My Adventures

HRT, surgery recovery and general updates

I may as well start off with the boring stuff — I’m still recovering from the shift in thyroid hormone, the scar still hurts sometimes and all of the sudden I may be experiencing sexual and romantic attraction where I wasn’t before. Yadda yadda yadda.

BUT THERE ARE FAR MORE PRESSING MATTERS AT HAND.

THAT’S RIGHT FOLKS! I HAVE /FINALLY/ STARTED HRT!

This last month has just been hell waiting for my endo to see me and it was one problem after another. March 18th, my Lilbro’s birthday, I went in to see my Endo and she really dropped the ball. I had my letter all filled out and signed, and I’d found her almost a year ago through a network that lists those that do HRT for trans* people through my insurance, but…she suddenly changed her mind, patted my head, handed my letter back, and told me to come back in 3 months for a thyroid checkup.

No.

Sorry, but no.

A week later I was in another Endocrinologist’s office, and I was shaking like crazy. I went in, handed her my letter, explained the situation and how many years I’d been in therapy (we calculated I’ve been seeing actual gender therapists for like…too many years) and she said all she needed to help me start was a set of lab results. So she drew some blood, I went back in a week later, and I got approval!

Unfortunately it would seem it’s been a while since she prescribed the Androderm patch for anyone as the one I took the prescription into my pharmacy for was discontinued about 2 years ago. So instead of being JUST healthy enough to be approved for the standard 5 mg patch (rather than the 2.5 mg patch those with health concerns are started off on) I, a week yet after that, was finally able to walk out of the pharmacy with my patches.

Today I am on Day 2 of being officially transsexual and on HRT. I’m wearing my third patch, as you change them out nightly at 10 PM (switching up what part of the body you stick it to) and I could not be happier!

 

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 12:30 PM

My “T Birthday”

Diaries are girly as all get-out, but Honey Badger don’t give a fuck. I finally got a call from the pharmacy saying my prescription was ready. To which I immediately rushed down the street and grabbed it quick as I could. I got home, ripped the box open, washed off my upper arm (even though I was gonna leave my upper left arm for Sundays, I’m switching things up) dried it off super well and then stuck a patch on. It feels sorta weird and sorta not at the same time — obviously I only just put my first patch on about a half an hour ago so there aren’t going to be any visible changes…but I’d say I can feel my skin responding to something. Sort of a very light tingle. Doesn’t hurt or tickle — it’s just…’there.’

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 8:45 PM

Patch #1

I put on my first patch earlier, I’ve had it on for over 8 hours now. No itching, no burning, only a few little aches and pains here and there out of the ordinary. It feels like a mix between warmth and numbness as it spreads throughout my body — the patch I have on now appears to be almost empty in its’ little chamber, and I put on a new one at 10 PM — the time I’ll put a new one on every day from here on out. The patch is virtually unnoticeable when I’m not worried about it coming off — it should stay on fine if I put it in the right place. The area on my arm I have it on now (upper left arm) is very fatty so I thought it best to start here — but it’s an area of my arm that bends and twists throughout the day, so the patch keeps trying to curl up at one side. I tried to stick it down with medical tape which worked okay — but now where the tape isn’t pressing down is creating a crease and I want to make sure I maintain as close to 100% surface contact as possible. There is a light bruise forming just under the skin where my first patch is — but that may well be from my having been pressing down on and touching the patch throughout the last 8 hours. When I put on my next patch in an hour an 15 minutes, I’ll be sure to switch arms (to my upper right) in order to make sure I don’t put too much stress on this arm for one day.

 

Tuesday, April 8th 2014: 10:05 PM

Patch #2

I just switched patches for the first time! The first patch wasn’t quite as empty as I was expecting it to be, but I could see the difference in gel levels when I pulled out the fresh one. I’ll be curious to see how much I draw from each patch day-to-day. There was no skin irritation whatsoever underneath my initial patch’s placement — the only redness came from under the medical tape I had keeping the side that tried to come off down. The feelings of warmth and tingliness/numbness I felt were not constant, I’m realizing, but circulated throughout my body in waves. Right now I feel only the slight effects of the second patch even though I only just put it on 10 minutes ago — but in another 20 minutes the first wave will probably hit. It’ll be nice to know what to expect throughout the day — though the first patch I only kept on for 10 hours. Tonight and tomorrow will be my first real test-drive of what a day with the patch on will feel like. I’m excited!

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 3:15 AM

Morning-After

Today has been especially awkward so far between having very little food, a whole bunch of energy, a surprising amount of drive, and a healthy appetite. Awkward because a bunch of energy and drive get you nowhere when you have no stamina and your body hurts just from standing for more than 10 seconds — and because normally I’d have a bunch of food at my disposal, but we were supposed to do a shopping today and Nana ended up not having the energy to drive. Yet even despite all this, I find myself incapable of getting angry, upset, or depressed. More than that, it isn’t that I’ve stopped experiencing emotions — but that I can’t seem to get around this feeling of elation and joy and happiness and it’s starting to weird my friends out! Whenever I start to get upset or angry, it’s just a moment or two before the feeling fades completely and is replaced with this weird sort of bubbly joy. Like for once no matter what happens I’m just happy to be alive.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 2:20 PM

