28 December 2015

My mother just joined Facebook

The only person who has, to date, consistently told me that I shouldn't have my nails long and painted is my mother.

Not including yesterday, every time she had the opportunity, she'd make it perfectly clear that she didn't approve.

Imagine the response that I was bracing myself for, when my mother (who is older than my Oldsmobile) suddenly appeared on Facebook and sent me a friend request.

It turns out that, on Christmas Eve, she was with one of her neighbours at a street party and the conversation got on to seeing family at Christmas. Somehow, it evolved to the neighbour taking my mother's photo and assisting her in creating a profile using the neighbour's mobile phone.

When they went looking for people to send friend requests to, they found the profile photo of my boy profile... After my test run outing last month, I updated my profile photo from the one that I had used from last year, to the one from last month.

In view of her disapproval of my nails, I anticipated similar disapproval of my profile photo.

Yesterday morning, she rang me to let me know that, while she had joined Facebook, she was having trouble using it. In fact, she couldn't even log in using her computer and the neighbour who had created the account was now overseas visiting relatives. She had rung my brother, and he had logged into her account with his computer to test that it was working, and told her that the problem had to be with her computer.

So yesterday afternoon, I went to visit my parents, and they both stood and watched as I sorted out the problem. Her account indeed failed to log in on her computer. To work out why, I typed her password into a new browser tab (without pressing enter), intending to cut and paste it. I discovered that, due to a keyboard fault, some characters were intermittently appearing as accented versions of the intended character. Once I had the correctly typed password, I cut and pasted it, and Facebook happily logged her in. I also ticked the Keep me logged in box, so hopefully my father will be able to sort out the keyboard problem before she needs to log in again!

I then spent some time adjusting privacy settings, sorting out the waiting friend requests, etc, while explaining all of it, and giving her a bit of a run down on how to use the most important aspects of Facebook. I'm anticipating having to go back again in a few days to go through some of it again, and answer any additional questions that she might have.

At some point, she remarked that she and her neighbour had seen my profile photo when looking for my profile to send a friend request. I don't remember the adjective that she used (I think that I might have been in shock), but she commented that they both thought that I looked [quite] good.

I'll just have to wait and see if this also means that she'll no longer make negative remarks about my nails...

26 December 2015

Experiencing vulnerability

Something that I've touched on in the past, is the feeling of vulnerability that I have experienced in the past while out en femme.

I recently came across this article, which I think is very relevant to anybody who was raised as male but goes out in public as female, regardless of whether they are part time or full time.

It's not something that I thought of before, but I suspect that this may be part of why transwomen are more likely to experience violence than women who were raised as female. We don't have the years of childhood training of fear of males and how to avoid conflict with them.

The feeling of vulnerability is something that I assume that the vast majority of us have experienced at some time or other, but it was interesting to find a couple of articles, one from the UK Sun newspaper, and the other from Pink News, about how Eddie Redmayne felt vulnerable on set while playing Lile Elbe.

16 November 2015

To do list

I mentioned yesterday that there were a few things that I wasn't happy with, with my test run on hair and makeup after such a long time not getting any practice.

I decided to write myself a list before I forgot. The things that I need to work on for next time.

Perhaps the silliest thing of all was that, in spite of actually looking at the hat before I started, I mixed up mirror images and photos, and did my hair back to front relative to which side of the hat should have been the bottom. It probably doesn't matter a lot, because it's probably not obvious to other people, but I know that I got it wrong. The fabric "flowers" on the hat are supposed to be near the bottom edge, but by putting the rolls on the wrong side, I forced myself to put the hat on the opposite side, meaning that the flowers were at the top of the hat.

The other thing about the hair at the front was that with the hat this far over, there was a rather empty looking space on the top. I'm pretty sure that it would look better with three rolls, so that the hat tucked against the side of the top roll.

