Words of warning and welcome:

This is very much my blog, so don't be surprised if this doesn't follow accepted patterns and norms. It is a place where I can be anonymous and honest, and I appreciate that.

It will deal with many things and new readers would do well to check out the "Story So Far" Page above this and the "New Readers" tag down there on the right. Although there's nothing too bad in here there will be adult language, so be careful. If you think this needs a greater control, please let me know. Thank you!

Sunday, 30 December 2012


So. There's the fact that I've finally started doing the work I brought home to do at the beginning of the holidays and the requisite dip in spirits that accompanies such an activity.

I don't know. It may just be that. I'm also getting increasingly frustrated by Tilly being stressed and irritable with the children and life in general at the moment. She claims that she isn't, or that I've picked an isolated example or that it was just one day (and I have longer than that!) but it's becoming normal. Last night she was in particularly good form during the dark hours - ending up with me being turfed out of the room and into another to 'get some sleep'. God knows how that worked, I was sleeping just fine and Tilly still didn't get a good night's rest. During the evening I suspended work to get time with Tilly. I did my best to hint, she hates me making any reference at all to sex, at some quality time. We watched a comedy DVD, at opposite ends of the room.

Attempts to raise this today have been stonewalled or met with a stoic refusal to accept that anything was awry. So that I have ended up apologising for my conduct and bringing it up each time. Most of the day was spent getting things in, mainly clothes, for our trip to her parents' tomorrow. Well, starting with my Dad. Then I messed up shaving, badly, and have had to go clean shaven again. I mean, don't get me wrong: I kinda like it; but Tilly doesn't, at all. I booked a couple of hours to work. As usual, about an hour in Tilly changed the rules and started doing stuff in the kitchen - cue children getting antsy. She then starts engaging me in conversation and asking about the evening, having previously (within the hour) suggesting that I forego any evenings off at all to get my work done, and I got a bit irritable - I was working dammit.

This resulted in some moodiness and it was my fault again. Of course. So, about an hour and three quarters into my work I stopped to help with tea. Then, blow me, Tilly works through tea on various shit, leaving me with two tired and ratty children. Oh, I should point out that due to her sleepless night I had both of them for two hours this morning (I didn't sleep well either, but that is all my fault for drinking Pepsi the day before). I had also spent most of the morning with them both as Tilly was looking for clothes and needed 'headspace'. Oh, the luxury.

The comedy DVD we watched last night hasn't helped. There were jokes about sex in couples of the kind that are meant to make people feel better about their sex lives. Ha. Ha ha ha. Ha fucking ha. She only got aeriated about the part where the comedian was joking about men not helping around the house, taking the opportunity to point out stuff that I don't do. My counter offensive was shot down and my armies forced into retreat. No chance to tackle the other issue. Her laptop was then raised in defence and thus the blockade carried the evening.

Anyway, back to this evening, I suggested that maybe I could have an evening with her. No, she'd planned a bath. When she finished she came downstairs and then opened a bizarre debate about shaving her legs - which I'll admit confused the hell out of me, I have no truck with her doing it beyond the statement that I don't get why women do it and men don't - and kept pushing me to admit my previous position. Then got frustrated that I was debating it! I wasn't! I pointed this out and got the passive-aggressive "well, I'll just go to bed then". Which she's done.

I'll admit that I am officially confused. And saddened, again, by the lack of any intimacy in our relationship. I've had more intimate relationships with online bloody porn.

Sorry, that was a bitter diatribe. Not melancholic.

Would it make any difference at all if I wasn't here?

Oh, one final point. Tilly used the fact that it doesn't hurt anyone (physically), was her choice, was no one else's business (it's her body and her choice), and didn't do anything damaging (my legs, who cares what people think?) to justify her shaving her legs. When I have previously used those same points to defend cross-dressing I have been met with incomprehension, anger and virtriol. I should have pointed that out.

Yeah, 'cos that makes me the injured party. Agh, I'm passive aggressive on my own blog!