Just Woke Up

Had an okay sleep, wasn’t a very long one — longer than last night. Still have these weird feelings of elation, starvation, and massive amounts of energy I don’t have the body to support yet. The patch seems to have stayed on well on my upper right arm overnight — I moved the position forward just a tad from where I put the other one on my other arm. No outward changes due to the testosterone of course, those things take time, but my throat feels sort of funny — thicker, and fuller — and my face feels sort of tingly. I’ve now had this patch on for about 14.5 hours and I put on a new one in 7.5. It clearly still has some gel in its’ chamber, perhaps putting it on before bed slows how quickly I draw what’s in it out. I can feel it starting to release another wave of hormones — my arm is starting to get warm and slightly tingly/ever so slightly numb again. I took my Synthroid over 30 minutes ago, so I’d say it’s time to finish off that yummy pasta I made last night.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 10:00 PM

Patch #3

This last patch didn’t even start to try to come off until 1.5-2 hours before I was ready to change it out, which is nice considering the last spot was a tad come-offie even 5+ hours before it was time to switch. Only a slight pinkish shade to the skin underneath, disappeared within minutes (having a patch on for 24 hours might do that to you) so no sign of skin irritation yet. Tonight’s patch I’m putting on my upper left thigh — which means tomorrow I’ll do my right thigh, and Friday I’ll give my stomach a try. I have noticed that sitting crosslegged causes significant folds in the patch and may have to adjust the placement of my patch in the future — or not sit crosslegged on Thursdays.

 

Wednesday, April 9th 2014: 11:30 PM

The Leg! It’s Different!

When I had the patches on my arms I could very easily feel the warmth of the T as it spread around through my system– there was a slight numbing feeling that went along with it. With the patch on my upper thigh where there’s a lot of fat — I don’t hardly feel it at all. The “peaks” that would normally almost surprise me are barely noticeable at all, and I can’t tell if that’s because it has to work harder to soak in, or if it’s because it’s just a fattier part of my body.

Post-Thyroidectomy, Day 2

I’m not gonna go back through this, so I’m sorry for any typos — this was something I typed up while on a very heavy dose of pain medication.

Sunday, January 26th, 2014 – My Hospital Room, Hannon 272

4:13 AM

 

The Nova…pain stuff I was given when the other stuff stopped working is amazing. (I don’t think it was Novacaine or anything, I just can’t remmeber what she called it.) I’m a little dizzy, but my neck, shoulders and back have all stopped hurting. My little aches and pains around the IVs in both hands I’ve now smacked several times have also stopped hurting, as wall as the pains in almost all my joints and muscles. I feel at ease, my nurse just switched my sheets out and I was able to hit the bathroom. I’m urinating well, eating almost all the food I’m being given, and I’m soaking up Saline like a sponge. I’m drinking lots of water, teas and juices — and the nurse is beinging me some applesauce so I can continue to eat while I wait for our 8 am breakfast call. I think I asked for French Toast, Oatmeal and Cranberry Juice. Looking forward to it.

Since Friday I’ve been having them keep my room nice and cold. The thermostat can’t go any lower and I haven’t been wearing my socks or anything else under my gown but the usual. Finally today my heart rate has been comfortably slowed (95 beats per minute — later it went down to 75), my internal body temperature has gone down enough to allow me to snuggle up with some socks and a thin sheet over me. I spilled some water on them earlier — and when the nurse re-made my bed she fluffed my pillows just right, in such a way that I can keep my neck in the perfect position so it doesn’t put too much stress on my stitches or on my back. Ahhh~

They brought in a lady that was born in the 1920s who has apparently caught Pneumonia? I’m guessing her family had rushed her to the E.R. She was very irritable, wailing and screaming and crying and panting. They hooked her up with an IV and gave her a breathing tube that has been continually beeping for the last hour or so now, as she’s been taken in for some sort of surgery. They kept talking about all these medications she’s been on in the past, and how cranky and violent she was while she was on them. I guess even a lady that’s 90-something years old can be depressed and have a tolerance against sleeping medication.

It’s kind of funny how relaxed I am right now. I know there are a ton of foreign substances in my body, I’m still on a beta blocker and 2 kinds of pain medications and they’re keeping me under close watch — but even though all of this would normally piss me off a little, I find it oddly comforting. I’m having them leave my door open tonight, even though my neighbors are being rather loud and rowdy. It allows me to pretend I have company, and that I’m not alone in my room. While it’s nice, having a room all to myself without needing to share, even I who loves my privacy am currently really appreciating it when the nurses duck their heads in just to say, “Hi.”

Anyway. Today should be my last day here at the hospital, so long as I continue to do everything right. My heart rate and body temp are coming down, my calcium levels are normalizing, my drain liquid is getting clearer and thinner and so long as I don’t feel dizzy or nauseous they shouldn’t have any reason to keep me. I finally asked the lady for a banana, she was able to find me one — the potassium should be a huge boost and help me heal. I’m looking forward to spending a few days with the family — I can’t even begin to tell them just how much I miss them.

I am now post-thyroidectomy!

TW: Hospitals, Surgery, Blood, IVs, Needles

(Picture: Me laying in my hospital bed about 30 minutes pre-op.)

