Remorse, Forgetfulness, a Six-Month Anniversary to Not-celebrate… and can a girl ever have too many clothes?

Most of my posts I suppose are of the this-is-what’s-happened-since–I-last-wrote–type, that some of you consider a bit simple and, perhaps, uninspiring… though they do often contain indications of how I have felt about certain things or particular high and lows of my new life, as per the title of this blog; well, it’s my blog, my journey, and it’s life-changingly significant enough to warrant recording it for me at this point in time, and perhaps for others to read, to digest and reflect on. Anyway, this post is not one of that type, it’s a reflection on how I feel about certain things at this point in my new life.

I have not quite got to the point where I have lived full-time as a woman for six months, though that’s arriving soon enough, and of course that IS something for me to celebrate.  The six-month anniversary, that occurred at some point in the last week, is that it is six months since I last saw my daughter – being a parent who has dearly loved the daughter I thought was a miracle when she was born, this “milestone” is not a happy one. On the plus side, some of my previous posts indicate that my daughter IS in contact with me, via email only… but emails received in the last week from her, indicating how much she is enjoying her Irish summer school, have made this anniversary feel worse, as although I am thrilled that she is having an unexpectedly (for her) good time, it has served to remind me of our distance and how much I miss her at times. In my emails to her, I have responded in a style that I believe is quite similar to how I ever might have before I told her that I am a woman, with a certain humour that we share between us. But she is 13 years old, a typical terrible teenager going through lots of change herself, with her own desire to fit in… and, of course, having a parent who has revealed her gender to be the opposite of what she has known all her life, a fairly special but unusual situation, is not what most teenagers can take on board. Perhaps I could criticise myself for not trying earlier in her life to teach her about diversity, though I tried hard in recent years during the limited exposure that I had to her compared to my ex-… who I am sure, as a much less hands-on parent compared to myself, made little effort at all. And, no, it doesn’t make a difference that my ex- didn’t know about my gender dysphoria, it is important for people to be educated as early as possible in life that everyone is equal regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and so on, and regardless of any circumstances of their friends or family. So, I guess you are all perhaps thinking that this is the remorse I hinted at in the title of this post – well, actually, no it isn’t, remorse indicates to me some kind of regret at one’s decisions or situation in life, and this is certainly not the case. To-date I have never regretted the decision I made to tell everyone about my true gender or my life-changing switch on the morning of 30th January 2015 when I began living full-time as a woman, because that’s the best decision I ever made in my life because, for the first year ever, I have felt more happiness and fulfilment than ever before. I may feel sadness that my daughter, and my brother too, cannot handle my gender-revelation, but my feelings don’t really amount to anything more than that.

Since I turned 40, nearly nine years ago, I began to have quite a number of little health niggles – most of these were due to the fact that I became increasingly fat, neigh obese, largely as a consequence of comfort-eating while trapped in an unhappy marriage where I was continually criticised, never complimented or thanked, and, as it spiralled downwards towards oblivion, I became aware of my feminine side starting to bubble more violently under the surface. Over a similar period my sleep patterns have become disruptive, largely perhaps as a result of increasing worries over revealing my feminine side. I have also become increasingly absent-minded and somewhat forgetful… and all of those issues in this sentence are also side-effects of hormones. I suppose they are all a consequence of each other too – I get over-tired so I don’t focus satisfactorily, I don’t focus enough and so I become absent-minded, and so on. I hope that one day, as I become increasingly content with life, that some of those mental issues will reverse or diminish…

Some of you who have read my posts over the course of the last year, or those that know me personally, may have an inkling that I have a slight penchant for shopping. Okay, that was a bit of an under-statement, I luuuuuuuurve clothes shopping… NOW that I can finally express my feminine side freely and with confidence, it feels a natural pastime that I should have always done – that is the feeling that I felt last Saturday, after meeting an old friend for the first time as the new-look me, while clothes-shopping in Penneys (Primark to some of you) largely for summer clothing for my forthcoming vacation, it felt like I should have been able to shop in that way for ALL of my life, to shop as a girl, the gender I should have been born with… and that filled me with a convoluted mixture of joy over where I am in my journey now but sadness that I had been deprived my true life for so long… and THAT is what I felt remorse about, that only now, after almost fifty years of being on this earth, am I finally living my life in the manner that I now feel it always should have been, and it all felt so unjust and unfair. Oh well, at least I have permanently sorted this out at long last, and I have largely done it all by myself with careful planning and determination…. albeit with advice along the way from good, supportive friends, who I would never have met had my gender dysphoria not metamorphosed itself.

