Blog, Sweet Blog

She strode confidently to the front of the room and set her traveler’s mug of coffee and a chestnut satchel on the table by the lectern; exactly like a person who hadn’t mysteriously disappeared without a word months ago.  She drew a fat notebook from the briefcase and placed it on the lectern, then flipped it open to today’s lecture.

“Okay, let’s get started, everyone.” Finding her place, noting the surprised murmurs, afraid to look up at the class to see who had stayed.

She looked up.  Most had.  Good.


See that thing up there?  That purple date?  That’s when I’m scheduled to have Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS*) with Dr. Pierre Brassard and Dr. Maud Bélanger in Montreal…that’s in Canadia, you guys, our frozen, but warm-hearted neighbor to the north!  I just made the appointment a few days ago after weeks and weeks of scurrying around like a secretive, paperwork-collecting little mouse.

I started scurrying in mid-April after discovering that I could borrow most of the money from my retirement account.  The place I work has a program where you can loan yourself the money and then pay yourself back over time at a low interest rate (it’s just over 2.5% right now).  When I started looking into it, I saw that I could take out a loan for around $15,000, which is most of the cost of surgery these days.

Finding out I could get the money was major big thing.  Like, I had always planned on having surgery at some point in the murky, distant future, but the cost made it seem like it was effectively out of reach, especially while I’m still in graduate school and paying off a car loan.  Which was unfortunate because after one boyfriend, I decided I’d had quite enough of pre-op intimacy, thank-you very much.  And I love intimacy!  I had resigned myself to an unhappy/bitchy chastity, so, believe me when I say I was really excited about the money thing.

I emailed the two most well-known surgeons in North America (Dr. Marci Bowers and Dr. Pierre Brassard) and asked about their fees and wahtnot.  Dr. Bowers’ rate is $22,500 and Dr. Brassard charges $18,040 (Canadian).  Honestly, I chose Dr. Brassard for his lower price, but he has an excellent reputation as a caring and experienced surgeon.  There are more affordable options in Thailand and in the United States, but the choice, for me, was always (and only) between those two.

Along with the price quote, Dr. Brassard’s office sent a welcome packet which contained his list of requirements for scheduling a surgery date.  Basically, I had to submit a letter of recommendation from two different therapists and one from my endocrinologist (who’s also my GP and primary care physician) and a health history questionnaire.  I already had one therapist and we had discussed her crafting a surgery letter for me from the start of our sessions together.  While she worked on my letter, she referred me to another therapist for the second letter.

Seeing the second therapist sucked.  A lot.  It had been a long time since I’d discussed anything major with my primary therapist (and I rarely see her), but I had to resurrect everything for the new therapist over one, 90-minute session.  I’m generally happy with where I’m at in my life right now, but that session made it seem like things were mucho shitty-o up until a few years ago.  And they were!  But I guess my powers of repression and survivor’s optimism are terrible and mighty; it’s always been easier for me to look forward.  I wasn’t raped or molested or raised in an oppressive religious environment, but I’ve had very little real stability in my life (combined with some epically bad parenting) and it’s always been easier for me to burn bridges and reinvent myself…for lots of reasons.

With that ordeal out of the way, I collected my GP’s letter and emailed the whole shebang up to faraway Montreal on June 30th.  And then I waited. Ugh. I fucking hate waiting, you guys!  I mean, I guess most people do, but I’m pretty sure I hate it the most…or I’m at least in the top ten.  Probably.

Moving on…I received my first date offer two weeks later.  November 20th, 2011.  Holy crap, I thought, that’s in 4 months!  (I was expecting something in the next 12-18 months). And then I thought some more.  That’s in the middle of Thanksgiving week, about three weeks away from the end of my school semester and two months away from the end of  this year-long major work leadership thing I’ve been on (oh yeah, I guess we haven’t talked about that). I’ll need to take about six weeks off of work, and twelve of those days will be spent in Montreal.  I rejected that date the next day; there wasn’t any way to make it fit.  Also, my sister said she wanted to be there with me (aww!), so I tried to think of a date that worked for both of us.  As it turns out, her school has the weirdest schedule, and there was literally only one acceptable week between now and December 2012, and they’re “on standby” that week, whatever that means.  So I picked the next best week: May 9th, 2012.

I think it’s a good date.  I’ll be out of school for the summer and I should be able to work from home for the last of the six weeks (give or take) I plan on taking off.  My sister won’t be there with me the entire time, but that’s ok; I’m hoping my mother will be there for the rest.

It seems like a long way off, but it’s not even a year and I think it will go by fast.  There’s still a lot to do, but I think I’ll have time to get my passport, lose weight/exercise more, and finish all the 1,001 other things I have to do without feeling harried.