Hey guys, many of you know that my thyroidectomy was coming up, but some of you didn’t. I just woke up (between blood drawings) on day 1 after I came into the hospital and while things are sore and stuff, I’m feeling pretty good~

No one has touched my bandages since I woke up right out of surgery — I have a tiny drain in that feels absolutely huge. During the surgery itself I lost very little blood, my heartrate didn’t spike, I didn’t go into a thyroid storm and there was only one very small complication. My thyroid was a LOT bigger than they thought it would be. I had a large goiter, but it wasn’t massive like some you see that come down to the collarbones and such, much of it had been pressed right up against my airways and only I was the one to really realize this. Because of its’ size, they’re doing a biopsy to make for-sure that there isn’t any cancerous material in it. If there is, they may give me one dose of radioactive iodine — but because the entire thing was safely removed completely, I doubt it.

Something that’s kind of funny is the moment I was up and given my own room, I was to start drinking water and eating jello — but a lady brought me in an entire tray of dinner complete with pasta roll filled with spinach, carrots, tea, a meatball soup, and an amazing orange cake<33 I started off by finishing off the jello — very slowly — I dove into my water, cracked open my tea…and then stole a bite of my cake. So amazingly good. I went on to finish off the soup’s broth and soft veggies, and then I ate most of the pasta shell and a few of the carrots. The nurses were STUNNED at how easily and completely I was finishing my first solid meal after surgery — but just to be sure, my surgeon had them give me a tums to keep it from upsetting my stomach.

I may end up staying another night — we don’t have the results of the biopsy, my calcium production’s a little low, my heartrate in general is still a tad high, and though no fever or anything, it took me about 9 hours of talking yesterday in order to be able to talk very quietly. When I first woke up I couldn’t make any sound at all, which was my only fear with this procedure. It’s really very routine, but there’s always the worry they could nick a parathyroid and lower my calcium production, or that they could nick one of my vocal chords and effectively render me mute. Well, I’m back to being unable to talk, but I’m assuming that’s just a mix of pain, swelling and such — I’ll be continuing to try to talk today even though it hurts.

I’m really glad I brought my own personal wheelchair, my laptop, and my 3DS. I even brought my headphones, though I’m trying not to use them as I need to be able to hear the nurses on a moment’s notice. I’m being relegated to doing only relaxing things, such as listening to music, watching TV, writing, and chatting with friends — until the beta blocker kicks in, they don’t want my heartrate trying to spike.

That’s about it really! I got here late yesterday, but they still took us. I was almost late in being taken in for surgery itself too — but I’m really glad as I got the chance to see my Mom and my little brother first~ They couldn’t stay through ’til I woke up, as it took me a while to wake up (probably because my initial IV fell out during surgery and they had to give me a whole ‘nother dose of sleepy stuff) but that’s okay as I’m hoping I’ll see one of them again today, and possibly all of them again tomorrow!

Hopefully I’ll have the energy to post another update tomorrow — we’ll see how it goes!

Thanksgiving, Loscon, and the Upcoming Holidays

Photo-intensive post! You have been warned!

Sitting out on my porch with the rain falling on 3 sides, thought I should blog about something fun.

And I do really love rain.

In all seriousness, this is the one part of the year I can curl up anywhere but directly in front of my box fan and enjoy a nice sweater or mug of hot chocolate. We get hail like once a year, but it usually stays above 60 — 50 at the least. This year we’re getting 50s, 40s, and even 30s — and boy do I love it!

Last week we had Thanksgiving. I went out with my grandmother to my little Bro’s house where we enjoyed a nice Ham and Turkey dinner. We had one friend with us, so it was just the 4 of us — and I took some cute pictures. My parents were out enjoying themselves for their anniversary, so we really splurged on the food. :B Below are some photos I took, enjoy!

Thanksgiving Dinner 1

DINNER YAY

Thanksgiving Dinner 2

DINNER YUM

Thanksgiving Dinner 3

PIE YAY

So yeah, Thanksgiving was fun. Immediately after finishing dinner we waited for my little bro’s friend to join us so we could head back to our place. It was a little cramped with all 5 of us sharing 2 beds and a couch, but we made it work.

The next day we got up and rushed to the con I’ve been going to for many, many, MANY years!

Loscon 40

So turns out this was like the 40th — I’ve only been going for about 12 which is pretty cool considering I’m only 20.

Loscon

Purty plants on the pool deck.

Loscon

Dramatic hammock.

Loscon

Purty plant on the pool deck,

The con was very dry compared to normal years. :c All of the life seems to have been sucked out of it with so many usuals in the hospital or dead or busy or just plain old. The cosplay was dry, nothing was impressive enough for me to bother stopping anyone in the halls over. I was in my wheelchair the whole time which was a real boon — I wasn’t in any unusual pain which for that much walking every day for 3 days straight — is incredible. The food was okay, the panels were boring, and no one was on the pool deck like I’d hoped (since our room was along the deck) as it was so heavily raining the first day. All in all, I guess there’s no where else I’d rather be — but next year I’ll be helping out to try to help keep it alive.

Last thing I’ll address in this post — the Holidays. Yes, what are we calling it this year? ChristmaHanuKwanzaakYule? Something like that.