Friday, 28 December 2012

A dream?

Well, doesn't she look attractively confident?
And people wonder why I am interested
in appearing as a woman...
I should point out that what follows is neither fantasy nor entirely fiction. It is a statement of fact and something that operated between me sleeping and being awake whilst trying to get the Boy to sleep last night. It is not so much blogging about my life as it is... well, I don't know. It may not be what you want from a blog like this one either and I am aware that it is different to some of the other stuff that I post and so I'm going to put a line break in here to make sure you don't get assaulted by stuff you don't want to know.

Before I do I ought to point out that Tilly and I shared a bed (and, indeed, a room) for the first time since sometime in the summer last night. We even both read for a bit before going to sleep. There was still no snuggling or anything like that. I continue to be either shot down or else politely indulged on that score, so I really don't know what to make of it all. Clearly she's not interested and she's still stressed out with the Girlie being rude and objectionable at the moment - she really is quite hyped up and we're assuming it's down to it being Christmas.

In denial, no / my life's a trial. / I'm not denying that every little bit hurts.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas Season

Seriously, Tilly looks more like Kiera Knightley than this, but this
is the best approximation I could find of the eye make-up.

I think I've said before how beautiful my wife is. Well, I'm going to be saying it again! For reasons best known to herself, she's been rocking herself and her looks these last few days. Smoke eyes and a very sexy wardrobe - well, by my standards, mostly pretty demure with emphasis on the pretty. There's also been a lot of smiling. And Tilly looks fantastic when she smiles, her whole body joins in you know. I can tell when she's smiling when she's facing away from me - it's as if her whole deportment changes to match the lighter mood she's experiencing.

I think it's mainly to the holidays. She's taken on board everything after the debacle last year where my inability to operate around Christmas day very nearly derailed the whole affair! So, cards were already sent by the deadline, all presents had been bought and wrapped (I wasn't really able to get Tilly anything at all nor organise cards to her from me and the children). All that remained was for the day itself. We had agreed that neither of the children were that bothered based on last year and so all the presents were still in her room waiting to be moved down in shifts. But on that morning... Well, Tilly held them off with the stockings in their room while I moved everything downstairs.

Our actual living room with actual presents. The Boy can just
be made out pointing at me in the left.
Much joy from the Boy - jumping up and down and giggling and pointing and stamping of feet - and the Girlie was equally excited. they both unwrapped a few presents and then we got ready for Church, which we made in plenty of time this year. Tilly took her part in the singing group, missed last year, and the children took their place with me and haring about the church. It was a nice service but there was a definite want from the children to get back home and unwrap things. The car damn' near ran out of diesel on the way back (we've been in budget this year for the first time since 2007) but we got in after a short walk and got on with it.

The Boy got a bit unwrap-happy and there was a flurry of insanity just after lunch, neither child ate anything, but we weathered it. Crying by teatime from both tired little ones but they had lots of fun and enjoyed everything that they recieved. Happily the Girlie was also keen to check that other members of the family had got what she had given them - something that gave me a little burst of paternal pride - and the Boy was keen to make sure that for every thing he unwrapped the Girlie had something too. Bless. Then they went to sleep at 6pm and Tilly and I got to have a bit of a drink and a relax.

The Girlie's account of Boxing Day. Written by her own fair
Then Boxing Day, another Bank Holiday, and we spent it at home because the petrol stations were shut and the car was still ostensibly out of fuel. Girlie and the Boy spent the day playing with various things - fuzzy felt mainly - and getting on each others nerves inbetween the joy of their new toys. They wound Tilly up mostly, something about the Girlie's method of being rude, and knowingly so for a four year old, really winds Tilly up. Apparently it's very close to what Tilly was like as a child and it brings out her father in her. I did what I could to keep the peace, though this is hard because Tilly doesn't like to think that she needs any input from anyone else (lest anyone forget that I'm not there most of the time during the day), but it was a good day overall. Both children were a-bed by 5pm and so we retired to have an evening of fun. We watched Eastenders (well, Tilly did, I get irritated with soaps) and followed it up with Miranda.