Now that that’s all done, I’m feeling all of the feelings, you guys.  Like,  I’m happy that I can close out that last part of transition, but I’m also worried about almost everything.  Surgery is dangerous and it may not “fix” anything.  Recovery will take a long time and there’s still so much left to do.  Oh, and let’s not forget about the money!  THE MONEY!  I’m guessing those are the reasons that I’m feeling like there’s a green cloud of creeping dread that’s slowly choking the life out of me right now.  I’m sure it will pass, but so far, not cool, brain.  Do you think all that’s a good enough reason to get a Valium prescription until then?  How awesome would that be?  THE ANSWER IS SO AWESOME!

Anyway, consider yourself updated, old blog.  I’ll post more here or on tumblr when something else exciting happens.  Until then, please distract me or buy me some ice cream or something, ok?


*a.k.a. Genital Reconstruction Surgery, Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS), gender confirmation surgery, sex change, vaginoplasty, etc.

Another great moment in tumblr achievement…and by “great”, I mean “sad oversharing” and by tumblr, I mean, the place on the Internet where I sleep most nights when I’m not over at dudeswithbeardseatingcupcakes, doing it with my boyfriend.



Well, it’s been a while since we did an episode of The annahell Share Times Family Feelings Friendship Hour so put on your reading pants and buckle up!

But first, is this an amazing picture or what?  I don’t know wtf it is but I found it when I was searching for screen caps from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!.  Is that a Scorpio symbol on her beanie hat thing?  Oddly appropriate.  I know it isn’t Halloween-y, but I’M THE BOSS HERE AND WHAT I SAY GOES.  Don’t fret though, it’ll be non-menstrual themed ghouls and goblins from now on, promise.

So yeah, feelings…I’m kind of frustrated, you guys.  I’ve mentioned that it’s been a busy few weeks what with school and what’s been going down at work and all.

School is fine, I guess.  I’ve got my homework schedule down and I haven’t gotten lower than a 98/100 on anything, but I kind of hate this class.  I’m always late and nobody talks to me and lately, I don’t even look at the professor when he’s talking anymore.  I just roll my eyes A LOT and mumble curses (witch curses!) under my breath.

Like, the guys are friendly, when cornered, but standoffish/shy enough that introverted shut-ins seem more sociable.   And I’m never in a good mood for that class (what with the boob-staring or the lateness-inducing early morning-ness of the class), so doing an hour of Samantha Small Talk just to have an awkward conversation with a stinky nerd boy is nigh inconceivable. NIGH INCONCEIVABLE!

Also, if I can nrrd grrl out for a second, the way the teacher just shrugs off the math all the time is really starting to bother me…like in a uh-oh, maybe I chose the wrong program kind of way. Like, if this was an electrical engineering course, I would be holding on for dear life, but at least they would do proofs and not refer to the math as “hard” or “scary.”  It’s just insulting, you guys.

Whatever, it’ll be fine, I’ll be fine.  I think it might help me feel better if I could get to class on time or if I asked the tall-white-guy clique if they want to study after work (the Indian kids just keep to themselves).

And can we talk about this leadership program thing at work?  So I applied to this junior leadership thing at work and it’s been, shall we say, a difficult process.  There were all these specific requirements for the application process…

-make a weird resume with your past company’s mailing address and a salary history

-use this one website that’s broken in strange ways for half of the 30-day application period and then when you complain about it to the program contact you get thrown into this it’s not my fault back-and-forth between the contact and her supervisor and the contractor that runs the web site.

-have your supervisor fill out an evaluation form on how good you are at “political savvy” and “leveraging diversity”

-fill out these 16 essay questions about your leadership history but we’re only going to give you 250 characters for each one so, basically, just sum it all up in one long, godamn sentence.

-oh yeah, and the essay questions will contradict themselves from one sentence to the next and have a lot of typos and crap, NBD.

-and then fax in everything with this kooky cover sheet system so that we’re guaranteed to lose most of it.

-and don’t fuck it up because your supervisor who you really like and seems to, for some reason, always have your back and is always pulling for you asked you to apply to this program and you can’t screw this up because we’re all counting on you, OK?  OK????

-oh and even though you spent all that time making sure your application was to-the-letter-perfect and submitted well before the deadline, we’re going to lose your documents (see above) anyway, so don’t freak out when you check the website and it says “Ineligible – Application Incomplete,” just keep faxing that shit over and over and over again until you retire or get fired.  Good luck!