The hair at the back was a completely separate issue. I tried to use setting lotion to put it into a single large spiral as I've done a few times before, but I was in too much of a hurry, and didn't get enough lotion into the hair to wet it thoroughly enough. I spiralled it and clipped it up with a sectioning clip before I did my makeup, but when I undid the clip, the hair basically just fell down in a frizzy mess. Next time, I need to either set it in a row of hot rollers so that I get a row of wavy spirals, tie it in a side pony and spray it so that it stays as a solid spiral, or put it up. I've done a Gibson Roll fairly successfully, I've worn a snood with some difficulty getting it to stay in, but I haven't managed to do victory rolls yet. I'm pretty sure that the hat would work well on top, between victory rolls, but I've got to try to work out how to get the rolls to stay in place.

Because I do makeup including a light touch of contouring between my breasts and highlighting over the breasts, I put my breast forms on before I start on makeup. I'm pretty sure that they ended up about half an inch too high today! An old rule of thumb is that, if you fold your arms, your breasts should be resting on your arms. If there is a gap, the breasts are too high.

Eyeliner is something that I'm still re-learning because of the change in my eyelids from the blepharoplasty. Before, whatever eyeliner I did would always be hidden by my lids and the liner would transfer onto the underside of the drooping part of the lids. Now, there's a reasonable width of lid that doesn't get covered, but I found from today's effort that I will have to do a narrower line than I tried today, as one side still got a little transfer.

I've also realised after looking at photos, that I need to work on both the length and angle of the flick at the outer end of each eye. With mascara applied and my eyes open, the flicks disappeared.

I also discovered two problems with my brows. One, the natural colour is darker and browner than my hair, and the only way that I could get my brows to look right with my hair was to add some brown through the length of the brows to hide the fact that the natural colour extends through less than a third of the length of each brow, thus toning down the auburn. It worked, but I probably need to reduce the darkness of the brows a little more by selective tweezing of the darkest hairs.

I also need to be more thorough in shaping my brows! After I applied my foundation, and drew on my brows, there were some rather obvious stray hairs under my brows.

Aside from that, the overall makeup application was fair but it was obvious that I was out of practice.

Two other things that I know that I need to practice again are walking in heels, and my voice. While I went out in flats, I briefly tried heels after I got home, and my ankles didn't want to flex far enough to walk properly. I could write a couple of years worth of blog posts about my voice. Suffice to say that on today's outing I whispered while I was out, as the only direct interaction was at a busy checkout where the nodding and shaking of my head to correspond with my responses meant that the vocal responses were actually superfluous.

Finally, there is the elephant in the room. At least, I feel somewhat like an elephant when I look at the depressingly large "spare tyre" around my abdomen. Short of buying a proper corset in my current size, there is no way that I can squash my waist in to be the size that I want it to be. :-(

15 November 2015

Test run

After realising that I hadn't been out for a year, I began thinking about what was stopping me.

I've had my hair dyed to a brighter shade of auburn since January, and I had my eyes done in July. I really wanted to see how both of these things would affect my presentation.

In the back of my mind, I already knew what the problem was.

Lack of practice.

I knew that I was going to need to experiment with brow and hairline colouring for the change of hair colour, and with eyeliner to suit the change in my eyes.

The problem was that I'd got to the point where I was so out of practice with both hair and makeup that I didn't know how long it would take me to do it, if I could even get it to work.

For months, I've been wanting to practice both hair and makeup, but on the rare occasions that I'm not actually working face-to-face with customers, I've always got something else that needs to be done.

Today, I finally made the decision that I would ignore the work that is waiting and take the time to experiment. The sequence was to partly do the hair, do all of the makeup, then complete the hair.

There were details that I wasn't happy about, but overall, I was happy enough to dress and duck out to the local supermarket. I only wore flats, and I knew that my presentation wasn't as good as I would have liked, but at least I got out the door.

06 November 2015

not very happy anniversary

Facebook's "On This Day" feature alerted me to the fact that yesterday was a rather unhappy anniversary for me.

It was 12 months since the last time that I did my hair and makeup, and went out en femme.

I checked my diary from back then, and found that I'm also 8kg heavier than I was then, which limits my options for outings because it significantly reduces my wardrobe options.

I did buy another couple of dresses several months ago, which I never managed to complete a blog post about even though I took photos. I'm about 5kg heavier than I was when I bought them, so it's possible that they would still work if I could find a strong enough corset...

