time, but that other people have asked him the same question!

In reply, I said:
I hate to think how many people have had friendships damaged by this screw-up on Facebook's part!
I think that the message here is that if someone appears to have unfriended you on Facebook and you can't see a reason why they would have done so, it would probably be a good idea to contact them to see whether it was deliberate or whether Facebook has decided to randomly discard your friendship.

I'm yet to work out whether this means that C's unfriending of me was deliberate or not. Her political antagonism would tend to suggest that she would have done it deliberately, but her claim not to have a problem with me suggests that it might have been a Facebook glitch. If it was a Facebook glitch, that glitch may well have been the difference between going back to the cafe nights, at least occasionally, and not going since September last year.

I have read a few newspaper articles about being unfriended on Facebook having lead to assault and murder. I have to wonder not only whether this apparent Facebook glitch has actually caused assaults and perhaps murder, but also how many people who suffer from depression (as I do) it has affected, and whether it may even have led to suicide. That's a lot of real world implications for a computer glitch!

27 April 2013

A $2.50 fluke

I've been wearing the same orangey red nail polish for about 5 weeks now. I started wearing it recently for the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival because it works well with 1950s style outfits, and continued wearing it because I quite enjoy the reactions...

Not that I get a lot of reactions, but when they do happen they can be quite funny. Yesterday, I had a 90 minute meeting with a work client who had never met me before. He didn't say anything about them, but I lost count of how many times he glanced at my nails. :)

This nail polish was one from a random selection that the salon has, and with me using it frequently their bottle is now close to empty. I was starting to think that I'd soon have to choose something else.

Today, I went to a pharmacy that I rarely go to, because I was after a box of Blackmore's Radiance, a skin and hair supplement that I've been using for years. The place I used to get it from most often no longer carries it, and it's generally overpriced at Priceline where I can get it if I really have to.

While at the pharmacy, I decided to browse the beauty section. As I gave up looking and headed towards the registers, I spotted a stand of cheap nail polish with a familiar looking bottle shape. I only saw one bottle of my favourite red, but at $2.50 I probably would have grabbed more if I'd seen them. I might have to go back again soon and have a more thorough look. :)

23 April 2013

Cafe, not quite yet

It seems that I'm not as ready to go back to a cafe night as I thought I was.

I couldn't get there last week because I'd already booked work for Tuesday that prevented me finishing early enough to get there.

I knew that I would finish early enough today, so I did my usual preparatory work last night including epilating my face, shaping my brows and shaving around my hairline.

I finished work early, as expected. I was so convinced that I was going to go that I took off my shoes and socks to allow the sock marks to dissipate shortly after I finished work. Around 4pm, while waiting for my son to finish with the bathroom so that I could straighten my hair and start getting ready, I went onto facebook. Big mistake!

While looking through my news feed, I found a photo that had been posted to encourage people to come along to the cafe night, with a comment of "you never know who will show up". Unfortunately, the photo contained both C and the central person from the sub-group who went out of their way to reject me.

The idea of going to a cafe night and both of them being there was too much for me to cope with. I simply shut down.

14 April 2013

Cafe, perhaps

Following a couple of recent posts, about trying to work out where to go out, and clarifying things that have happened at the cafe nights in the past, I've been told by one of the regular attendees that C claims not to have a problem with me.

Based on her previous behaviour, I have some reservations about the accuracy of that, but I'm now giving consideration to trying to go to a cafe night and see what happens.

I'm a little nervous about trying to go back, because if all goes well, I may go more often again, but if things turn pear shaped it could make it impossible to ever go back.

I guess I'll have to decide whether to do the full retro outfit, something more modern and mundane or something in between ~ with 5 to 6" stilettos of course. :-P

09 April 2013

Bright red nails at work - revisited

In a couple of days time, my blog post about the first time I wore bright red nail polish at work (in boy mode) will be 2 years old. The second anniversary of the actual event slipped by last Saturday without me realising it.

I've come a long way since then. Now, I think nothing of wearing bright red on my nails at work all the time.

Yesterday, I had a funny little incident at work. I was with a client whose girlfriend is visiting from overseas. She saw my nails from the cab of his truck and decided that she wanted to see them up close. When the client and I were heading into my office, his girlfriend came into the office with us, and wanted to play with my hands! It took about 20 seconds of her holding onto my hand and admiring my nails before he could convince her to let go so that I could use the mouse on my computer. When they left, she made a comment that I didn't catch, and he said that she wanted to my long fingers and long nails.