I myself don’t really celebrate Christmas — but if there’s one thing I love to do it’s decorate a tree. When I moved out of my parent’s house and into my friend’s — it just wasn’t the same living in a place where they don’t decorate until like the day before (and honestly, ours are just /so/ much better XP) so I resolved to buying myself a tree the moment I made enough. Funny story: the batch that I have now (which includes 2 fake trees [one 2′, one 3″], an angel topper, a silver star topper, a string of silver pearls and 2 strings of my mother’s tree pearls, 6 or 7 different colors of plain ornaments, keepsake ornaments, tree skirts, strings of lights (mostly white — one rainbow) and such) only cost me about 75$ in total, and took me about 2-3 years to complete. It’s still not quite done yet, of course, but I work with what I’ve got.

Yule Tree 1

My larger tree, all decked out (except for my missing tree skirt) and ready to go. I keep this one more traditional — similar to the way my Mom does our tree every year (but I seem to have lost all of my red, white, gold and silver — which is what she would normally use)!

Yule 2

My little tree all dressed up (except for my OTHER missing tree skirt) and ready to go! I allow myself to go a little more crazy with this one — trying to use it to reflect my own spastic personality by using all the colors of the rainbow while keeping my ornaments more of a darker color.

As you’ve PROBABLY noticed I finally got my camera charged and useable but I’ve really had fun with it this past week or so. I’ve got a lot of stuff coming up — both of my trees (and my wreath) are all decorated and just waiting for the 24th to roll around but so far not much has really happened yet. That will probably completely change the moment the yearly family christmas party rolls around (which I’ve never looked forward to, in all my 20 years).

Until then, signing off!

A Long Time In Coming.

So, it’s been a very long time since I last updated (like a month-ish) and I feel that enough has happened I should probably get down to the business of writing it all down.

 

First off, probably the biggest thing is that I now own a wheelchair. It’s on the cheaper side of things, being an 18″ Medline — it is lightweight, but I was able to get it marked way down — the total of the chair (+free cupholder), the legrests, the cushion, a small bag I can stow stuff in under the seat (perfect size for a laptop, a water bottle or two and some snacks), and a pair of padded climbing gloves (to keep my hands from getting torn up as I wheel myself around) came up to about 200$ — but I was also able to get a 5$ umbrella clasp for bikes/wheelchairs/walkers the just in case.

I am brand new to this whole world I have ahead of me. Quite literally, it’s a world of less pain, more freedom and more trips to places I love like the Aquarium and the Huntington Gardens. Before, I would sit all day at my computer all day because I knew if I got up to stand or to walk or to move I would be in pain for hours — now I have no excuse! I can hop in my chair, roll down to the store, have fun in museums, explore the aquarium and do all of it without regretting it for the rest of the day (and most of the time, the day after). What makes me so sad, is when other people pity me, or dislike the fact that I’ve gotten my chair. I am not sad that I have a chair, though I wish I didn’t feel I needed one, I’m really happy to finally have something at my disposal I can rely on in order to be more productive and get more done.

For whatever reason out of all of the problems that I have, my carpal tunnel bothers me the least! When I pushed myself in a very similar model to the chair I now own for several hours at the Huntington Gardens, I felt a tad sore — and nothing else. Normally I would’ve been begging to go home, limping and in extreme pain by about halfway through, where as this time I went last I was happy, upbeat, I felt no need to lash out at the people around me — and best of all I left completely painless.

The true test will be how I feel after the convention I go to every year (and have for the last 12 or so). It’s called ‘Loscon’ and while I’d never be anywhere else, the days are long, hard, and filled with walking. No swimming for me this year, even though I’m perfectly capable of getting up out of my chair, this year I’m going to really break my chair in and see how much more I can enjoy myself when I’m not in pain all the time.

I will not be using my chair every day, nor will I be in it when I don’t need it — but I find that if the absolute worst case scenario comes to pass and I lose most or all of the ability to stand, I’ll STILL end up happier in life than I would have otherwise. I’m carving myself a way out of Survival Mode and into the rest of my life, and I’m gonna make it the best one I can damnit!

 

Phew! Secondly, I am back in with a therapist. I REALLY love the one I was able to find, but her appointments are expensive enough that there’s no way I’ll be able to see her more than once a week. She’s perfectly happy and willing to write my T letter for me, but there’s little point in doing so now as I don’t yet have a new psychiatrist. None of the ones I’ve called so far are calling me back, but I’m  hopeful and optimistic!

The way she treats you is that if you’re doing okay she gives you an entire hour of just talking it out, but if there’s work to be done for any reason, she gives you 35 minutes of talking it out, and 25 minutes of a really calming meditation CD where she hooks a band up to your head and plays music that align your various energy centers and help you heal yourself from the inside out. Many people may not believe in it, or think it works, but I’ve already seen a difference in my ability to remember things, and the quality of my sleep. I may not be sleeping any longer at night, but I’ve at least fallen into a more deep sleep during the time I get in the morning.

 

Thirdly, I’ve discovered I have some serious issues I need to work out. The main one would be that whatever it is that used to happen to me when I got into a car after my 3 accidents has progressed into full on panic attacks that leave me a shivering, shaking, unhappy mess. I get flashes back to all three accidents, even the one that wasn’t as bad (though it was my first), and find it extremely difficult to concentrate on driving — so I’m gonna have my therapist help me work on that as a priority.