I attempted to be romantic with a heart-shaped plate and some cake but Tilly found it 'odd' and simply elected to ignore it, telling me that she didn't really want someone sat next to her while she watched the telly. She still looked sexy as all Hell, though, don't get me wrong and she didn't mean to shoot me down, she just didn't notice that I was actually angling for anything. We spent the rest of the evening like that and then she went to bed. I've been sleeping with the Boy to make sure he doesn't get up at ridiculous o'clock at night.

Today we went out. I got some fuel, the car not actually empty apparently, and then we went to library to take some books back and got some top up shopping in - rather reasonably priced actually. Again, Tilly was wearing sexy make up and a really nice outfit and, again, she wasn't interested at all in my advances. Even slapping me away when I leaned in for more than a peck. Girlie wound her up all day, being rude and generally objectionable, and my peace keeping efforts were a resounding failure this time around. In the end we resorted to the TV, a DVD of The Toy that Saved Christmas from the Veggietales courtesy of my mother and then the cBeebies panto. I changed the bed linen, we were planning to see if the Boy could go it alone tonight, but Tilly had forgotten or never knew in the first place. She packed them off to bed at 6pm again, the Girlie was asleep in minutes but I had Boy duty and he was fighting sleep valiantly until 8pm.

So, I came down to share an evening with my lovely wife, but she was watching Eastenders and then Hollyoaks. After less than a pint of Leffe Blonde she's declared herself unfit to write and thus is going to bed.

It's been a good Christmas, but stuff like this really frustrates me because I don't know what else I need to be doing. I suspect there's nothing to be done and that the only person who isn't getting what they need from the relationship is me. Ah well, she has drama on facebook and her trashy soaps: how can I possibly compete with that?

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Eclectic Mix

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please to put a penny in the old man's hat!

Yes. It's here again. And, like last year, I am in a reflective mood. But first some conundra that occurred through the day today.

The proto-Feminist herself: Mary Wollstonescraft.
Lovely lady, bt hard to read.
We had company, Tim and his wife came down to say 'hi' and Tim got to playing with the children while his wife and I discussed, of all things, early nineteenth century political activism and proto-Feminism in the time of the Great Reform Act. No, really, that's actually what we talked about and got excited doing so. Anyway, as Tim was playing with the children the Girlie got some string out and surprised everyone present by asking for various parts of her anatomy to be tied and to do the same to Tim. She's about four and a half. At the same time the Boy was wearing his sister's pink summer hat and rocking it. If sexual mores are in anyway set by genetics then I rather suspect I've passed on my perversions to my spawn. I'm not sure that this is a good thing.

Thing is, in both cases they were indulged, with the full knowledge of Tilly, and even encouraged in places. Add in the Girlie telling Tim to cry with a commanding tone, suggesting that her future partners will generally suffer for their infatuation, and you have a series of situations that I will require much time to properly consider.

Rights of Man author Thomas Paine, inspirer of the
American Revolution and supporter of gender-
equality (no, really)
Also, work finally ended for the year on Friday. I realise that many will not have that luxury but I will temper it by pointing out the work I've brought home will eat about five days of time over the next couple of weeks. We drank beer again on the Friday and started watching Sherlock last night to a Chinese takeaway accompaniment. This was all good.

In other news, I found www.joannaleeds.org by accident the other night and then saw something very similar in church tonight when Tilly was up singing and the Girlie was off playing with an older girl, well, I say playing - I mean telling the older girl, who was now Joseph, what to do and where to stand and so on whilst protecting the baby Jesus (a Winnie the Pooh teddy bear stripped naked and wrapped in a cardigan) from the dark Dragon that lived in the organ and breaking to join in the songs and watch the videos. Basically put, the confluence of finding the site, seeing a reference in church and my psuedonym here suggest it's worth drawing your attention to it.

