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Posts Tagged ‘Anna

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.

Mood: Wubba wubba Wednesday
Music: Current 93-Red Hawthorne Tree


Sort of...in a way



Holy cats, you guys!  I’m actually writing a Blog, Sweet Blog post for its own sake and not just reposting mah tumblrs.  Don’t get me wrong, tumblr is my new spiritual home and the place I spend most of my time, but we’ve been through a lot, this blog and I, and I can’t stop loving it just because its not tumblr. Besides, this post is relevant to Blog, Sweet Blog‘s interests, which is why I’m posting it here first.

It’s my anniversaries!

I started this blog (well, posted first anyway) on April 23, 2008, or  2.0767 years ago, give or take. I can’t begin to tell you how important this blog has been to me.  It wasn’t ever about attracting readers or experimenting with practical narcissism (those came later).  I’ve always considered this blog to be a safe place for dumping the crazy, discussing whatever, and letting the air out of my head.  I’ll be getting to this in a minute, but it’s easy for me to forget how turbulent the first six months of HRT were for me.   I had just ended a three year long relationship with, until that point, the person I loved most in the world and I was in the middle of chemically altering my body and mind.  I felt unhinged most of the time and happysadangryhyperdepressedenergeticlazy the rest — but not in a bad way, if that makes sense; it felt right and weird.  Anyway, I don’t think I would have done as well if I hadn’t blogged and exercised.

My little blog, bless her, has changed with me.  I’ve struggled with moving from more of a personal/transition journal to an everything blog featuring my thoughts and creative work.  I’m still not sure of where I want to take it, but I  kind of like that it’s all over the place.

I started HRT on June 6th, 2008.  I had started some other transition processes before then (started seeing a therapist, my doctor), but I think it’s fair to call that date the start of my transition.  So, let’s see, that makes me 1.097 years old, in a way.  I won’t ever be celebrating my “new birthday” (the old one is just fine) but I do keep the date on my calendar.  Like I said above, a lot has happened since then (here are the big ones).  I think the process of transition is never ending, but I feel much closer to the end almost two years later.  There are still more physical changes to endure (bottom surgery, the neverfuckingending weekly electrolysis), but I feel like I might have finally graduated to late puberty, at least emotionally.

The last anniversary occurred 1.0548 years ago when I changed my name and started back to work as the real me, the girl named Anna.  Life has gotten kind of weird since then, but work has always felt like a safe place.  I’ve had better and worse days, but no one has ever made me feel uncomfortable or anything but loved and valued.  I know that my experience, sadly, is not the norm and I can’t fairly attribute the ease of my work transition to any more than luck…ok, maybe a little bit of preparation and moxy helped :-).

Still, I’ve struggled with my career choice.  I really don’t think I would have become an engineer if I would have transitioned earlier.  I’m not 100% sure I’ll stay an engineer until retirement, but I feel a lot better about it than I did a couple of months ago.  If I won the lottery or totally stopped caring about my current life, I’d move to New York or Paris and trade engineering to become a professional artist/bon vivant/salonnière/cultural maven/woman-about-town.  There aren’t any plans to move in the near future, but I’m working on my writing and art in the meantime, just in case.

So that’s it, you guys, happy anniversary/birthday to me and Blog, Sweet Blog!!!  I hope the following years are way easier/better than the last two.

Mood: Miffed, freezing
Music: No Anchor-Drone Me Out Part Two




Originally written for mah tumblr, be cool.

Look closely at that picture, my friends.  What is that white stuff?  Is it cocaine?  Powdered sugar?  Unflavored, loose snow cones?  No, mah dear tumblrs, it’s snow.

Yes, snow.

SNOW?

SNOW!!!

What’s today date?  How cold is it right now?  Would a helpful infographic answer some of those questions…



What the effing eff, you guys? Is this the dawn of a new Ice Age?  Is this the face of Springtime from now on?  Is blogging about the weather outside ever interesting?

We’re supposed to be due for a new Ice Age any time in the next few thousand years, right?  Actually, I looked for a pat answer to the question, “When is the next ice age, yo?” and found nothing but a lot of academic argument and speculation.  Thanks a lot, “Science”! Let’s just say we’re due for one “any time now”. Maybe this is The Big One….er, the start of One of the Other Big Ones?