Until I realized what was happening wasn’t normal, and really took a long hard look at what was happening to me, I had no IDEA they were panic attacks. Kinda scary when you’re suddenly experiencing one and you don’t know why or what is going on.

 

That’s all I can think of for now, I’m gonna go do some cleaning and make room for my new chair in the middle bedroom. Here’s to hoping everything goes well!

A shiny new DSLR, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and…scuba diving..?

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, things got a little crazy out here.

I’ve got a new camera! It’s a Nikon D3100 Digital SLR, so it takes REALLY nice quality photos, when I use it right. I’ve got about 40-some photos on my SD card, but I forgot to pick up an SD card reader while I was out, so I can’t pull them off just yet.

I got the 2-lens kit with the 18-55, and the 55-200 zoom lenses. They’re pretty darn good for a kit I got on sale for 220$ off.

Right now I’m not doing anything fancy. I’m still getting used to being rather delicate with it, and I rarely switch menu settings. I’m most comfortable in Aperture priority mode (A, from the P, S, A, and M modes), but I can still take photos fine in Auto and guided mode. I can definitely tell where a nicer lens will come in handy, but I already spent 800$ of my own money on what I have so far (the base, 2 lenses (+1 hood), UV-protection filters on both, 2 batteries, 2 SD cards, and a big ol’ case for it all, as well as a cheap tripod with its’ own bag–on top of the SD card reader I will need to go buy soon), so the 50mm prime/standard, 300mm macro/telephoto, and fisheye lenses can wait. (As much as I now pine after them. -sighs-)

I’m going to be getting a year-long pass at the Aquarium of the Pacific! I live roughly 15-20 minutes max away, and it was SO much fun when I went with a friend to one of their Discounted Late Nights a few days ago. I bought a (rather expensive, but worth it) micro jellyfish painting by a local artist by the name of Dean Bardos. (Well done, dude!) It’s no more than 2″ x 1.5″ in size, so. Pretty tiny.

I hope to take a million and one lovely photos with my new camera, and get out of the house a little more often. I do so little and get out of the house even less that I feel a bit stifled.

Also, as the title says, I am attempting to get into Scuba Diving. My Dad and his sister both scuba dive, both for pleasure and my aunt for work. When I saw a job opening (starting off as a volunteer, of course) at the Aquarium. When I looked up what I would need to do to become PADI Rescue Diver certified I immediately tugged on every string I could find to dig a little deeper. It turns out, a friend of the family instructs as a scuba diver at a local dive shop, and the prices are more than affordable (you know, for scuba diving).

The problem? When I went to fill out the paperwork, I had to admit to the fact that I am Bipolar and take medication for it.

Normally, it’s no problem. You take it to your GP, they sign that you can safely dive with whatever it is you’ve got, and you take your class. But when I began to earn the 1,500$ I would need to pay for the class and my own equipment, my doctor told me she refused to sign off, because of my resting heartrate. According to her, at between 120 and 140 resting, there was no way she was going to sign off. Only days before, I had gone to another doctor I see sometimes, and he wasn’t going to sign off either–but all he said was, “Hyperthyroid.” So, now that my second opinion has also denied me the right to scuba dive, I’m in the process of getting a bunch more blood work and a thyroid ultrasound done…but it looks like we’ll need to have my thyroid surgically removed after all. The hope is that it will slow my heartrate back down to a normal range (below 100 and she said she’d sign), and stop this intense influx of thyroid hormone it already produces. So…now I have to wait about 6 months (in order to save up for it, schedule it, get approved, and have the surgery), before I can even take the time to recover, and perfect the dosage of thyroid med I will need for the rest of my life, in order to function vaguely normally again.

What a world. Atleast there is some form of hope, in the shape of a surgery and a tiny little recording device. Maybe eventually I can use these two things to make a living.

The Britain Experience! – Transportation and a funny story…

Welcome all to the second in a long series of blogs I’m making, dedicated to my time in jolly old England!

Current alcohol count: Beer, Cider, Sake, and Wine!

Onto more pressing matters.

In the US, most of what you see on the road is personal cars. You see the occasional smattering of school busses and public transit busses. You never even see a subway unless you live in the heart of the dingier side of LA, and supposedly only businessmen and shady characters take them. Oh and, trains? What are those?

Here in London, that is another matter entirely. Not only are roads smaller and more packed, but a large portion of what you see are double-decker busses. There are many entrances to the Subway, lovingly named “The Tube,” and many of those who ride are children, the elderly, businessmen and women, foreigners, and those who simply find riding the Tube to be cheaper and easier than driving a car. In fact, the Tube in the UK is so much more organized than the one in the US, as well as more convenient. The best part about these two forms of transportation is that one can easily find a seller of “Oyster Cards” that allow one to just slide it in front of a small scanner any time they want to ride. It charges a small flat fee of about £1.50 per bus ride, regardless of how long you stay on–but require you to swipe at beginning and end of all Subway rides. I have yet to see a bus specific to schools–it would appear children and adults get to school or work the same way. They drive on the opposite side of the road as in the US, and the steering wheels are on the other side, but what really got me was this: Pedestrians never have the right of way.