Now, some San Miguel and web surfing.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The power of Machiavelli

In The Prince Machiavelli argued that the most important aspect of anyone's life is reputation. Although the twin forces of Fortuna and Virtu were helpful in shaping the character of one's interactions with peers he postulated that what really counted was how you were seen by others.  More to the point, so his argument went, the out of character actions were what got remembered and so these the ones that truly defined you in the eyes of those around you. Now, he was clearly writing about the rulers of principalities in Italy and about political mud-slinging between powerful people and houses, but his advice, I feel, has some everyday relevance.
Would you mess with this woman? "Whether it is better to be
loved or to be feared, then it is better to be feared." That's closer
but still not it.
His most famous advice was, if I may badly paraphrase: "to be loved, be brutal and mean". It works like this...

If you are known for being kind and helpful and generous and all round lovely then there will come a point where you have to turn someone away. And, in those turnings away, there will be someone who thinks ill of you and publicises that event enough to influence those who know you. Ergo you will be remembered not for all the times you were nice and lovely and all round great but for the one time you acted out of character and turned someone away - you will be seen as bad and generally not nice. Mud sticks.
By contrast, if you are known for being capricious and cruel and evil and selfish then the one time you help someone and put yourself out for them will be noteworthy enough that people will remember it. In other words, although your reputation is poor people will view you with affection because of the one thing that you did that was good. In effect, they will write off your usual behaviour for that one good deed just as they would write off all the good that was done in our first example on the back of one bad deed.

Niccolo Machiavelli in all his rather odd glory.
My first essay on Politics at Uni was on him.
And Machiavelli had a point. I see that a lot as a teacher and with the students I teach. In being open and nice and approachable I, more often than not, face criticism from students when I have to turn them away. My old boss, by contrast, was a dick to the students and generally mean and horrible to them and they would have followed him into Hell. For Christmas he would get showered with gifts from students (his favourite wines and spirits, aftershaves etc) and even from students he didn't teach but had told off once in a corridor. I would get, well, nothing. Maybe a heartfelt card from one or two students but mostly nothing. Now, there were differences here, when my old boss and some colleagues were slagging me off on a school trip abroad in my absence a quiet student who never said anything in public gatherings ever went ape and defended me to the hilt (I had once read what she was writing and given supportive comments to her but never taught her) to the point where all assembled, students and staff, fell silent. Indeed, her out of character behaviour and defence was the only reason I heard of the incident as my old boss felt so guilty he had to tell me what had happened.

Why am I posting all of this?  Well, a colleague has been off on long term leave and so we have had a member of staff covering for them for a short time. I have always put myself out for this member of staff and been on hand to help where no else was. When systems didn't work as they ought or lessons weren't in the right places it was I who made sure there were things in place. I offered to help marking, I spent hours guiding them through mark schemes and lessons that I didn't need to do. Why? Because I am a doormat? Maybe, mostly because no one else was helping.

Today that member of staff left, the colleague returns, and they were handing out presents to say thank you. So far so lovely and unexpected. My new boss got wine, chocolates (big and posh) and a joke present of X-ray specs or somesuch. Another colleague received her favourite wine, some posh chocs, some personal items that they liked and a bow and arrow - silly but connected to their 'fighting spirit'. My final colleague got beer (they're fond of real ale), wine (their partner likes wine to share), sweets (based on a throwaway remark about what they liked three months back) and a set of x-ray specs.  These were all accompanied by thoughtfully written cards with lovely nice things written on them.

In case you didn't know what it was. Amazon reports
it as being nearly a tenner, so maybe it was expensive.
But why? Why this?
I got a "butt-head" game that had been on offer (remnants of the sale sticker remained) and a card saying "thank you". The Department enjoyed throwing balls at my head (I could hardly refuse to use it) and making light at my expense.