As I returned home from Dublin last weekend, with several bags of clothes acquired from different stores, I wondered to myself whether a girl can ever have too many clothes… and I guess there are several factors to consider in answering that myself. I don’t propose answering that from a transsexual’s point-of-view, and that is mainly because I do not consider myself as such, except from a medical point-of-view, where I am having to undergo certain, essential medical treatments purely because I am not a biologically born female; also if I answered taking that into account, I might consider addressing it from the point-of-view of someone who is not yet full-time and who generally would not require clothes for all those occasions that I now do. But from my point-of-view I do not need to do so – I live everyday as a woman, like any biological woman who presents as such, and thus I require clothes to suit all eventualities that that entails. As to how many clothes a woman can have depends to a certain extent on the girl’s interests, their job, what type of holidays they go on, and in fact whether they actually have much of an interest in clothes, fashion, or their appearance – it is quite clear to me that some women that I come across clearly have either no interest in clothes or not the slightest clue about how to put an outfit together that suits them… though of course there are plenty of women where that is not the case, and I don’t necessarily get it totally right every time myself, though any wardrobe errors of mine I feel are pretty much rectified while getting ready when initial thoughts may end up cast aside in favour of something that does work, or at least more suits my mood that day. I feel that I DO have pride in my appearance, and although I don’t spend extortionate amounts of money on individual items of clothing I do try and make my best effort in making sure that every single item that I wear goes together, and looks right on me. I also know certain colours that don’t, and never will, suit me… and so I will never become a total fashion slave and purchase any items in bright yellow or horrendously violent or nauseous shades of orange simply because some overpaid lunatic in the fashion industry determines that those are THE must-have colours of the season… even if they do suit some people. At this stage, after eighteen months of serious shopping, there are probably not many items of clothing that I absolutely NEED at this point in time…but that doesn’t mean that I don’t WANT to increase my wardrobe further. As my Project Manager said to me today, if something makes you happy, like shopping, then bring it on, and do it. As I have been living full-time, and thus working, for almost (but not-quite) six months and I have not on any two days worn the very same outfit, and in fact on every single one of those work days I have worn at least one visible item of clothing (i.e. not underwear, and not footwear either) that has not been worn on any previous day at work, then maybe I really shouldn’t acquire many more clothes – after all, at this stage, my next purchase should probably be a piece of furniture in which to store a portion of my bursting wardrobe. But I have still to acquire a smart coat for summer, I am only starting to acquire such light-weight summer clothes that suit a climate rather warmer than my own (for my main holiday this year), I have yet to acquire a swimsuit (and there is no point in doing so until my gender surgery is complete), I do not yet have a pair of heeled sandals that are satisfactory, I have yet to acquire a skirt or dress in a red colour that suits me (and perhaps I never shall), I constantly wear the same watch and often the same jewellery, I do not yet have an evening dress that I could wear to a seriously dressy event… and I could go on… and on. My pride in my appearance also means that I do not have a desire to repeat outfits regularly like some people… even if, out of work, there are certain items that I have worn on a number of occasions. However, clothes shopping is also an activity that I now enjoy doing, and clothes are something I enjoy spending money on. I also have a serious amount of catching up to do clothes-wise, after all, as indicated, I have only shopped in earnest for clothes for around 18 months whereas most women my age have shopped for adult clothes for around thirty years! There are some stores that I have never bought anything from, but would like to do so. And so will I ever reach a stage where I have enough items in my wardrobe that I do not need to acquire any others? What do you think!