You heard me. To those of us in the US, Jaywalking is both illegal and dangerous–but if someone hit you, they would be held responsible. Here in the UK, Jaywalking is neither illegal nor discouraged, but you have to be MUCH more careful so you don’t get creamed. Even at the edge of crosswalks where you have an all-clear light, they tell you whether to look left or right, because it’s your responsibility to make sure you don’t get hit by a car.

That isn’t to say walking around in the UK is the easiest thing in the world. Here in London, you can sometimes find yourself on a street–and not have any ice which it is. In the US, every intersection and driveway that lead onto a new street are clearly labelled, where here in London, you could be walking for several minutes before you find a sign that says “Ashburnham,” or “King’s Road,” and sometimes even when you do find them–they may be on the right or wrong side of a building (to show drivers what they,re about to turn into, and sometimes to show what you’ve already turned onto.)

The other major thing I see is a large amount of bicycles, motorcycles, and mopeds. If they don’t drive a tiny ‘green’ or fuel efficient car, they run or walk from place to place–and since everything is so close together, this is easy and convenient. In the US, you only see those with a large amount of money driving something like a smart car, and no one rides mopeds. Bicycles, only in a large riding group or near bike trails. (Compare and contrast the US: It’s a 5-15 minute drive to anything nearby–restaurants, work or school, with; The UK: it’s a 2-10 minute walk to anywhere you might need to go except for work or school.)

Now, these simple changes cause a large difference ever ween how we as 2 cultures live day-to-day. To the US, drinking for or before lunch is something only alcoholics and those out of work do, as we have to drive ourselves everywhere and hold alcohol up against a certain light. In the UK, most just board a bus or the Tube to go back and forth between work, food, and home–if they don’t simply walk there on foot. The drinking age is younger, as alcohol in general is seen as much less taboo than over in the states, and yet! Even with their thinner, windier, tighter streets, you don’t ever see anyone get hit by a car (inebriated or not.)

One of the things that this does NOT explain was a strange little experience I had with my family down At the little “Co-op” (grocery store) just down the road from our flat. We were stopping in to pull out a few pounds (called pound ‘notes,’ compared to our ‘bills’ for those of us new to British culture) and grab some of the most amazing strawberries I have ever tasted. I waited outside, as it was nice and cold, when a scuffle inside caught my attention. Going on right behind my parents was a small tizzy between a customer and one of the store clerks. The customer was a man with a very bulky looking jacket on, and a few bags of things he had paid for in his hands. After some prodding, the store clerk reached into the man’s jacket and pulled out a ginormous lamb flank, about the size of my calf! The young store clerk, probably only 18 or 19, held onto the man’a arm until a few other clerks went through his pockets and made sure he didn’t have anything he hadn’t paid for.

The thing that I find craziest about what happened was the fact that the guy had two full bags of stuff at he’d purchased, after which he apparently went back into the main part of the store and shoved ions of the largest portions of meat I have ever seen into his jacket.

Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

Part 3 on its’ way!

The Britain Experience! – Intro

Hello all! I’m so sorry I haven’t been updating my blog lately, but my life has been SWAMPED! I’ll get right down to business, so as not to bore you, and jump right into my latest expedition!

I have been invited out to the UK with my parents and little brother. My father owns a portion of his various assorted businesses out here in London, and since Mom had a blast when she came out here with him last month–she thought it would be fun to get the family together!

Except for that one time I symbiotically experience Europe through my brother while he was in my mother’s womb, I have never been to the UK myself. I visited Italy with my family for around 2 weeks, but so far–that’s it. While that was a fun experience, it wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, as I have a few different ideas than my parents do when it comes to fun in Europe.

I arrived in the Heathrow Airport just a few hours ago, and already I’m both stressed out and having a blast. Never before had I flown internationally or domestically without my parents there every step of the way–so Dad was cool enough to snap pictures of everything he saw along the way and sent us (as I brought my brother with me), which turned into a beautiful 11-page document on how to win at life.

The bad things that have happened so far: Nearly getting run over as I followed my Dad across the street. (Turns out, Jay-walking is neither illegal nor discouraged, but they temper it with the fact that PEDESTRIANS DO NOT HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. EVER.) A minor scare in the security check point on our way through the LAX when my little brother’s wrist-pad on his mouse pad registered on the scanners as a liquid. (All worked out fine, but I hate conflicts with authority…) Nearly passing out due to dehydration, overheating, and exhaustion when I stepped off the plane in Heathrow. (My lips were burning and bleeding, my face was almost as red, and I was carrying 20 pounds of gear, and lugging a 30 pound suitcase behind me.)

The good things that have happened so far: Being of legal drinking age and casually sharing in my first beer with my parents. (It was a London Pride. Very bitter, probably just a tiny bit more bitter than I’d prefer, but it had a fantastic pine-nutty/burnt-orangey flavor and this amazing after taste–which just made my first real meal in London [Fish and Chips, Steak and Ale Pie, Ham and Leek Pie, and a strange Cold Creamed-Mushroom dish on toast. -drool-] taste even. Better!) My first legit “Flat-White” (BEST. COFFEE. EVER.) with fun basic leaf-design in the foam! AND! The awesome apartment-style house we are currently renting out until we leave! (BEAUTIFUL patio with one table and set of chairs in the shade, and one table and set of chairs up in the sun.)