At present, I have no idea when I might next get out en femme.

26 September 2015

Getting coated

In spite of not having dressed or been out in about 10 months, I've still been looking for a red wool coat, as it's something that I'd been looking for, for some time. Up until a few days ago, I was looking for a new coat in a vintage style.

(C) Circa Vintage
Then I found a genuine 1950s wool/mohair coat at Circa Vintage, in my size, cheaper than most of the reproductions that I've been looking at! It was on sale at $55. With postage, it came to $70.

I was going to include a link to the listing for the coat on the web site, but the listing was removed once the sale was processed. Until the coat arrives (probably Monday or Tuesday), I only have this one photo from the web site, scrounged from my web browser's cache. From the measurements given on the web site, the coat should be just about the perfect size for me, and the woman shown wearing it is probably a couple of sizes smaller and considerably shorter than me. From the measurements, the sleeve length should be just about perfect for me, and the (raised) hem should be a little above my knees. There is the option of letting the hem down if I so desire.

24 September 2015

Bilateral Blepharoplasty

I had bilateral blepharoplasty surgery done in early July.

In simple terms, bilateral means both sides, a blepharoplasty is removal of excess skin from an eyelid. It's done by taking a piece like a crescent moon out of the lid then stitching it up, so that the scar ends up mostly hidden in the lid fold.

I took quite a few photos over the first ten days, and decided that they were too gross to share. Then life got busy and this post sat unfinished, because I hadn't added photos.

I kept telling myself that I'd do makeup and take photos showing how much better my eyeliner will look, but that hasn't happened either. The before and after photos at right are from the last time I went out en femme (November last year) and tonight without makeup. Those really are the same eyes!

I was told by someone who had the same procedure years ago, that if the lids were drooping onto the lashes, I might be eligible for a Medicare rebate because the drooping lids could be contributing to headaches, meaning that there is a legitimate medical reason to have it done. I've had ongoing headache problems for years, and I didn't think that this would really make a difference but I was interested in getting the procedure at least partly paid for.

Of the $1200 that the procedure cost, I got rebates from Medicare and my private health insurance totalling about $350.

To top it all off, the prediction that I had ignored, that it would help to reduce headaches, was also correct. I haven't had headaches as often since the surgery, and those that I have had have not been as bad as that headaches that I got before. :-)

28 May 2015

Optometrist, revisited

I mentioned back in November last year that I went to my optometrist en femme to collect contact lenses, and that the staff behaved as they would have if I had been there in boy mode.

Yesterday, I had to go in for an eye test, which I did in boy mode. One of the staff who was there last time was away on holidays, and another woman who had worked there before was back filling in. That meant that the optometrist and one of the other staff members were the same people as were there in November.

Not a word was said about how I was dressed last year. Nor were remarks made about my nails, as had happened on previous visits. In fact, mirroring their behaviour last year, everything was exactly as before.

I'm not sure but I think that they simply said nothing because they were not sure how to approach the subject and I didn't say anything about it to start a conversation. I don't think that they were actually uncomfortable with it. If they had been, I think that I would have seen subtle changes in their behaviour.

13 April 2015


I did something silly yesterday. I was trying to break up some plastic to put it in the bin, and the wrong thing broke...

Fortunately, nail glue saved the day...

The second photo was taken just after I glued it. A couple of hours later, I buffed the glue and it's a lot harder to spot than it was even in this photo. :-)

10 April 2015


I've recently realised that my life is completely on hold, and has been for some time.

I'm waiting, but I can't work out what I'm waiting for ~ the complete breakdown of my marriage, the point at which I reach the bottom of a depression cycle and kill myself (unlikely, but it remains a possibility when I'm really stressed), our son reaching adulthood and moving out, progress on house extensions (possibly with a revision so that we have separate rooms ~ I know that the extensions won't solve our relationship problems but they may make it possible to live more separate lives without actually separating), or something else ~ I don't know what.