There is something else I meant to write about, but I forget what it is… and I have probably rambled on enough already! Thanks for reading.

x

Living Full-Time as a Woman – Week 24 – Old friends, Culottes … and a blocker

Monday 13th July

I had a good little start to the week on the train when, after popping to the loo, on the way back to my seat the guard stepped aside and said “Go on ahead, madam”.

At work a new guy started on my team, he’s called Florent, from France… and as the week wore on it seems that his English is not great… well, he doesn’t understand mine very well anyway, and it made me nervous conversing with him. A guy who I feel mis-gendered me last week made up for it when he came to my desk and, seeing me in the middle of an email, said to my neighbour “I’ll talk to her when she’s stopped being busy”. A bit of a low point in the afternoon was when a girl talked to me about a system requirement that had been raised ages ago and showed me an email trail which started in 2014… and it showed my old name! Agghhhh… I felt sick seeing it and indicated as much to her, and looked away. She asked me to forward something to her relating to it, which I said I would do, and when I had not done so within half an hour (because I was busy with something else) she forwarded the very same email!!! I thought this was a bit insensitive, and rather out of character – I told her (by email) that it upset me, and asked her not to forward anything with my old name again… but got no response from her… which was disappointing.

The high point of the day was receiving an email from my old friend Shirley – back in January she sent me an email to reassure me that she wanted to be friends, but as she was in the middle of intensive studies she needed to wait until after her exams before absorbing my news and contacting me again… and that is what she did. It was a long time waiting, for me… but it was worth it, as she suggested meeting up in Dublin at the weekend!

Tuesday 14th July

As we were arriving in Dublin, I walked up the train as it was late in order to get off closer to the station exit and passed a young boy who said to his mum “Where’s that lady going?”. That’d be me!

One thing that I have noticed is that going to the loo at work is rather a more sociable thing as a lady! Quite often I go to the loo now and see someone in front of a sink and, even if I don’t know them, they usually say hello and sometimes I end up in conversation; at one point today I saw a girl that I have known for a while, and we ended up having quite a long talk about work and holidays; she said “It was nice chatting to you” as we left.

Wednesday 15th July

I had a nice chat with a new girl at work called Susan about clothes, we have very similar views about how clothes for work and for play/social should be separate, so even though Jult and August are smart/casual months at my office we both tend to prefer smarter attire apart from on Friday. I was wearing a new dress, which I really like, and she said it was lovely and couldn’t believe that I got from New Look (though it was one of their concession labels); she said it looks “very high end”. I ordered a book from the work book club and went to collect it from HR – it is called “Fat free cooking” and when one of the women there saw it she said “You’re so thin already!”… though alas I have put on a few pounds recently, and a bit round the waist.

On the journey home I had to stand most of the way, as the train was packed, and I half-wished I had not bothered leaving early… but it was nice to see Kirsty and Michelle at M&S, and I indulged in afternoon tea again, which was served in record time.

Thursday 16th July

In the morning I went to my doctor’s surgery to get my first testosterone blocker injection; I had to wait well over an hour to get into the nurse, and then wait some more while some bureaucracy was sorted out between the nurse and my doctor. The needle was quite a complicated affair, and the nurse had to read the instructions, and then I received the injection… in the bottom!

Today I wore my first pair of culottes! I used to wonder what the point of them was, thinking that they looked like a skirt, but with two legs… but, oh, to me now they really are an item all to themselves and, at least the pair I was wearing, from Warehouse, were absolutely lovely! They felt really feminine, with every step – a must-have for the summer, in my view.

Friday 17th July

I arrived at the office and Susan said to me that my top was lovely (although it was a dress, but she couldn’t see my bottom half over the office partition) and then said “Andrea, you’re always the height of fashion” – HOW nice!!

I had lunch with my favourite work girls Nuala and Liesa. We went to the Alexander Hotel where I had a vegetarian panini-type thing with a mini Caesar salad, which was nice enough. We had a good old catch-up, especially over Liesa’s recent holiday to South Africa, where she is from.

