Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Can HRT alter sexual preference?

I was reading a discussion where several women who are transgendered noted that since beginning HRT their preferences for sexual partners have changed. Most of them considered themselves bisexual before and after starting HRT, but had noticed a differrence.

I have no idea if this is totally off the mark, but some of the responses to the question make me think of research into how a woman's position in her menstrual cycle affects the type of men she finds attractive (Apparently the studies assume heterosexuality).

When a woman is most fertile she prefers "manly" faces and smells much more than when she is relatively infertile. This strongly suggests that sexual preference can, at least to an extent, be modified by hormones.

When MtF people are given hormones, they presumably mimic the hormone loading at one point or another of a cisfemale's cycle. It seems to make sense that this could cause at least a small change in mate preference.

When Fertile, Women Want Manly Men
What do women want? It depends on the time of the month
Women's Preferences for Male Behavioral Displays Change Across the Menstrual Cycle

And for the guys:
The face of fertility: why do men find women who are near ovulation more attractive?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

500 days smokefree and looking good

Smoke free days: 500 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 15000
Total savings: $13,450.00

Wow. I'm so glad to see those figures still there. Yesterday morning I came close to having one. I finished the coming out at work process by emailing the overseas people I work directly with to let them know I am now Julia. After sending that I stressed out and walked outside and into smoker's corner. Nicodemon was with me, and "Special circumstances, just one today can't hurt" was in my mind.

Luckily no smokers were there, I sat and thought, asking myself why, just when I've finally got my life right, do I suddenly want to return to the destructive tobacco addiction? After a while I got up and returned to the office. At lunchtime I went to The Warehouse and bought some nice summer tops in the end of season clearance sale with the money that would have bought a 30 pack of cigarettes. I'll still have the tops long after the cigarettes would have been butts in the great ashtray of history.

500 days, still smoke free and still looking good.

Last night more stand-up, this time at Doolan's an open mic.  Normally you're only performing to other comedians there. A friend of mine from work was there with her husband and I tried out some new material. Another comedian had some friends of hers there to and they started laughing at bits of my material where I wasn't expecting much reaction in that room. There were also some walk-ins unrelated to other comedians and Tessa tells me the ones sitting near her were laughing. Nice to know I can hit the mark.

Afterwards, buzzing on adrenalin but no desire for a smoke. Long may it last - both the comedy and the not smoking.

An earlier version of this blog appeared on quit-line.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Devil Wears Kate Madison

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity" -- Charles Dickens, A tale of two cities

Smokefree days: 497 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 14910
Total savings: $13,369.30

At work I've been out  since September - October last year as far as the 5 of us in this country are concerned. Since mid last week I've been out to the whole building and since returning from holiday on Monday I've been in the office as Julia. By Wednesday it was obviously not going to work unless the people overseas I deal directly with are advised. Fine, I'll send them an email. Discussed  this with management and I'll send a personal email out Monday coming.

Sunday I have an "Open slot" at a pro comedy gig, my first time up on a pro night. I should be practising my act, instead I'm drafting that email. OK, I genuinely have a second chance at a first impression, but ... timing.

Finally, the major part of the transition is that I'm presenting in my place of employment as female, including the shared areas of the building and not just our small office. This includes the toilet facilities and this has been the most difficult for me as I've been totally stressed out about it. Yes, I know it's silly that I can stand up on stage wearing a mini-skirt in front of 150 people and talk about the funny bits of transitioning yet be terrified of using the ladies room in a secure office building but there it is. Partially it's because I know I've been dragging my stilettos on it in places like the Classic where I've felt more comfortable standing at the urinal in a mini-skirt than entering the woman space. Not to mention wanting to avoid queues, but that's taking the bad with the good.

To be fair each day has been easier and the other people in the office have been supportive. I have to walk past the men's to get to the ladies and a few times especially early in the week I serious considered chickening out. That and a kind of faux nostalgia for avoiding pools of past misses on the floor. Had we not had everyone in the building alerted I might well have done so.

With all the stress, the Nicotine Demon "Nicodemon" shaved her beard off, put on some lippy and stared back at me from the mirror saying things along the lines of "you need a few puffs to get through this" and "You needed a whole new wardrobe, I understand but you've got it now, come back. I forgive you", "just one packet to get through this week"

A few times I went for a walk outside to clear my head and Nicodemon was with me, but I told her to get away from me.  I've come too far and have too much ahead of me to go back to smoking. The stresses are already weakening and I feel I have got through another challenge.

Day 500 is coming up,.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

What I spent my not-smoking savings on

Smokefree days: 486 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 14580
Total savings: $13,073.40

That's just 2 weeks until the 500 day mark.

I'm officially on annual leave this week, but I went into work this morning as I wanted to speak to the manager. I needed to let him know how my transition is advancing and that when I return to the office on Monday my appearance won't be the non-threatening compromise I worked out for myself in August and I will be asking others to use my new name.

I know where that $13,000 has gone. Since August I've completely replaced my wardrobe. All the good condition menswear has been donated to the city mission and most of the rest recycled as rags. I have filled the void in my wardrobes and dressing tables with a medley from Autograph,  K-Mart, Millers, The Warehouse etc.