There are a few things we have the option to do, that we haven’t decided one way or the other with yet. I’m pretty sure we’re going to go on a self-guided Jack the Ripper tour, probably a tour of the Tower of London (to see the Crown Jewels–and the dungeon!), a possible tour of the Kensington Gardens, and maybe even a trip out to Stonehenge! (I’ve always wanted to go!<3) Originally I had the chance to go meet an online friend of mine at this awesome Furry Convention up on the northern end of the UK (I'd even started a rather detailed Rainbow Dash Gijinka cosplay jacket--which I will show pictures of when I finish more of it!), but since it would've been a 3-hour set of bus rides one-way, and the ticket was so expensive--my parents vetoed the idea. I will be doing updates after every 3 days, highlighting something major that I've experienced. One day might be, the awesome types of cuisine we've had here. One day might be, the differences between US and UK culture. One day might be, the bizarre differences in public/common transportation. You'll just have to wait and find out!

To school, or not to school?

That is the question!

For those of us with elementary, intermediate or middle, and high school under our belt–and for those of you with various assorted college degrees, we’ve all been there.

“Is schooling right for me?” “Private, public, or online?” “How many courses should I take?” “Will this major make me happy?” “Why isn’t this working?”

When people ask, I fancy myself a self-analyzing person. I like to know what makes me happy, what puts me to sleep in the morning, and what wakes me back up again at night. Why? Because you can use these suggestions as inspiration for the career that may be the right one for you.

I was raised by two extremely successful, creative, hard-working parents. They brought themselves up from nothing, and strove for the stars. What started out as a young couple with a newborn child, in retail and in college, became a 5-company mini-empire in computer programming, video gaming, screenplay writing, and intellectual property-creating madness. When you’re a kid with some health problems, no motivation, a dream within the medical field, and two amazing success stories for parents–it raises the bar a tad high.

Now, as a kid–my hyper-awesome parents gave me a taste of everything. I took dance lessons, singing lessons, acting and improv lessons, skating lessons, gymnastics lessons, programming courses, art classes, piano, guitar, and violin lessons, you name it! I got good at a little bit of everything–and found that I excelled at basic computer languages and graphic designing. But when you’ve been doing something for a while, you do it for other people, and it doesn’t appear to be anything more than just a hobby–you very quickly lose your passion and drive to do it. So with programming and graphic design scratched off my list–I looked elsewhere.

Going through my old homework made me realize that the only thing I loved more than art and computers, were sciences and psychology. They may seem broad subjects–but a constantly changing landscape of information in a prolific profession where you can really help people seemed too good to be true. I set a seemingly basic plan up with no more than 13 and no less than 12 semesters every month at an old community college I’d gone to in the past.

So far…it hasn’t been going too well.

I’m in 3 of the 6 classes I signed up for, as 1 ends as the other 3 begin later in the semester. It’s already half fun and half hell. Early mornings and late nights with standard college amounts of homework, but accepting teachees, few tests and quizzes, and subjects that I love to learn about. Normally at this point in the semester I’d have started slacking off in class, missed a few days, missed some homework, gotten a bad grade on a test or quiz due to not paying attention, and then missing more days because I feel like I’ve already shot myself in the foot, under the impression that I’ve already failed and am slowly burying myself under a thick layer of confusion and make-up work…But right now? I’ve turned in every assignment and gotten full-credit on every one, no tests or quizzes to speak of–so no bad grades there, I’m participating well, trying to stay excited, I’m always in on time, I’m taking awesomesauce notes. I’m feeling exactly the same, as if I’ve already failed.

I’m tired. I’m sick. Run down and feeling sleep-deprived. Most people complain of these same issues–but make it just fine with a full-time school schedule and work-schedule…so why can’t I seem to make that work?

One alternative to these is online classes. The main problem? No one there to push me. No pressure to do something in front of a class of peers and professor whom I’ve come to respect. Genetics and Psychology are both complex and amazing degrees, but (one moreso than the other) there’s no way to completely achieve either of these solely online. You have to put in the in-person hours in a lab and such.

So. What is left to choose from? I could fall back on my art or programming roots and become a commission artist or free-lancer. Maybe take a night class or two on an instrument I feel more comfortable with and try to become a musician or voice for hire. I could try to stick with it until I absolutely go insane and sick with stress–or quit now before I’ve spent a small fortune in needless classes I’ll never finish. Perhaps I’m simply not in the right place in my life for school–and I need to get around a bit, then come back to school in the future. Maybe I’ll be ready then, maybe not.

What do you think?

Sorry for the long hiatus

It’s been about a month since I last posted, and I think I realize where I went wrong.

When I first had this blog dropped onto my plate, I had NO idea what to expect. I just kinda figured I’d toss up a few picture of some Minecraft worlds, post a few pics of some origami or things I’d sewn, maybe make a few posts on my philosophy and the world, and then be done.

Oh how wrong I was.