At Dublin station there is a guy in is sixties who always says hello to me; today he told me that he wouldn’t see me for three weeks, as he is off work; he also gave me his paper to read on the train!

Weekend 18th / 19th July

No lie-in for me Saturday, as I got the same train as usual to Dublin; getting ready was a bit of a trial, as I was rather nervous about meeting my old friend Shirley, and kept dropping items of make-up on the floor. From Dublin station I walked along Talbot Street to Henry Street, one of the main shopping streets, where I got a text from Shirley saying that they had arrived at the Jervis Centre, one of Dublin’s many shopping centres; five minutes later I was walking up to them from behind and said ‘hi’… and it really was a normal time spent with them! Shirley took a few seconds to take in the new-me, and then we walked off with her boyfriend, who was alas not well, talking as we normally would have done, and went to a café for breakfast where we chatted for an hour. About the only things different from any other time I would have met her was that, firstly, I was happy in myself, and secondly after we ate we went clothes shopping in Forever 21 together!! An hour later we said goodbye, with promises to keep in touch; her boyfriend, a nice guy, placed a caring hand on my arm as we said goodbye… which he certainly didn’t do the last time we met… when I had to present as ‘him’.

Then I clothes-shopped by myself… for nearly four hours!! Welllllll, Jervis Centre does have some stores that I have never been to before, ones that are only in Dublin, and some big cities in England and internationally, such as Bershka, Only, and Stradivarius, the latter being my favourite of the three where I bought, in their sale, a lovely top and a playsuit… which I will convert into a top, I just had to have it because the pattern was so beautiful, but I think I am too old to wear playsuits. I bought an assortment of things in a large Penneys for my forthcoming holiday, and a pretty jacket in a boutique sale where the checkout girl gave some wise advice – “if you can’t carry any more bags that means you’ve done enough shopping”!

Sunday was, as is becoming typical, quiet, at home with a mixture of gardening and a bit of tidying up… though, as usual, I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to. I had my usual phone call with my parents where, for a change, my mum didn’t mis-gender me… though, perhaps due to the conversational nature, I wasn’t addressed by name or by gender. And so the weekend ends far too quickly, yet again… sigh.

Living Full-Time as a Woman – Week 23 – Hello Hormones!!!

Monday 6th July

Had a really good day at work – I am deputising for my PM who is on hols for a fortnight and I think I did pretty well; I went to a meeting in the morning and in the afternoon went to hassle a manager who was holding things up. Later I had a lovely chat with a Spanish girl in my department who I have not talked to since going full-time-me, she said “I’m sorry I didn’t say before, I had seed seen you going backwards and forward and you look gorgeous!” Gorgeous, moi?

Tuesday 7th July

Left work early to pick up my first prescription of hormone patches, and then with the intention of meeting a small meetup group going to the cinema. Alas my train was quarter of an hour late and, although I picked up my hormones, I got to the cinema late such that the group had already gone in without me… and so I ended up watching Terminator Genisys all on my own – of course, with Hollywood as it is these days, short on writers and new ideas, it was largely a rehash of the first two movies, although I quite liked the lead actors playing alongside Arnie.

Wednesday 8th July

I set off to work with my first hormone patch applied! I was wearing one of my latest clothing purchases, a navy dress with a beige leaf pattern that Mary said was lovely. At lunch, when I passed a paper bag I had brought for re-use to a woman who had just made my lunch at the restaurant, she said “Good woman” 🙂 I had a nice chat with Audrey later on, she is a good listener and gives good advice; she also said my dress was beautiful and my shoes were a good match… although they are a terrible fit (bit too big) and very uncomfortable. I left early again, as I was meeting Michelle, and had a nice moment in Sainsburys – along one of the aisles near the entrance are shelves of kitchen crockery, which I parked my trolley by to choose matching plates, and so on, and presently a lady came up pushing a trolley with her toddler son in it, he said to her, pointing at me “Is that my Aunt Ann?” and the mum said “No it isn’t, she looks very similar but it’s not her.” I had a nice chat with Michelle over toasted sandwiches and sald before heading home.