I have a good wardrobe, built from scratch in a short time and if I was still smoking I doubt it would have been as easy to assemble. I've been able to give myself permission to experiment in a way I wouldn't if I'd been spending 10,000 a year on smoking.

Ironically I had to go back to the office a second time today as 3 parcels each containing a pair of dress boots had arrived from China for me. The price differential is such I'm prepared to risk buying mail-order footwear.

It's only slightly ironic to say that quitting smoking  has made a woman of me. It certainly has helped free me to pursue this change both financially and by teaching me I have the strength to change myself for the better.

Oh, and the name's now Julia, so that's what I've renamed this blog as. Pleased to meet you

Sunday, September 06, 2015

365 days smoke free

Acording to my Quitline stats:
Smokefree days: 365 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 10950
Total savings: $9,818.50

No witty light hearted comments. I'm damned proud of lasting this long and will always be grateful to Champix, Quitline and my support team on the Quitline blogs, for making it happen. I doubt I could have made it without any of the three.

These days my main trigger for thinking about smoking is encountering fresh cigarette smoke (e.g. talking to a smoking friend in the street), but ironically my second worst trigger is Quitline itself. It just gets me thinking about the quit, the addiction, all the hard work, etc and that leads onto thinking "One would be OK" -- which, of course, it would not be.

In addition, about a month ago and for the couple of weeks leading up to then I had a powerful crisis in my life. I'm not quite ready to talk about it so I'll spare you the details. Since then, amongst other things, I have made a conscious decision to be more in touch with my feelings and emotions and to re-train myself not to just suppress them. Things that trigger a desire to smoke are not particularly welcome in this new Weltanschauun.

I'll still unreservedly recommend Quitline to anyone who wants to stop smoking.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Deaths in the family

Ever seen a nature documentary of African elephants examining the skull of a dead elephant?  It's fascinating  because in their behaviour we see a reflection of ourselves and the way we grieve for our lost friends and relatives. Other social animals show behaviour when a pack/herd/... member dies. Depending on our relationship with them we may choose to see it as mourning or as something less like us.

I don't handle death well. Probably none of us do, but I don't handle it in the conventional way either. I tend to crack inappropriate jokes ... I let myself exhibit the emotional side of grieving later in private, it's my way of handling the situation.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Net Hui 2015

Three days of participants from a large number of internet impacted and impacting organisations meeting to discuss the Internet, its societal impacts and its future in NZ is done. Net Hui is over for another year.

Every year for the last few years a couple of these conferences are held, usually one in Auckland and one down country. 

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Stand-up Revisited

Tonight I'm going to Snatch Comedy on Ponsonby Road for my second go at performing a stand-up set since I quit smoking.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Food For Thought. Notes for a comedy set

I'm ready. I'm going back. This rime I know what I want to say and it's going to be funny.

My past attempts

 1. I portrayed Death. A vaguely nineteen fifties movie death, but somehow less competent. Perhaps out was a sub Pratchett death, before the great man's cat got him.

I walked away from this with my head held high. achieve what I wanted I had nothing more to prove.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Finding Liszto, a poem

I searched the net's creative commons
I wanted new comics,
I wanted good ones
I found some art, a three year old would draw
I found sites, years to lie abandonned
Just now I found you, Liszto.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Getting RSS or Atom Feeds from Common Software

I choose to consume media through an rss reader where possible. If I can see the feed symbol on the page it's easy, but not all sources show it. When I can't see it, my News reader (Feed on feeds) may be able to extract it from page headers but failing that I need to find it by searching.

I can never remember what's the modifier for each option, so I've decided to create this page as an Aide-mémoire

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Saying "Goodbye" to Quit-line blogs

Last night one of my Quit-line supporters from my early days through to today since announced that he was leaving the quit-line blogs. As he was doing this because he was feeling bad about something that happened it caused considerable discussion. Included in this were some people saying that if he left they would too. While I had problems with my supporter's departure I've been pondering the other people's reaction.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A smoking dream

I'm sure I've had them before, but this time I woke up in the middle so I got to remember it. I guess this was a lucid dream, it was certainly believable and followed a logical progression.

I was at a social (probably business related social given how people were dressed) gathering at a place very similar to Auckland University's student union quad. There was indoor outdoor flow and I was outside talking to people.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Quitting Smoking, 250 days done.

Smokefree days: 250 days
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 7500
Total savings: $6,725.00

Another "Round" number, I do so like them and like to mark my progress. The problem is that progress, as such, seems to have plateaued. Obviously the behavioural reward part of the addiction hasn't been exercised for 250 days while the chemical part of the addiction was dealt to over 200 days ago.

My fitness levels are back at the "good-enough" level. I can go for my exercise bike rides and have no wish to step up to going to a gym or anything. As I'm no longer seeing any major advances in heath, fitness, or non-smoking, the days are just turning into one after another.

The addiction is still there though, just biding her time waiting for my complacency and comfort  to make it worth her effort to pounce. Unfortunately I think I have been getting complacent.

Yesterday I was fighting Nicodemon who had seemingly popped out of nowhere mid afternoon and decided to push the "Just have one" line real hard. Needless to say I successfully resisted the siren calls. I walked down to the convenience store on Kingdon St and bought an ice cream and some mints instead.

The ODAAT, DDDD, NOPE, etc mantras are becoming more important in my quit now than they have been for a long time.