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I have said in the past that depression is an insidious thing in that it does, by its very nature, make it awfully difficult to do anything about. It's a self-perpetuating condition in a lot of ways although obviously it's more complicated than that. Having said that, if you can get enough of a wedge in the gap that you can address some of the underlying causes, then your ability to continue to do things to cope with it increase enormously, or at least that seems to be what's happening with me. A new prescription for medication has made a real difference and acting on a blood test that showed me to be low on both vitamin B12 and vitamin D may well have helped quite a bit. I'm now cycling three days a week with every indication that I will be able to step this up in the near future. I've lost nearly 5kg (only another 20-25kg to go!) and cycling is already much easier. I'm finding socialisation much easier although it's still easy for me to become overstimulated and exhausted and a few relationships have become closer and more rewarding. I'm actually happy and feeling like I have agency. This is all extremely promising.

I had an almost-on-a-whim purchase recently. A friend was selling his very nice mountain bike and I'd regretfully decided that I couldn't justify spending $750 on a bike. Visiting him to check out his garage sale, we started talking again and the looking at bikes I'd done in the interim had made me realise just how good a buy this was. So I'm now the proud owner of a fastidiously modified and maintained Felt mountain bike. This will allow me much more rewarding trail rides and provide the impetus to do exactly that.

Flat hunting is becoming more prominent now that I have the mental space for it. I attended an auction yesterday and although the property was out of my reach, it always had a bit of a "too good to be true" aspect to it and in the end was so far beyond my limit that I wasn't even disappointed. There are other potential candidates and I will continue to hunt.

I didn't get the job I wanted. I'm a little dubious about why exactly I was turned down and it's very easy for me to be paranoid about this but others around me are agreed that it seems dodgy. I shall follow this up gently while also consciously going through the emotional process of letting go of that particular hope.

So a period of growth and change. 2014 was not my best year but 2015 could be really good. Onwards.
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I spent some time on the bike both today and yesterday. This is still a special thing for me and I've had no notable discomfort from the admittedly modest amount of riding I've done. (10km yesterday, 15km today) So I think I'm back to my commute and from this point I'll be interested to see how my fitness progresses. It's dropped horribly in the past year and I am even slower than I was before surgery. There is a LOT of work to do. If I ride to and from work by default and treat the bike as my primary form of transport for most other things then I think it will work. It'll take time but that's unavoidable so I will just do and do and do and the doing will become easier. I'm hoping that this will also put me back on track as far as paring my weight back goes.

Mostly though, while it will do many good things for me, I just adore riding. I still feel deft and graceful on the bike and as my muscle tone returns, that will only get better and I'll get back the muscular and athletic thing as well. I loved having that and I absolutely WILL have it again. There's a hint of spring in the air and I think this is the perfect time to start cycling again. It will be wonderful.
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So yesterday I splashed out and bought a couple of things. One was a new pair of headphones. My old Sennheisers disappeared recently but were getting rather rattly and worn so probably due for replacement anyway...it's not as if I didn't get a *lot* of use out of them. So another pair of Sennheiser cans and these are rather nicer than the old ones. Cleaner, less bass heavy, defined and just lovely. $150 is slightly more than I meant to spend but they were so much better than any of the $100-120 range things there that it was entirely worth it.

About half that price, but entirely more rewarding was the replacement bike helmet. My old one resoundingly earned its keep a couple of months ago and is now no longer a helmet. So this morning I put it on, along with cycling appropriate clothing and rode to work for the first time in months.

I had not realised how badly I had missed this and how dreadfully I felt as if I no longer had ownership of my body. Being allowed to use my own body like that again is the most gloriously empowering thing. I'm flabby and unfit and so so SLOW but it was the best thing ever and I get to do it all over again tomorrow.

I felt properly functional for the first time in months. The cough has nearly completely receded, I slept well, I got exercise, I listened to good music through my shiny new headphones while working and my productivity went through the roof. The contrast to the past few months was such a stark relief that I'm startled by just how cramped and unhappy I really have been recently. I should not want to cry with relief when I get home from work, not because the commute was hard but because it was so good.

So I'm now actively taking my body back. No snacks, reduced booze, cooking real food, finally exercising again, pilates on Mondays, and while I'm not looking forward to the consultation with the arthroscopic surgeon (not yet actually booked) it will at least be a step forward.

The months of no exercise and comfort food bingeing has seen my weight creep up to 77kg. 18 months ago I weighed 63kg and I liked that. Now my clothes don't fit. All the above measured should fix this particular bugbear. I *like* being fit and lean. I am so taking that back.

Finally, it's now four months away from reassignment surgery. That time will fly. I can't wait.
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And that's another weekend I've run out of and another curtailed in various ways by my injuries. I left the bout after party on Saturday sore enough to be in tears at one point and monumentally pissed off at having to cut the evening short. I did very little today.

I looks like the next stage with the knee is to get a MRI scan to see exactly what the damage is. This is apparently likely to cost something in the order of $300, private health insurance or not. I'll hit my insurance up to see what they're good for but either way, I suspect that this is going to cost me real money to resolve given that the scan will only give an idea what the actual treatment will have to be. Please please not surgery. I have to resolve it though...it's keeping me from both cycling and skating. This is fitness, body image, social life and chunks of my own identity all compromised because of this injury and I am getting progressively more and more upset about it.