Friday 10th July

I had an early lunch with a guy called Mike who I last saw over a year ago when his contract ended at my company; in recent months he found me on Linked In, saw the last name that he recognised along with my company name, and put two and two together. We ate at a place called Hugos, which is nice enough; I had tempura cod with fries and salad leaves, when it arrived the waiter addressed me as ‘madam’… just as I like. Mike had quite a few questions about my journey, which I didn’t mind answering… although he wasn’t very discreet with the volume of his voice. At one point he said “you look better than you did”… which is only-just a compliment, I’d have been gutted if I didn’t look any better, but that’s as far as his ‘compliments’ went. But he also said “It’s good to see you happy, because when I left the company I could tell that you weren’t”… and that is what this journey is essentially about, being happy, in life and in oneself! Once home I found my new M&S credit card waiting for me in the post, my first card that I have applied for as a woman.

Weekend 11th / 12th July

Saturday was quite fun… and a bit different! No disrespect to my BFF, but the highlight was actually my meetup event, because I really wondered how much I would enjoy it, but it was really interesting – I met the other seven people of the Andrea's eagle pictureevent as Ulster Museum, which was organised by a professional artist… and within 10 minutes we all split up and went around the museum looking for things to draw or paint… for it was an artistic meetup. I have not drawn anything much, apart from the odd scribble or painting helping my daughter, for over twenty years, but I really enjoyed it – in the end I sketched four different things, and the best one in my opinion is shown here, a drawing of a stuffed bird of prey attacking a wild cat; while I was drawing that, sitting on the floor of a glass corridor opposite it, a family came by, with a girl pushing a pram with her little sister in it and her mum said to her “Watch the lady, she’s drawing”. After two hours we all met up at the café and, over coffee and cake, chatted for an hour and assessed each others ‘works of art’ too. A few people left then, but the organiser suggested popping to Queens University to view an exhibition by a Korean artist, and so I went along too… and there were some rather interesting pieces – it was all photo-art, much of which I think is a reflection of the trials and tribulations of her life – I took a photo of one, which is shown here. I said farewell to the remaining three group members at that point and went shoe shopping at New Look… and came away with rather more than I had planned! I met Kirsty in Hillsborough, planned only the day before, and ate at The Hillside – the service was very slow at first, allegedly due to a malfunction with the ordering printer, but eventually we had our starters and very soon after our mains; the food was very good, and the service friendly. We went on for coffee and a bun at Costa, and then to the cinema to see Jurassic World… with good special effects and a woman in an indestructible pair of what I can only assume to be very comfortable nude heels – must facebook her and find out where she got ‘em!

Sunday was quiet, at home with a mixture of gardening and a bit of tidying up… though, as usual, I didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted to; I was tired, so took ages to get going… though that’s what the weekends are for I suppose, to take things easier. A couple of hours ago I typed an email to my brother in reply to his own email… and ended up sending him the contents of my last blog!! This is because, with long emails or blog posts, I type it in Word first, and then paste / send… and my last blog post and his email were in the same temporary document… so now I am wondering what he is thinking; his last email was a little disappointing because, although he is writing to me, I mentioned a couple of things about future eventualities (including any anxiety he has over meeting me, which would be countered by my own about what he thinks of the new-look me, and also me going over to Wales) and he didn’t respond on either. So much for an open mind…

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Living Full-Time as a Woman – Week 22 – Real Highs and Real Lows… and HRT!!

Tuesday 30th June

The day was generally one of the two low points of the week… when I received a letter via email from my daughter’s counsellor, that was jointly written by daughter and counsellor. It said that although my daughter “wants to continue emailing with me she doesn’t want any more at this point – although she realises that her view may change at some point, she cannot do any more as this is too hard”. Although it is reassuring that daughter wants to maintain at least some contact, the firm statement that it won’t be any more than email for a potentially considerable amount of time made me feel very sad. On the plus side, in the afternoon there was a team meeting for my team which I was slightly late to and when I got to the table there was two different types of chairs, a ‘plain’ one that everyone else was sitting at and a posher one, and my colleague said “I left the posh chair for the pretty lady”… with the ‘pretty lady’ being me, as the other woman in the team was not in; so that was nice.