For the record, I’d be happy if it never got above 80 degrees, but this is a bit much.  I don’t have a cute pair of stylish,  but funtictional boots and now I’m supposed to be wrapping myself in furs and cooking up the butchered seal and woolly mammoth meat that the menfolk haul back to the cave?  No thank you!

I’ve made the Ice Age joke a few times before, but really, May 12, snow?  What are you going to do tomorrow, Nature?  Make it rain kittens and then chase us around with pepperoni pizza tornadoes?  Come on!

Mood: This is a long week, y’all
Music: Tones on Tail-Burning Skies


(via artnevercomesfromhappiness)


Feliz Cinco de Mayo, Internet!

I was getting down, tumblr-style in celebration of Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla and had written something worthy of posting on Ye Old Blog, Sweet Blog.  So here it is…it’s about mariachi and my love of Mexican (and Hispanic) culture and I hope you like it!  Saunter over to mah tumblr page for more Cinco de Mayo goodness.


———————-



I love mariachi, you guys, like really and for truly…without a hint of irony. I love everything about it; the charro suits and dresses…the sombreros…the sweet, sad songs…the trumpets and violins…the musical cry of AH HA…the fat guitarrón…all of it.

Like most things, I think my interest started in childhood.  When I was little, I liked three things: skiing, alpine slides, and Casa Bonita.  We didn’t get to go to Casa Bonita as often as I would have liked (which, admittedly, would have been most days), but the few times we did get to visit the cavernous, pueblo-shaped monument to bad food, mariachi bands, and gun fighters had a profound effect on tiny me and my developing aesthetic.



At some point, mariachi moved from a fond remembrance of childhood to a more serious, adult interest. I remember watching a PBS documentary about the annual mariachi festival in Guadalajara and it was riveting; I would love to go someday.

A few years later, my family took a Mexican vacation to a resort between Cozumel and Tulum.  It was a super fun trip, but one of the best parts was a Mexican folk music revue in the resort’s main square.  I begged my wary family to buy tickets for it, swearing it would be the best thing ever.  I don’t think they liked it much.  It was made for tourists and high school musical cheesy in places, but the music was solid.  The show featured a lot of mariachi, but they also did a tour of Mexico’s other indigenous styles (jarocho, etc.).  I think the rest of my family wanted to leave about 2/3rds of the way through, but I loved it all.



Yeesh, this is getting long!  K, two more things…some day, I am going to host a big party somewhere, for some reason, and I am going to hire a sweet mariachi band to play all night long.  Also, if there was a real, dirty, hard-drinking, dead sexy band like the one in From Dusk Till Dawn (minus the demon/vampire part), I would quit my job and become a professional groupie, just sayin’.

Mood: Blurgh
Music: Einstürzende Neubauten-Halber Mensch



Aww, rat farts!  I’ve been so busy being tumblr-ifc all over the place, I forgot to do a Friday post.   How about we trade a poem of mine about Minutemen and Charles Bukowski for your angry, bitter tears?

Driving home, listening to Minutemen, thinking about Charles Bukowski,

Did his pickle plant buddies know he wrote?

Do you think his postal service record said, “…would rather be a writer?”

Did he try out new poetry,

before publication submission,

on dive bar denizens,

over afternoon beers and,

neat belts of whiskey?

Don’t worry, we’ll talk again later this weekend.

Mood: Has the time for the “mood” tag passed?
Music: Acid House Kings-Will You Love Me in the Morning?


My little one, Torrie, as a very young, web-saavy cat.



Remember when I told you luverly peoples about my old college website yesterday? Well, these are the graphics I made for it!  Just look at them…now, I’m no professional website designer, but I’m pretty sure people don’t use powder blue, blue blue, light pink, hot pink, and melon red as the stars of any website’s palette.  They’re all kind of washed out and seem to make the reading “challenging.”  They’re also twee as fuck and reminiscent of a twelve year old Hello Kitty fan’s design aesthetic.  Regardless, I did and do love these colors and I still like looking at these little experiments in Photoshoppery.



So, this first one (up there) was the banner for my links page; shocking, no?  I called it “Hot Links” because I thought it sounded clever and because I think I was aiming for that crucial, hot dog lover demographic.  I was also a lot more into fonts back then.  I forget the name of that one, but it’s round and fun looking.