I don't want to be sore.
I don't want to be inactive.
I don't want to watch from the sidelines.
I want my fucking body back and I want to have a reason to like it again.

I know a number of people who have been through those sentiments in spades and with sprinkles on top and with no hope of resolution. I wish this gave me a sense of perspective but to be honest, it doesn't. I'm just finding my mood getting progressively darker and I absolutely have to make sure that I'm actually doing something about it or the whole situation is going to get out of control.
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There's a night I seriously don't want to repeat. I was cycling up to Footscray train station after lovely singing when I found myself coming up behind a much slower cyclist. He moved to one side as I went to go around him and I had ot brake redally hard to avoid hitting him. I'm not sure exactly what happened next but it involved going over the handlebars really fast and landing on my right shoulder and the side of my head. The guy on the other bike favoured me with a sneering "Ya fuckwit!" and left me hyperventilating and shuddering on my back in the middle of the road. Charming. So after very gingerly riding the remaining few hundred metres to the train station there was a progression of stairs and changing trains (for a total of three), nearly passing out at one point before finally getting home about an hour later. The wonderful 10B took me to The Alfred hospital and stayed there until 3am for shich I am enormously grateful. Because I'd hit my head hard enough to crack my helmet in two places the staff quite reasonably feared for the state of my spine and put me in a neckbrace and admonished me firmly not to move. So flat and immobile on my back for the next 7 hours. That's sort of comfy at first but wears thin awfully quickly. A series of x-rays and a CT scan later (which occasioned the usual "Is there any chance that you're pregnant? ... Physically impossible, yes we hear that a lot." conversation.) it was determined after several hours that my spine is fine but I have a contused shoulder joint and a fractured scapula which explains why lugging my bike up and down several flights of stairs was so unpleasant.

As an aside, being trans, particularly pre-op or non-op in a hospital is exceedingly awkward. To their eternal credit, the staff were utterly lovely and made me as comfortable as possible the whole time. There was no hint of *them* having difficulty with the situation, the awkwardness was all mine.

This firmly confirms the destruction of any plans for bouting pre-surgery so I can now relax and let my knee heal properly. I am very sore and very grumpy.
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Wedding anniversary blues aside, why have I been so grumpy lately? Time to think harder about diet I think and cycle more. The wig has been a hindrance to cycling as going out in public without it is essentially just not going to happen but I don't want to destroy it with sweat. Maybe I need to find a similar but cheaper wig that doesn't cost $340 for cycling.

Microgynon dosage dropped from two per day to one on 18/10/11. I will be getting a blood test mid-December to check how that's progressing but otherwise things should stay the same. My endocrinologist has left me to get the prescription for that from a GP so I suppose I'm my own mistress in that respect although for now, following his advice seems the cleverest course. I'm more or less comfortably filling an A cup now and seem to have hit a phase of growth so onwards and...er...outwards!

I think I'm starting to work out what Forth wears. This is still very much a work in progress but I'm starting to get a feel for what I do and don't like and am feeling less worried about playing with it. The pendulum for how I want to dress has definitely been swinging more to the girly lately, plenty of skirts and dresses. I found a cute tartan sundress which I love and I definitely want more of those, especially coming into summer. This would also be huge fun with a pair of docs for pseudo punk chick stompy goodness. Definitely more cute punk than spit in your beer punk but that's fine as I vastly prefer the former anyway. Op shop raiding for more of those is on the cards today and I want to hunt down more fun tights. The awesome red check pair I got from Target have more or less died and I wasn't clever enough to buy more while they were still there. There is apparently a specific tights shop on Glenferrie Rd, so I will start there. Richmond and Brunswick should probably be looked at as well if the weather allows. I suspect mixed mode transport (train and bike) will be the way to go today.
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I have been feeling encouraged lately. People have taken me shopping and given advice on projects and given me bits and pieces that will contribute to Getting Things Done™. So tonight will hopefully see the genesis of a couple of things.

The fixie needs its back tyre mended and its handlebars wrapped. I have recently been gifted with a set of bars that will likely give me the perfect amount of extra reach and drop. I’ll get the old grips off them tonight and fit them. They’ll probably require that I get a new brake cable as the existing one will be cut too short to suit but once I get that and some new bar tape, it’ll have a whole new character that I think I’ll love even more than I do its existing one, which is saying something because I adore that bike.

I have a voluminous man’s shirt that I bought from an op shop because it has a funky mandarin collar and I love the fabric. It’s huge though and a bulky masculine cut. I’ve unpicked the breast pocket and after receiving some much appreciated advice and help with pinning, the plan is to sew darts into the front and close the rear pleat so it fits as a long, feminine cut shirt. This is my initial foray into breaking out the sewing machine and deciphering out it works. After that I have cloth originally meant for shirts but which may well become sundresses or similar, possibly after making the first one out of an old bedsheet or something so that I can learn from my mistakes on fabric that I don’t care about. I spent the bulk of my lunch break making a foray to Clegs so I now have a little container with four different coloured pieces of chalk. I've been warned off using the blue or pink on white which is good because otherwise I would have. The other two are white and yellow so I suppose yellow is the obvious choice.