So yeah, good times.  Oh, and I also I had a scary-real dream about how my ex forgave me and we got back together and then killed these three people and I’ve been seriously thinking about asking the proprietress of the local BDSM dungeon place how one might, possibly maybe go about training to become a part time professional dominatrix for reasons that I do not, at all, feel comfortable discussing at the present time or in this forum.  Also, crushing loneliness/sister abandonment issues.

If that is not a gratuitous picture of myself on this Wednesday, then I don’t know what is.

Your move, internet.

A continuing series of reposts from my tumblr page,

On parents and cell phone texting…

The good news? My parents have recently discovered the joys of texting.

The bad news? “Reo tues state fair remeber old days along w pat benatar”

Translation from dadtext? Hello daughter!  Did you know that Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon are playing at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday?  I would love to see them and your stepmother and I are thinking of going.  The songs of that era bring back a lot of memories, both good and bad.  ‘I Can’t Fight This Feeling’ and ‘Love is a Battlefield’ got me through some tough times and I think attending Tuesday’s concert would be a fitting tribute to the memory of times gone by.  I’ll be sure to text you from the audience!  Love always, Dad.

An important dadtext update…

Anna: Hey dad!  Sorry, but i’m not sure what you meant by the last message.  Are you going to the fair on tuesday?  And seeing pat benatar?

Dad: Reo speedwagon yes we may go

Anna: Oh cool!  That sound fun.  Ours is all the way down in pueblo, so I usually skip it.

Dad: Rember the days we drove to find them reo

*long pause*

Anna:  Hmm, no, that doesn’t ring any bells.  Did we take a roadtrip in search of REO Speedwagon?  Did we find them?

You guys!  After that last message I wanted to call my father and check to see that he was ok.  And that he wasn’t, you know, drinking brown bag wine at work, again.

I don’t recall a childhood quest to find the lost REO of the Speedwagon, but I really wanted to keep messing with him.  Were they nice?  Did they reward us with rock and roll treasure?  Did we befriend any magical creatures along the way?  Did I get turned into a newt?

I make the fun, but it’s out of love.  I think it’s adorable that he texts me out of the blue sometimes, but these are too good to leave alone.  I hope he never stops!

A continuing series of reposts from my tumblr page,

I just found this list in my gmail drafts box.  I can’t remember what it was for or if I even wrote it (I think I did, but I’m not one to be trusted).  I think it was part of my short-lived attempt to find a better (and apparently secret) nickname than Anna Banana.  Regardless, it made me lol just now, so share time.

Janet Reno
The Other Obama
Annabree the Shiv-ner
Magic Annie Warbucks
Li’l Bow Wow
Molly Mathlete
Captain Blackbush
The Scourge of the Plains
Iron Anna
Betty Beef
Little Shirley Pimple
Queen Roast Beefa
Hillary Cunton
Queen Kong
The Queen of Donkey Kong
Princess Peach, Princess of Mario World
Smacky Spice

Do you have a secret, made-up nickname you’d like to share?

A continuing series of reposts from my tumblr page,

Oh damn! As soon as I saw this, I knew that this was the golden comedy fleece from which the fabled Sweaters of Hilarity are knitted.

Is this inspiration enough for a joke off? THE ANSWER IS YES!

If you want to play along at home, write a joke and post it or submit it to me.  I’ll reblog the best!

•I’ll take ‘Worst Ways to Find Out Your Parents Don’t Love Each Other Anymore’ for $600, Alex.

Divorce Magazine has a strict no suicide/binge drinking/custody kidnapping editorial policy because those kind of stories just bring you down, man.

•Rejected Divorce Magazine article submissions:

So, your hubby’s making time with the Cootie Queen?

Spousal surveillance: a beginners guide.

Are you a stalker?  Take our quiz and find out!

Divorce: Still shitty after all these years.

Divorce Magazine can go fuck itself along with Dick Cheney.

•Music Legend Dan Hill Talks Relationships…THAT END IN DIVORCE.

•Ahh, memories…of my parents getting divorced. Also, therapy.  Lots of therapy.

an introduction

Hi, I'm Anna and I love cheese!

This blog is a chronicle of my life and a catalog of happy ephemera. The About page has a little bit more information, but, remember, none of this is really's just a supplement, a thumbnail sketch, a mostly anonymous Intarwebs placeholder. I'm way better/less wordy in person. :-)

Oh, and if I wrote something about you and you thought it was mean or hurtful, I'm sorry. It's how I felt at the time, but probably isn't how I feel now. Chances are, I love you and I think you're awesome.


All content on Blog, Sweet Blog is copyrighted by me, Anna Hell. Unless otherwise noted, all photos, words, and content on this site are mine, created by me, and should not be used without my permission (or at least attributed and linked back). I try to embed links or quote original source material if I use another person's work.

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February 2023