Wednesday 1st July

Off work again for another health appointment that I could not realistically get to if I only took half a day off work. On the way to hospital I popped into M&S for lunch, which ended up being afternoon tea, after which I had a quick browse and paid for some tights and a pair of shoes to a friendly check-out girl who then asked me if I had thought of taking out a M&S credit card – I said no, but showed interest… because, with my female ID I can now do this, and so she summoned someone from M&S Bank and said “if you could take this lady through the details quickly as she’s in a rush”… and after a few minutes I did have to leave her, as I had been warned by Michelle that it would take a while to park at the hospital… and she was SO right, the car park was full and would only let a car in when another one went out, so it took ages to park and I only just got to my appointment at Endocrinology on time. I waited for quite a while, then had my height and weight taken, then waited a while longer until the department head consultant called my name and beckoned my into the consulting room. He asked me a lot of questions, took my blood pressure, explained all about the HRT treatment…and THEN just wrote out a prescription for HRT and testosterone blocker! On my way out from him I expressed slight surprise, though said I wasn’t complaining, that I was walking out with a prescription when some people I know have had to wait weeks and weeks – he said that with some people there are concerns, but as I am “such a healthy specimen then there is no problem”. Then I went into a very pleasant nurse called Claire who took my bloods while we had a pleasant chat, and said it was nice to meet me as I left. Of course, I practically skipped out of the hospital with my prescription… although being a muggy day I was, at the same time, quite drained.

I did a bit of clothes shopping on Boucher Road and then, with a bit of time to spare, went back to M&S to their bank centre to do my credit card application… went was good, I filled out the application in front of a nice guy who guided me as I went from one section to the next – he pointed to the ‘additional applicant’ section and said “That’s where you can put the details of your husband or partner”. Husband! Finally onto The Plough where I had a delicious meal with my two friends and got ‘ladied’ to death by the waiting staff, although I wasn’t very hungry and so had just a couple of starters; we had a little walk afterwards before saying goodbye at our cars.

Thursday 2nd July

I was wearing the same, spotty floaty dress to work that I wore the previous night out – it’s a lovely, really feminine feeling item… but sadly I didn’t get any compliments, as such… although while I was having a chat with my PM about meeting my ex- that evening, and that I had texted ex- to say not to voice any uncomplimentary thoughts (which was quite typical of her during my marriage) he said very sincerely to me “Well I think you’re a pretty woman”! Aw, how sweet, huh! I told him how I was criticised a lot while married and he said that when my ex- meets me it is likely to be a case of “look in the mirror and then decide who’s the prettiest”.

So I caught my usual, later train to Newry, and once at my car waited for my ex- to arrive – we had arranged to meet there as I had a bag of clothes for my daughter to hand over. My ex- got out the car and, teary-eyed, launched into a one-sided conversation that I hardly got a word in edgeways, essentially labouring on about how upset my daughter often is, how she isn’t interested in anything (no change from last year then!), how she was eating little and not taking her medication (same as when she has previously had eating problems then), how ex- worried that my daughter might become anorexic (which we have worried about before), and how she might drop out of school… although why that would ever happen I can’t fathom. Of course, more than half the conversation was a repeat of a previous one only a couple of weeks ago, and was about how hard life actually is for my ex-… half of which is because she now gets no time to herself to socialise. I could wonder whether my ex- was tear-eyed because I was attired so much smarter and feminine than she was (in a pink vest and tent-sized navy safari shorts, both of which showed large layers of flab), but was told that she had left my daughter in tears, begging her not to meet me… which, later, turned out to be a lie, as my daughter’s response to that suggestion was utter disbelief. Then, of course, my ex- couldn’t help herself and her spiteful, insensitive side by saying “Well, you may be wearing a dress but if I saw you walking down the street I would still see <MALE-NAME>”; all that did was to prove as much as I ever needed reminding that I am so much better without that person in my life.