My depression, comfort eating, inability to concentrate on work (leading to a work backlog that keeps me permanently behind and stressed about the work that is not done), significant weight gain (I'm around 95kg ~ the heaviest I've ever been), feeling of being unwelcome in my own home (which means no practising hair, makeup or voice), etc are all folding in on each other, leaving me an emotional and physical wreck.

As a consequence, I completely missed the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival this year, and didn't get to the Street Rod Nationals at Easter in girl mode either, having gone in boy mode to take my son on Sunday.

The Street Rod Nationals are an annual event that is held in a different state each year. I think that this was the first year it's ever been in Newcastle, and will be several years before it will even be in New South Wales again. Given the focus on vehicles from the mid 1960s and older, it is connected with the whole retro pinup dress style, so if I'd been up to it, I would have had valid reasons for three days of outings over two consecutive weekends. Instead, it's now over five months since my last outing, in spite of having my nails done regularly, and my recent move to having my hair dyed regularly.

So, I don't know what I'm waiting for or how to move past whatever it is, but in the meantime, life is passing me by and there doesn't seem to be anything that I can do about it.

06 February 2015

A shadowy match

I must be getting a bit slow in my old age. It took me a few days after getting my hair dyed to realise that I didn't have an eyeshadow that was a close enough match my new hair colour to do my brows and to fill in my hairline.

The first chance that I had to get out to look for a suitable eye shadow was Wednesday, a full week later.

Having found that the shop in Charlestown Square where I bought my last bottle of China Red nail polish no longer stocked that shade, I also needed to go to a different shop that I knew had previously had it. There was one in the Kotara Homemaker Centre (a "bulky goods" and "factory outlet" area), which is quite close to Westfield Kotara). The logical answer, then, was to see if I could get the nail polish, then try some of the stores in westfield Kotara for the eye shadow. If I struck out there, I could continue up to Charlestown Square to try more stores there.

First stop, nail polish. I found a stand with the right brand of polish, spun it around and found the colour that I was after. The top of the stand proclaimed that the price was now $3.50 per bottle, up from the previous $2.50. I figured that I may as well grab two since the place isn't that convenient for me to get to.

While I was there, I decided that I may as well have a look at eye shadows in case they had something suitable. One of the young women there asked if she could help me, so I explained what I was after. She looked and discovered quite quickly that they had nothing suitable.

When she went to the register to put the nail polishes through, it turned out that they still scanned at $2.50 per bottle. :-)

I then drove to Wesfield, and immediately headed to David Jones, who have the largest range of cosmetic brands in the centre. I walked around a little looking at colours and spotted a Dior powder that looked promising. Before I had a chance to test the sample, one of the sale assistants asked what I was looking for. Once I explained, she led me all over the cosmetics section, finding only one MAC colour, Brick Red, that was vaguely close but too red.

The sales assistant suggested that I look at the brand Chi Chi at Target, because they often have bright colours. So I walked to Target (at the other end of the centre), and looked at Chi Chi. None of the colours were suitable, but in the next aisle I found a BYS tester that looked very promising. HS75 LOL. I swiped some onto my thumb, then had to find a mirror sveral aisles away so that I could compare the colour on my thumb to my hair. It looked close enough to take the gamble on its $6.95 price tag.

Tonight, I tried doing a quick application on my brows then comparing it to my hair colour. Without foundation, it's still not a thorough test of the colour. It showed up the fact that it's not all that strongly pigmented but it confirms that it should be a close enough shade to do the job.

28 January 2015

Something I've been wanting to do for a while now...

Today was a good day. :-)

This is not a wig. I finally got my hair dyed. Properly.

The last time I tried to get it dyed, the local hairdresser that I went to talked me into only having foils, and I wasn't happy either with the colour, which I thought was too red, or the fact that I knew that the ends were damaged but she didn't see the damage and therefore didn't remove it. Back then I found split ends almost straight after it had been cut.

After that experience, I tried a DIY semi-permanent colour that only really created subtle highlights, and I had it trimmed a few times by a different local hairdresser, who subsequently moved away.

This time, I trekked to the other side of town to Hair by Sophie, who came highly recommended, and not just because Sophie works part time at Miskonduct Klothing. ;-) Sophie is an award winning colourist, and it shows in her work. I showed her a childhood school photo on my phone, and she got the colour just right.