I am, to say the least, confused. I have no idea how to interpret this turn of events. Was I such a bastard to this member of staff that they really didn't like me? Or is this because I was the only member of the Department who would 'get the joke' and thus a good thing? Or am I just a bit of a joke in the Department generally? Of course, as you'd expect, I have gravitated toward the less flattering combination of the above interpretations, it's how I roll, but I am a little... well, a little saddened by it all.

Am I such an arsehole?

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Catch up: a little light dusting

Best clean the place up!

*brushes cobwebs*

Wow, it's been, well... a while. Especially for me!

It's a bit like this, but my room is very different and there
was no camera to independently record what goes on.
I'm not positive about it. Usually one gets word on the likely
grading (Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory or Inadequate) if it
is positive. I've heard nowt.
Why? Uh, well, I said I'd cleared November to go writing and that I would suffer the consequences. Boy was I right. Lots of stuff to do at home, lots of illness with the Boy and then the Girlie and then Tilly and then the Girlie again. And more work. Lots of work. Then I was observed by my boss, who hasn't told me how that went yet (there's supposed to be no more than 48hours twixt observation and feedback, I'm now three working days afterwards and will not get any feedback til tomorrow after work, nice - not that I'm suspicious or anything).

Then there was the shooting on Friday and, well, posting anything after that seemed... wrong? I dunno, I didn't want to go with my usual politicised rants about the world nor did I want to risk being an 'o me miseram' in the wake of something like that. And I haven't had the time to plan a decent 'beautiful things' post - still haven't - and so... yeah. Time flies.

What can I say then?  I haven't had a chance to dress now for, well, ages and I haven't felt the crushing pressure from within to do so in a while. But I am aware that not indulging makes me ratty and irritable. That is, if I can't get on here and be 'me' then I get to feeling all frustrated and stuff elsewhere in my life. Almost like this is a safety valve of sorts for the internal stuff.

This would be a lovely
present. Lovely price too
and I lack the shape for
such beautiful things.
My Girlie has had her first show, did I mention that already? I think I did. My parents were present and so there was some stupidity in the build up from both camps, bloody parents, but that's all. I upset my boss by mentioing it as her mother died and she gets upset when people bitch and moan about parent issues. Which is fine, she has her point, but her parents were still happy together and, for all their faults, weren't totally at odds with her life at various points. Everyone has their own foibles, I guess, and my own lack of connection to my family is one of mine.

Joanna is still enjoying herself over at Google+ too, which is nice. I kinda want to get her a Christmas present, you know, but our funds are pretty tight this year (£600 on presents! So, not that tight, just ridiculous and definitely a First World Problem). She's even decided to take Tilly's last name, apparently. I guess that sort of thing turns me on, God knows why.

I want to write some Reality/Shifts again. No time tonight, maybe later in the month.

Also, I just noticed, is yellow like my favourite colour or something?

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Just my little tribute to Caligula, darling

Caligula was a bastard / Like most important men

Turns out that this particular line is pretty fitting for my work situation, but that's not why I'm on here tonight.  Over the November madness that was writing part of a novel I had a series running up on here on beautiful things.  I think I quite enjoyed it and so I hope to be continuing it off and on, like the beer reviews, in the future. It was nice to think that I could come on here and talk about thinks that are inspiring to me and also contain beauty and happiness.

The Girlie has been in a ballet show lately, the last one is on as I write, and it is quite a professional production all told. I mean, don't get me wrong, she's in a hall with a bunch of others from dance classes and it's all a bit twee in terms of choreography but it's streets ahead of the normal school nativity where half of them pick their noses, pull faces and fart a lot to the coos and delighted chuckles of the mainly parent filled audience. It, of course, allowed me to feel a bit of pride. Or, at least, I think that's what one is supposed to feel at these things. I'll be honest, I find it hard to know what to think and feel at such productions. It was good, of course, but most of the singers were too fast or slow or out of tune and the dances were all same-y (as one would expect when one teacher covers all of the classes) but differing in the ability of the students to actually carry out the moves required.