It hate to be all Angela-from-The-Office, you guys, but I fucking love cats.  More importantly, I love my cat and that seems like justification enough for a whole web page devoted to her and her kitten-y exploits.  Oooh!  I should pull up the text from that page and post it, riveting! Again, notice the weird font and the fact that it is different from the previous font.  I knew then that sites should have a consistent look and feel, but I just wanted to use a bunch of crazy fonts all over the place!





Hmm, not really sure what I used the pink and red hearts border for.  I mean, it’s awesome, but still…myserious.  It might have been a border for all the Jack-in-his-underwear shots on the Jack Black mash book page.  Maybe it’s some kind of code?  I guess we’ll never know.

Awww, wook at da wittle staws and hawts and snowfwakes! Ugh, so cute!  Again, not sure what I used it for (a header?) but it definitely belongs in the Hall of Cute.



I don’t care what you guys say, I love the old Blog, Sweet Blog logo and I’m seriously considering bringing it out of retirement.  The picture was from, of all things, a haunted house photo shoot I was on.  All of the pictures turned out to be an awful mess mystery, but I liked the stars hanging from the ceiling in this one.  Except for the new, different font (Bauhaus something?) it looks like it fits in with the rest of the site.



And finally, this little beauty is from the header I designed for Dr. John Clark’s comp sci ethics class, CSC 4735-Computers, Society, & Ethics.  We had to create a blog for the class and post a weekly bit on whatever ethical topics struck our fancy that week.  No, I won’t be reposting those. It was a fun assignment and I tied it in with the rest of my site and personal blog.  Wacky font with hearts for dots + Rodin’s The Thinker = Best College Ethics Blog Banner ever!

What did your college ethics blog graphics look like?  How have you incorporated Auguste Rodin’s work into your web sites?

Mood: Is it Friday afternoon yet?
Music: Camera Obscura-Suspended From Class


the view from home

the view from home by anna hell



O hai internet friends!

I may have mentioned it before, but I recently perfected my home NAS setup and I have been doing a lot of joy riding in the way back machine, adding older pictures to my flickr account and thinking about migrating posts from my old blog site.

I had a web site in college back in the early Naughties.  The site consisted of weird experiments in hand-coded HTML, pictures of Jack Black in his underwear, and handmade site graphics.  I’ll share more later, but here’s the link to one of my favorite posts from days gone by…

The College Years: The Great Sandwich Conspiracy



I’ll just be posting the links becuase I to pretend like these posts were always part of Blog, Sweet Blog, so they should be cataloged accordingly.

If you’re just too damn busy to read the whole thing (I never was pithy), here’s a highlight…

Having survived the Safeway peanut butter crisis, I completed my shopping and made my way up to the checkout. I chose a line with an older woman on the cash register and a young kid (maybe 16 or 17) on bagging detail. When my peanut butter and jelly came up for bagging, the kid said to me, “Aha! It appears that you have fallen prey to The Great Sandwich Conspiracy!” The checker and I both ignored him. The kid waited until I had completed my grocery transaction when he hit me again.

him: Pardon me, but do you realize you have fallen prey to The Great Sandwich Conspiracy?

me: What on Earth are you talking about?

him: I see you have purchased both Jif peanut butter and Smuckers jelly. Don’t you see? Jif and Smuckers are both owned by the same company. It’s a sandwich conspiracy!

me: That’s great kid, really, but have you ever noticed that Jif and Smuckers are the most prominently featured products in that aisle? It wouldn’t be too crazy to suggest that Safeway is in league with the makers of Jif and Smuckers…perhaps they are all owned by the same company!

him:
Why Madame, if that’s true, I’ll eat my hat!



LOL, the old days were fun, weren’t they? Then there’s some more dialogue about Superman and Lois Lane, a thrilling comparison between Peter Pan and Jif peanut butters and a sweet picture of a lion, I think…maybe a car chase.  You should totally read the whole thing!

I hope you enjoy this little slice of Blog, Sweet Blog history.  I’ll try to repost the better ones (look for the friendly, The College Years prefix), but you should really read them all, because…well… that’s what Internet friends do, right?


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 me...it'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.

copyright

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.

Click the button thing below to have a delicious li'l slice o' Anna cake* delivered to your emails inbox whenever I write something new!

*N.B. Anna cake contains neither Anna nor cake.

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