This will lead into making garb, just like I keep banging on about. I’ll start with something simple and there are plenty of things that revolve around sewing squares and triangles together so once I actually decide what to make, work out fitting get some fabric and stop sewing my fingers together I should be away. I really want to sort garb out because I’m sort of re-emerging into the SCA (booked for the Krae Glas baronial invest, yay! Going to sing, double yay!) and I don’t want to do that in my boy garb, no matter how much I like it and love that it was made for me. I’m also no longer dressed by Laurels and frankly I should probably learn to dress myself. I suddenly have a body and a social context that makes clothes interesting to me and they never really were before so this is all new. I’m having a blast exploring it and I’m delighted at the support I’m getting. This translates into a desire to toy with them in terms of making and modifying. Hello vertical learning curve which is always a fun thing.

The other part of personal appearance which will involve a vertical learning curve is cosmetics. It’s not something I plan to make much use of but at the moment I don’t dare because if I try to apply them I’ll look like the over excited 8 year old who decided to play with Mum’s makeup. This would be bad. So there will be purchasing and advice seeking and experimenting at home.

Other than that I have a nice enamelled cast iron casserole dish that’s going to be loaded up with leek and mushroom and tomato and lentils and olives and whatever else strikes my fancy…it’s about time I had something without meat in it and lentil bake sounds nice. Browning and deglazing the leek and stuff on the stovetop first before adding the rest of the stuff and baking should work well. I think it’s also time to move the chest of drawers out from under the loft bed where it’s a pain in the arse to get to and use that for bike storage and sundries as I always intended. This might actually make my bedroom a nicer place to be although I’m damned if I can work out how to get into the light to replace the dead globe.

Forty minutes left before I go home, I’ll be posting this as I leave work. Want to go home now.

[edit:]

Dinner cooked and yummy, bedroom largely reorganised and bike fixed (the brake cable *was* long enough and the other tyre worked, yay! I can ride it tomorrow and just need to wrap the bars). Useful cutting tools and conversation provided by 10B and sewing project relegated to tomorrow evening at the usual open house dinner and chat time. I think I'm pleased.
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I have a new bike. Many of you have seen it and know how pleased I am with it, which is mainly down to the fact that a lot of it comes from my own hands. It's an exercise in making a silk purse from a sow's ear by dint of removing most of the sow's ear, carefully tanning the tiny remnant and then covering the whole thing with swathes of silk. The fixed gear thing confuses people though. I explain that it doesn't coast and people develop fixed polite smiles and say things like "How...interesting." *shuffling of feet, peering at shiny bits* "Why?"

Not an easy thing to explain really. Reams have been written on this and for the most part it sounds like some mystical navel gazing exercise. There are some benefits involved...it forces you to work harder up hills and pedal more smoothly, more quickly and generally with better form downhill all of which make you a better cyclist. There are arguably benefits in efficiency overall, simplicity begetting reduction in losses from various types of mechanical drag which is an effect more noticeable than you might think, particularly given how good the average bicycle is in that respect already. But really, it's an exercise more analogous to cooking over an open fire or performing music unamplified. It's not necessarily better, but it's definitely different. In some ways it recalls the way the particular thing used to be done and because you're removing intermediary bits and pieces the whole thing becomes more immediate and more intimate. This is the navel gazing part, but it's definitely real and apparent. In this case, there is no discontinuity between what the back wheel does and what your legs do. At all. Ever. This leads to people rambling on about being "at one with the bike" and suchlike and they're absolutely right. Add this to the utter lack of complexity in the mechanism and it really is a case of thought begetting action. I suspect that people who have played with bow lathes or kick wheels for pottery or treadle sewing machines and found that they like them have the same sort of connection with what they're doing.

I'm not about to discard my more conventional bike and it will doubtless become my usual commuter again at some point. For now though, I'm getting a little extra fun in my daily commute. Given how arduous most people seem to find getting to work and home again, I figure being able to genuinely apply the word "fun" to the exercise is a win.
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I managed to bring a project out of hiatus today. I got the Super Eliott frame back from Abbotsford Cycles today, having had them fit a headset to it. They were very nice and fitted my bottom bracket while they were at it. I got it home and assembled as much of it as possible and that's enough to have been able to take it out for a spin. A genuinely nice thing. Nice and light for a steel framed bike, due to an utter lack of extraneous bits and pieces and very quiet and free spinning for the same reason. As I'd hoped, the reasonably nice hardware has given it a lovely smoothness and lack of rattle (once I'd adjusted a little play out of the headset) which is almost eerie when you've got a reasonable cadence up. I didn't go too far on it as I'm expecting a call to go pick up [livejournal.com profile] doushkasmum and I need a longer nut to fit the brake caliper so the test ride was brakeless. I'm ok with riding a fixie brakeless in the back streets of Reservoir, but I wouldn't be hitting arterial roads that way. Initial pics here.

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