I think that it's the first time that I've ever been completely happy with my hair when I've left a hairdresser, and still been happy with it when I've looked at it after I got home!

It wasn't until after the dye was done that I realised how close the colour is to the "flame red" wigs that I used to wear. Both the wigs and the dye colour were chosen based on aiming for the colour that my hair was in childhood, so it makes sense that they'd be similar...

It'll be interesting to see how people react, since it will obviously also be this colour in boy mode, too. :-)

PS the odd little wrinkle in my hair is because I had it tied up while I was eating dinner. It wasn't like that when Sophie finished it. The before and after photos on her Facebook page are much better than my photo!

13 January 2015

Taped toes

I've struggled for a long time with wearing the red Siren stilettos that go so well with most of my red retro outfits. As I've mentioned before, they simply aren't as comfortable as the many pairs of Tony Bianco heels that I have.

Someone posted a link on Facebook recently about how to be more comfortable in heels, and aside from the obvious things like wearing shoes that fit properly, one of the surprise suggestions was to tape the third and fourth toes together. There is a nerve that runs down the foot and splits between those toes. Apparently wearing heels tends to aggravate that nerve, but taping the toes together prevents that aggravation.

Today, I decided to try it. Using 1.25cm (0.5") Leukoflex plastic medical tape, I taped the toes together so that they were firm but not tight. I could feel the tape while my feet were bare, but it was loose enough that I could easily ignore it. With shoes on, I wasn't even aware that the tape was there. I wore the shoes for several hours including walking around the house quite a bit, which was far more than I've ever been able to do before.

I wore the tape for about ten hours, including about an hour gardening in heavy socks and boots, with no real discomfort.

Mind you, this post includes a photo that I never thought that I would post. I've always been unhappy with how my feet look, particularly as the fourth toe on each foot curls under the third toe. They've been like that since childhood, probably due to wearing shoes that were too small. Apparently it could have been fixed easily in childhood, but now it would require surgery that has a lot of potential complications. It's not painful, so I have no intention of doing anything about it except wearing closed toe shoes! On top of that, the photo was taken shortly after taking off the high heeled shoes, so there are several unsightly pressure marks.

06 January 2015

A step in the right direction

Over the past few days, I've been trying to work out how to address my weight gain and screwed up sleep pattern.

Yesterday, I saw a link to this article about depression. It's an interesting read. The basic theory is that depression may in fact be an allergic reaction causing inflammation of the brain.

One of the things that can contribute is body fat, particularly around the belly. So, if I can get the weight down, not only will the depression ease due to actually getting out, but it may also be reduced directly by getting rod of belly fat. That's a win-win solution.

So how do I start?

As it turns out, I actually realised what part of my problem was yesterday. For the past few days, I've been noticing that my stomach seemed to be unusually large ~ a food baby. So I started to consciously think about how much I was eating and drinking and when.

First, I realised that while I'm eating a reasonably healthy cereal for breakfast, I'd been gradually increasing the amount that I put in the bowl each morning. Okay, reset the quantity of cereal.

Then, during the day, I'd have a cup of tea around lunch time. Except that it's a rather large cup... As in 600mL (a pint). Not only is that a fairly large volume to put into the stomach in a fairly short period, but it is also quite a bit of caffeine. I've been drinking cups of tea this large for a long time ~ I had been for some time before I even started this blog, but recently, it had increased from one around lunch time to another after dinner and often one in the afternoon.

Clearly, Ibuprofen isn't the only addiction that I'm struggling with! Aside from that, tea is a diuretic and may be the cause of needing to get up in the middle of the night. So I made the conscious decision to cut out the tea for a while, and drink more water instead.

I still got to bed after 2am last night, but slept through to about 10am. It's a small step, but it seems to at least be a step in the right direction.

05 January 2015

A stupid habit

I've mentioned my screwed up sleep patterns quite a few times before. It, depression and my weight are three of the things that most interfere with my going out en femme. I've lost count of the number of times when I simply haven't got to bed early enough to get up early enough to get my hair and makeup done to go out.