Still no negative or confrontational responses, but certainly some funny ones!

08 April 2013

Cafe nights - a clarification

In my last post, I mentioned that I no longer feel welcome at the local cafe nights. This generated several responses both here and on Facebook, and I thought that I should clarify the situation.

The short summary is that I have several ongoing personal issues and I don't want them to impact on the group, because I believe that what the group was created to do is a good idea and I don't want it to fail.

Stephanie suggested that I take my girl friends to the same place and let the others see that they weren't needed to have a good time. There are two problems with that.
  1. That's not the sort of person I am ~ I get on okay with most of the members of the group and, even if I didn't, I wouldn't want to be nasty to them like that, because I know how it feels, because,
  2. That is exactly what was done to me once by others to show that they rejected me. I sat alone at the reserved table for most of a night, only to discover that 3 or 4 others (including someone I thought was a friend for over 20 years) had deliberately sat elsewhere in the restaurant just out of my sight. It was an incredibly hurtful thing to have done to me, and it achieved nothing except hurt, as to this day I still don't know what I was supposed to have done to cause their behaviour.

That sub-group (who seem to have since disappeared) went out of their way to make it clear that they rejected me but were happy to socialise with the rest of the group at the time. It was made very clear that I was the problem.

In spite of that, I wanted to ensure that the nights would continue and the only way to do that at the time was to continue going regularly while a core group of regulars was established.

Late in 2011, ahead of changes to my work circumstances, I got very busy for a while, working over 80 hours per week for several weeks. I stopped going to the cafe nights, not only because I was too physically exhausted but also because of ongoing political antagonism from one other member of the group (who I'll call C) and a frequent feeling that I was being sidelined.

I don't think that I've ever mentioned the feeling of being sidelined before, in part because I have never been able to work out whether it was entirely in my head or whether it really was happening. It is a hard feeling to explain, but I often felt that others in the group would turn away from me to converse, ignoring me and leaving me on my own in the corner. That feeling was present for part of the night almost every time that I went to a cafe night, and while I know that it did physically happen, I don't think that it was intentional on the part of most of the people who attended.

The political antagonism was harder to deal with. For a long time, I didn't mention it either. At one point, I considered C to be a friend. Over time, however, the fact that we had different political opinions seemed to become more and more of an issue to her, and while I was prepared to accept that she was a socialist and just try to avoid talking about politics, she seemed to increasingly feel the need to attack my moderate opinions and beliefs.

After my work circumstances changed, I found myself taking forced holidays. The combination of stress, depression and exhaustion flattened me. I did virtually nothing for a few months. My weight went up, my interest in doing anything went down. I went to cafe nights infrequently, and even after I started working again I struggled to do anything except work and basic day-to-day necessities.

When I did make the effort to go out to a cafe night, I didn't enjoy it. The political antagonism happened every time C was there, the feeling of being sidelined was there every time and I couldn't bring myself to leave before the group photos at the end of the night. The latter was a problem because I needed to get my sleep patterns sorted out by getting to bed earlier than I was, but others in the group wanted the evenings to end as late as possible.

As far as I can figure out, none of the other members of the group have a problem with each other or with me, except C, who is still there almost every week.

The main thing that is stopping me from going back at present is the fact that there's a real possibility that if C is there and starts up about politics, I may snap, throw something at her or pour something over her head and storm out. I don't want to cause dramas for the group or for the restaurant, so I simply haven't gone there.

07 April 2013

What to do, where to go

I have a bit of a quandary at the moment.

I want to go out more often, but with the whole drama with not feeling welcome at the cafe nights any more (the person who convinced me to stop going no longer speaks to me and has since, fairly unsurprisingly, un-friended me on facebook), I'm at a loss as to where to go for outings other than occasional special occasions such as IMATS, Halloween and the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival.

I want to make more effort to try to get to my nail appointments en femme, but even that seems to be difficult a lot of the time because of work and not getting to sleep early enough.

I'd also like to get out shopping occasionally, but recently it just feels like too much effort to get dressed up just to go out shopping for an hour or two. That's silly, really, because I used to do exactly that, and I enjoyed it!

I'd also like to get to meet-ups with other members of Beauty Heaven, but there haven't been any that I know of recently in Newcastle or Sydney.