Friday 2nd July

I woke up in a down-beat mood after the meeting of the night before, feeling sad about my daughter, and my confidence just a little off after my ex-‘s comments. But work went well enough, my first day deputising for my PM while he’s on his summer hols. On arrival I talked to a woman who hasn’t seen me since I went full-time at the end of January, who asked how I was getting on and said I looked ‘well’ (which in Ireland means ‘good’), then a bit later a guy I have known for a couple of years had a chat with me and finished by saying it was nice talking to me. I ended up having virtually no breakfast, with little appetite with my ex-‘s comment still on my mind… but made up for it with a big, hot lunch, and sat in the canteen with a girl and guy from my department, the latter whom I thought had an issue with me… but all was fine with them. I had quite a number of emails from my daughter over the last couple of days, who is really excited about going to Irish summer scheme… and in one she said that she would email me while she was away and when I suggested she would be far too busy enjoying herself she said “don’t worry, I’ll find the time xx”

Weekend 3rd / 4th July

Saturday I was supposed to go for a walk with my group, but I awoke at the time I should start getting ready, drew the curtains, and saw heavy rain and grey clouds all around… and as I was very tired after a long week I closed the curtains and went back to bed for a couple of hours. When I did get out of bed the weather had brightened up, but there was soon another rain shower and so I wasn’t too bothered about missing my walk. I ended up having quite a productive day, doing washing, all my ironing, some lawn-mowing and pruning, as well as some tidying up around the house. I also phoned my parents… and was, as usual, mis-gendered by my mother (and corrected her) once again.

Sunday was quite a fun day, with two Meetup group events. The first was at the Ulster Museum, and was called ‘Slow Art Sunday’ which is where museum guides talk about three works of art at the museum to a group. I met the group, mostly Ulster Museum Painting Chronicle Of Orangewomen, in the café once I had bought a mocha, and chatted with a couple of the girls and a couple of guys – one of the women said she liked my dress (which is one of my favourite day dresses), and I complimented another girl’s sandals which were really nice… and then one of the guys started taking the mickey out of me by saying to the other guy ‘Hey, I like your shoes Jeff…’ but then he admitted that that kind of conversation just doesn’t work between guys. So we went up in the lift and emerged onto the Modern Art floor, and I started thinking “Oh no, not modern, abstract art which I don’t get at all”… except that we sat on some pre-arranged fold-up chairs in front of my favourite piece on the floor called “Chronicle of Orange” (see picture) by a lady from Northern Ireland and two museum guides then proceeded to talk about the work, and asked about our views on it from various angles, and talked about different techniques used in it. Then we turned around and talked about a ‘sculpture’, a series of polished silver balls in decreasing sizes with rings of deer hide around them… and I didn’t really get it at all. The last piece was a painting called “Eclipse”, a picture seemingly of clouds and a solar eclipse in shades of blacks and yellows, which was very interesting, especially some of the similarities to other works, but also the more one looked at it the more one saw other things in the painting. After that event we went onto the second event, a late lunch at a place called Deanes At Queens (near Queens University), where I had a nice salmon dish with risotto and scallops followed by a delicious chocolate truffle cake with raspberry and coconut sorbet; the chat was generally very good, although one of the women and the only guy there were really loud (whereas moi is quiet) and gave me a bit of a headache. I left with one of the women and we chatted back to our cars, and then I rushed to Sainsburys for a few groceries where I gave the guy on the self-serve checkout a smile, rewarded by a friendly hello which I returned. At 6.00pm I wondered whether Kirsty would be about, as she had her book group – she was getting dressed when I texted, and eventually I suggested to meet outside support group HQ (which I can’t go inside any more, it just feels wrong) for a few minutes; at 6.25ish she sat in my car and we had a nice chat for a little while until she had to go.