I'm finding that the energy I threw at here a year ago is being spent elsewhere this year: at the Google+ community that Joanna is a firm part of; at my job to keep afloat; and even a little at writing again, which I suppose was what was conspicuously absent from my life last year. In that, I think I find my greatest release in dressing but I find my lasting happiness and centre in my writing. When I combine the two I think I find the closest I ever get to feeling, not only like myself, but also like I can actually stop being in fear and being more in control.

I guess it is what some people find in captioning, but less visual and thus less popular on these here intertubes. Or, at least, people that describe themselves as writers are generally less likely to read than captioneers who caption are likely to share and develop their craft with others. I wonder why that should be so. Perhaps reading is the same but commenting is less. Hmm, one for the philosophers.

I'm sure I had more to say, but I must have mislaid it.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

One Year On

Well, a year and a day, actually.

I was hoping to do something big and clever to celebrate or at least mark the occasion but... well, life intervened. Boy had a mega-cold and was up until 10pm and I had marking, which was irritating, and I had the Monday Meeting of Doom earlier, which had left me in a foul mood. I was rolled.

Anyway, enough of that.

What can I say about the past year?  I can say that I have met some fantastic people and have been priviledged to read their comments and know that they have read my thoughts. Thank you!  I have had captions created for me by talented and awesome people. That perhaps shouldn't make me as warm and fuzzy as it does, but it does!

I have written the start of a story (Reality / Shifts) that I intend to go back to at some point and I have started a novel that may well end up being finished. I have dressed more this last year than at any point since 2007 and I have enjoyed most of those times. I have bought boots, shoes, a dress... these were all purchses that I have enjoyed and would make again if I had to. I have tried and failed therapy. I have tried and failed to 'woo' Tilly back to bed, for a whole host of reasons, the most recent of which is the cold I am currently sporting. I have failed one set of support and been pushed to the next level at work, but in the process more or less improved relations with my boss. I think.

I also, last month, managed to make a concerted effort to write positive things that actually left me in a pretty positive mood, so that was nice. I have joined Google+ and I have created a new identity online that seems to have made friends. I have, in fact, been me online. Been me anywhere, full stop.

So, if you have been with me at any point of this journey then thank you!

Saturday, 1 December 2012


It's been an age since I wrote like I have written over the last month. I've been pretty quiet about it on here, relying on my other blog to tell the tale.  It has made things difficult at work, where there is a suspicion about spending time doing somethikng like writing as a hobby, even when students do it. I can't put my finger on why but I am reasonably certain that there is a feeling that doing thjings for oneself means that you aren't putting in maximum effort for your students. In any case, I have sailed close to the wind to find the time in amongst having a family and doing things that work want me to do, but I have managed it and I have enjoyed it.

Like I said in an earlier post, much of this has been driven by the alter-/ultra-/supra-ego that I have created, or rather came fully formed, of Joanna. She has been the one on Google+ practically every night making new friends and sharing the highs and lows of the writing process.  And you know what, it has been an absolute blast. I have also rediscovered that Joanna is, well, me. She and I are very much the same person. That is, Joanna is who I would be if only I could let myself go in all areas of my life. Joanna is who you read when you look at my blog. My RL self, the one that goes to work, is a lie and a front. Of course it is.

Joanna is who I want Tilly to know better. She knows most of Joanna, but seems to prefer the RL version that works and mopes and generally struggles to cope. That she doesn't want to know about the compulsions and what have you that Joanna comes with means that she doesn't know all of me, all of Joanna.  I should stress, as much as I like the name Joanna, I don't mean that I would want to be called Joanna by Tilly, that would be silly. Nor do I mean that I would want to live full time as a woman, that would be equally silly for me. I mean that the truthful part of me, the me on here that is honest and flawed, is known as Joanna.

Anyway, I wanted to share a scene from the NaNo project on here and see what people thought. It's after the break below, because it is rather long and not everyone wants to be beaten about the head and body by a wall of text!