06 April 2013

Very out on Facebook

On the Thursday night between getting my nails done and going to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival, I went shopping with my family and noticed an unusual number of people do double takes at my bright red nails, which led me to post this joking comment on my boy profile on facebook:

Guys, looking for a way to get reactions from people?

Tattoos not doing the trick?

Piercings all over your face not doing the trick?

Outrageous t-shirts not doing the trick?

Try long fingernails painted bright red. Even guys with tatts and a face full of piercings react. :-P
Enough people know that I really do have long nails and know that I'm a crossdresser that there was a long series of joking comments in response to that.

I followed that up with a post about the fact that I was planning on going to Kurri Kurri, and another after I got back, both without any detail about how I was dressed. One of my comments on the latter post was:
I'm not sure how people would react if I posted a photo. ;-)

Several of the comments in response to that came from people who are also friends with my girl profile, and one even made reference to Alice. Sometime around 1am Saturday, I decided to post the full length photo, albeit without the link to my blog. Trying to be a little bit subtle, I originally uploaded it visible only to me, then set the date and time of the photo to the previous Sunday afternoon when it was taken so that's where it would show up on my timeline instead of when it was uploaded. I later made it visible to about a quarter of my friends, all of them people who already knew about me and probably would have seen the photo elsewhere. Some time later, I changed the setting to be visible to all of my facebook friends.

There have been a number of comments on the photo, including one referring to Alice, which I replied to from my girl profile... Almost immediately, my girl profile got a friend request from one of my work clients... Considering that my friends on Facebook include one of my neighbours who has never said anything, my father in law and many other friends, relatives and work clients, I guess you could say that I'm now very out on Facebook, and there have been no directly hostile responses and so far just one unfriending, by one of my wife's relatives, which may or may not be related to the posting of this photo.

I don't think I'll start looking at rationalising my profiles down to one just yet, though. I now see that as a possibility, but probably not any time soon.

05 April 2013

Kurri Kurri - a day out

After all of the dramas getting ready, I ended up arriving around 2pm, knowing that the Best Dressed Parade that I had intended to enter wasn't until 3pm. What I didn't know was that they closed entries for it just before 2pm. :(

After finding a parking spot a couple of blocks from the event, I found my way to the Miskonduct stall and said hello. I then went in search of a few other people I know, starting amongst the market stalls on the grass of the park. After saying hello to a couple of other people, I was told where some friends' cars were parked, and I set off in search of them.

I caught up with Heather, who I went to school with, and who had been in the best dressed parade last year. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that she caught up with me, as she saw me and came up behind me. I changed from my flat shoes to my heels while standing in the shade chatting to her, and a guy wandering past asked if he could take our photo, which we agreed to. I haven't seen that photo on line anywhere so far, but I have to wonder if he had any idea that I wasn't the woman that I appeared to be. :)

Because of where I had been told some of my friends were parked, I did a loop of much of the area, in heels, looking for them. Sadly, because it was such a hot day, many of the people that I had hoped to see had already left by the time I arrived.

Because it was so hot and sunny, I ended up returning to Miskonduct's stall, changing back to my flats and getting only fleeting glances of the best dressed parade from the shade of their pop-up gazebo.

After that, I wandered around a bit more in my flat shoes, including walking past the stall of a guy that I know but wasn't intending to approach. I made the silly mistake of looking towards him, saw him looking at me and worried that he would recognise me, all in the space of a few seconds. Obviously, the fact that I looked at him and he saw my reaction meant that he looked closely enough to recognise me. He then followed me to the stall next to his and said hello. :)

I left around 5pm, while most of the market stalls were packing up. On the down side, aside from the random guy who took the photo of Heather and me, I don't think that any other photos were taken of me while I was there. On the up side, when I got back to my car, the sun had shifted and my car was fully in the shade of a large tree. Yay! :)

The day out also included another new experience for me. Driving in a full petticoat. I'd never done that before! It was awkward getting into the car and getting comfortable, but getting out was as easy as climbing out in the usual ladylike manner then swishing the skirt and petticoat back and forth a few times to get everything settled into place.

After I got home, I got my wife to snap a few full length photos against a backdrop of a dilapidated wall with peeling paint, and I snapped a few other photos myself. I need to remember to get photos while I'm out and about, as I have a bad habit of forgetting!

Yes, I do plan to go to the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival next year. Not only am I hoping to be better organised, but a major new freeway will open later this year that will reduce the time it takes to get from here to there by almost half compared to the heavy, slow traffic that I experienced on Sunday. I might even get there both days! :)