When I started reading guides on “how not to blog,” I realized that a lot of what I intend to do is kind of looked down upon? That doesn’t mean I won’t do it, but I am realizing that my prior view of blogging was way off…

I had given up on blogging for a few weeks, because I had over-promised myself. I said I was going to update bi-weekly, and I’d promised myself these mondo-ker-hugeous posts that I just couldn’t keep up with. I’m now in school again, and I’m on school campus almost 24 hours a week now (about half of which is in the class room, on top of about 6 hours driving time to and from), across the span of just 2 days. I now realize that I have to SERIOUSLY slow down, or I’m going to end up neglecting my rest, my school-work, and my blog. So! New plan.

Now that I know what I’m aiming for, my new plan is to go down to 1 day of posting a week. So, anything I have finished by Tuesday, is what you’re going to see. It may be 1 thing, it may be 5, it just depends on what I have time for–because I wanna do this right!

So, until next time–stay tuned!

What happened to Odin’s Day?

For those of you who don’t know, Wednesday was based on the Anglo-Saxon “Woden’s day”, which was based on the Viking Odin’s Day (Wikipedia proofz). For some reason they slapped a silent ‘W’ on the beginning there…The more you know! (I’m not deflecting. What are you talking about?)

Sorry I missed posting on Wednesday. I was super busy, and I got distracted–and totally forgot I was supposed to blog that day…so here’s a day of blogging/journal-ling*–one day early! (since, you know…I silently decided to update on Wednesdays and Sundays without telling anyone.) I really should set up queuing…

Anyway! Happy Saturn’s Day! Day of “thank the gods work is over for the week,” and sleeping in. Now that it is Saturday, and my work is done and over (mostly) until Monday, I have plenty of things and stuff I wanna post over in the other 3 sections, including ! (So be sure to check over there in a few minutes~)

Don’t worry guys! I’ll get the hang of this…some day! I’ll post again tomorrow, then get back into my not-yet-formed pattern of posting /not/ 3 days late. :D

.

*To those of you out there who believe blogging is, and I quote, “links + commentary,” (Gothamist — who was quoting another blog that wasn’t up when I clicked the link) I’m happy for you! I don’t yet have a definition down for blogging.

The purpose of this Word Press.

This is going to be a sort of…manifesto and promise, in order to keep myself on track.

My Dad created me a Word Press, and just handed it to me. I don’t blog, I don’t have a podcast or channel, I just have too many ideas stuck up in my head and too much time to fill.

The goal is to be able to use this as a hub, a sort of library of creativity, positive energy, inspiration, all in order to preserve it and show it to others. Originally, my categories were going to be simple. One for programming, one for art, and one for games. But then I got to thinking…is that really all there is to me? When I really broke it down, there were 4 main parts to my personality and needs.

One thing I needed was a creative outlet, somewhere for me to just dump all of these ideas, doodles, origami, bits and pieces of comics, and even things I make on Minecraft. Somewhere I could dedicate to a big part of my life, which is to create and to visualize. I was raised around creative people, animators, color artists, comic book writers, game developers, screenplay writers, painters, sculptors, and everything else you could possibly imagine. Unfortunately, I feel no confidence in what I do, and when I tried to do it as a job for others–I hated every moment of it. In having a place to post all this, I’m putting myself out there in a way I don’t often. Maybe I can gain a little bit of my confidence back.

Another thing I needed was a logical outlet. I spend so much time with my head in books, games, and skies, that sometimes I just need a place to ground myself, put my head down, and create in a different way. When I program, it’s like I can turn my brain off and let my creative centers take a break–something they don’t often do. When you write code in a computer language, it’s neither flowery nor pretty. It simply is the way it is. There may be shorter or easier ways to do it, but you’re not going to spend days ruing the day anyone read the code for that clock you wrote.

The third thing I needed was a more intuitive outlet. This is a word I’m using incredibly loosely, as an umbrella-kinda-term. I am a spiritual person, though I don’t always show it. I like to keep track of recipes for homemade incense and mantras or chants I create. Sometimes I don’t have anywhere else to post that really awesome tarot or rune-reading I did, or a spread I’ve invented. I also find that by keeping track of what I eat, I live a fuller more satisfying life, but to the untrained eye, what I’m allowed to eat sounds like nothing. In going Gluten-free (for my thyroid, bipolar 2 disorder, and an intolerance for it), Dairy-free (for my lactose-intolerance and a hereditary allergy to it), Soy-free (because my body is female, and the less soy I have–the more masculine I feel and appear), among other things like cutting down on sugar, I can operate at my best, even around all of these hundreds of problems I have. So in creating (or modifying) fun or easy recipes, I feel like I can share a piece of myself, and make life a little bit easier. (Though don’t expect me to replace my shampoo with vinegar anytime soon–I’m not quite ready to start going green!)

When I came upon the last thing, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was part complaining, part being random, part just having fun. The idea of an ‘adventure’ outlet came up when I realized sometimes it’s nice not to have to fit your ideas or what happens from day to day in a box. Between the other 3 sections, which are rather specific, my ‘adventures’ outlet is a place where I can just let go. I don’t have to spell everything right, or make sure I’m conveying the idea exactly how I meant it. I can get off track, and change my mind later. I can post about how awesome it was when my little brother so kicked my ass in a deck-building game we have, or how much it sucks that I dropped my wallet into the gutter when it rained yesterday.