Over the past ten years or so, I've gone from not needing to get up during the night, to needing to get up after about five to six hours sleep to pee. I'm not sure if it's an age related thing, but it has progressed from once in a while to basically every night.

That wasn't a big issue until I did something really stupid in the morning on new years day.

Instead of simply going to the toilet and straight back to bed, I stopped at the computer on the way past. Check Facebook, email, blog, etc., then back to bed. Except that I was at the computer for over an hour, and consequently got up that much later when I got up again.

I did the same thing every day since.

You know that it's a problem when you're getting to bed after 3am, up for an hour and a quarter at about 9:30, then back to bed, and finally getting up at noon.

Ideally, I'd like to be getting to bed by about 10pm, up at 6am and going for a walk most mornings. Unfortunately, I can't find a way of doing that.

04 January 2015

My other project

I mentioned way back in July that some of the non-crossdressing things that I've been doing have implications for outings in the future. I just realised that I never explained what I was talking about.

Progress is slow because I spend so much of my time working, or collapsing in a heap due to exhaustion from working, as I did just before Christmas, but I've embarked upon a project to restore and modify a seventy seven year old Oldsmobile. When I finally complete it, it will complement my retro outfits at events such as the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival. :-)

I'm contemplating naming it Mary, as a play on the old advertising slogan "Merry Oldsmobile", but most people have been less than enthusiastic about that idea.

03 January 2015

Subtly unsubtle

It's now only two day until the fourth anniversary of when I started having acrylic, gel and colour on my nails.

While I initially got them done every 3 weeks, I found that I was simply too rough on them and changed to getting them done every two weeks, usually on Wednesdays.

This year my nail appointments worked well around Christmas. One was in the week before Christmas, when I got them done red and gold, and the next one was new year's eve.

It may appear that I returned to the usual solid red nails, but appearances can be deceiving... I've decided to get glitter in the acrylic from now on, meaning that in low light, you'll still only see the solid red, but in brighter light, the glitter reflects through the red. The inspiration came from the gold glitter that was on the red nails, some of which sank through the red before it dried.

Being only an infill, only a relatively small fraction of the acrylic contains glitter so far, but over the next few appointments, there will be gradually more and more until there is glitter all over all of the nails.

Of course, being relatively little glitter in the nails, getting a good photo is very difficult!

02 January 2015

What do you get when you cross...

What do you get when you cross stress related comfort eating with an elimination diet aimed at addressing irritable bowel syndrome, while trying to gradually lose weight?

The answer, it seems, is a fairly rapid weight gain of around 5kg (11lbs).

Worse, that was before Christmas, so the rapid increase from 86kg to 91kg was exacerbated by the excess that is Christmas day. Fortunately, Christmas last year probably involved the least over eating of any Christmas in at least the last 15 years, so I peaked at 91.5kg.

I'm not sure whether I should take comfort from the fact that the heaviest that I know I've been in the past is 92.5kg, or be dismayed that I haven't been this heavy in almost 20 years!

Unfortunately, this weight gain has had the effect of putting a stop to my outings. Aside from the effect that all that weight has on my feet when wearing heels, the dress that I wore last time I went out is the only pinup style dress that I've got that will fit my present shape, and I'm not keen to wear the same thing over and over.

To top it off, while trying to be polite, I ate something on New Years Eve that I knew that I shouldn't have. I've been too sick to exercise since, and expect it to take another couple of days to settle down.

01 January 2015

A disappointing trend

Inspired by a recent post by Meg at Call me Meg, I plotted a graph of my frequency of outings en femme over the past few years. Sadly, my graph tells a much different story to Meg's.

I haven't gone back any further than 2008, because the count was taken from photos that are arranged by date, and before 2008, it wasn't unusual for me to dress and take photos without going out. To get accurate figures further back, I'd have to dig out my old diaries and check each photo date to work out whether I went out or not.

Of course, one might argue that aside from a couple of days when I had no colour on my nails, I've been out en femme every time I've gone anywhere since early 2011, but it's not really the same thing...