29 August, 2011

Geek Girl Crossing: Resistance Is Futile

Yeah, I realize it's been a little while since I blogged, but hey. As far as the personal stuff goes, well, best thing I can say is just that there's lately way too much month left at the end of the money. A rant for another day. As for today, I got something a little different.

 So, I've been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine a lot lately. Mostly, it's a great way to kill time at work. It's also something I can watch that my love is...well, less interested in than other Trek series. So, she's not interested. Otherwise we watch a lot of things together, and we've already watched The Original Series and the first 6 movies in order.

Anyways, while watching DS9, I find myself fascinated with the character of Jadzia Dax. For those unfamiliar with her, the short version is that she's the station's science officer from an alien race called Trill. Jadzia is the name of the woman, and Dax is the name of a symbiant life form that crosses from host to host, retaining all memories and working with the Trill host.

Jadzia is the 8th of a series of hosts in Dax's life, including her most recent previous, Curzon, a rebellious man who lived a long life before his death right before the show begins. So, among her other hosts, Dax has been wife & mother, husband & father. Man & woman in social roles, yet, in a way, a Trill can transcend gender as we know it, as needed. One minute, Jadzia is fending off the flirts of men, the next she's taking a bat'leth to a group of attacking Klingons...and wins.

From what I see of Jadzia Dax, gender is irrelevant to her. And yet, she's satisfied being the gender that Jadzia herself was, and that's fine. So, no, she's not technically a trans character, but she resonates as one, to me. She has had to live the life of each gender, according to how the host (or, if you prefer, the "body") fits best. For me, the body had to change, of course. But I've had to assimilate (if you will) as male before, and now, I assimilate as female, which is more satisfying to me. So, I can see much of not only myself in Dax, but someone who takes the best of what she knows to get the job done...gender be damned.

11 July, 2011

Unofficial Polling: Sexy Question for Trans Women

So I'd been browsing for...novelties, lately, and an interesting question came up as I browsed. And I realized it was a question I'd love to ask people, but then, how do I go about with that? So, I figured, why not try to foster a discussion on this here blog.

Now, even though I've posted some words and body references in the past, I tried to make those references as clinical as possible. This one is probably not going to be like that, so I'm posting the question after the jump. I want to hear your opinion; all trans women who employ this technique.


23 June, 2011

A Learning Moment

None of us are too old to learn again. I suppose that's why I'm eternally an optimist -- for as willing as I am to explain myself to those I meet in the hopes of opening new minds, I am just as willing to take criticism when it is fairly dished out.

And I'll be the first to admit that in my most recent post, I learned something.

I've never thought of myself as an elitist before. I've been struggling to get by in the lower class for a very long time, and when I see the persecution on all sides including race, gender, sex, and orientation, I guess I figured it couldn't be me. A couple of readers of this blog, new faces them all, I think showed me that that's certainly not the case. I had to take a closer look at myself from another perspective, and I didn't like what I saw.

As I said in the comments there, though, I also believe in integrity. I refuse to scrub the post, though clearly it is not accurate, as a sign of that. Sometimes it's too late to erase a mistake, and I realize that.

Keeping it short this time. With love~
Sera

13 June, 2011

Hyper Femininity in the Trans Community

Today's post may upset a few people, but please finish reading before blasting me too hard. As always, comments of any kind are always welcome.

Perhaps I'm standing in a strange spot, here. Perhaps my perspective is a little off - or even a lot off. But there's one thing I've noticed among transgender/transsexual women is something I've called, for the time being, Hyper Femininity. Let me explain, ladies.

Scenario: You just came home after a long day (or in cases like mine, night) of work, and all you want to do is get out of those damn clothes and have fun (disregarding for this scenario whether or not you're even out or dressing at work, doesn't apply here). But, it looks like none of your favorite hangouts are open, and you have some shopping and errands to do. Damn responsibility... *angrily shakes fist at empty space*

So you walk over to the closet and think about where you're going and what you're doing. Nothing glamourous, that's for sure. Do you grab some jeans and a simple top or T-shirt? I know I do. The Trans Hyper Feminine, however, due to reasons I cannot explain, grabs a nice dress or skirt. Like, with a very bright pattern, a full accessory spread, and plenty of stone/sequins works on it. What gives?

Are we so insecure in ourselves and our womanhood that we have to overcompensate? Is there something masculine or butch about slacks or jeans? Let's face it, they're a lot easier to deal with, especially if you have your hands full on a windy day! So where's the shame?

It's something I've seen time and again, and I don't know why. Believe me, I'm not a skirt-hater or anything; I wear one on stage all the time. But let's be realistic; most cis women would grab the T-shirt to get this job done. It just makes sense. Cis women don't feel the need to overcompensate for something like that; what makes trans women different?

I've even been attacked by trans women for wearing jeans to a trans club! You would think this is a joke, but this has happened many times. Suddenly I'm not as authentic, not "trans" enough (whatever the fuck that means) or not trying hard enough...even though this particular club is held in a dive bar, a place where, if it were not a trans club, would make me look ridiculous.

Perhaps I'm missing the point altogether. Maybe it's just me, I'm not qualified to speak because of my casual/soft-butch-with-hair identity. I don't know. Maybe someone can enlighten me? What's the appeal in looking ridiculously over-made-up for the situation?

Note: I know that I have trans men reading this as well, but I chose not to cover that side because I, in my limited experiences with trans men, have not seen the inverse (hyper masculinity) be even noticeable among the guys. Again, if I'm wrong in that department, feel free to let me know.

11 June, 2011

A Rebuttal to TGCD.net Admin Laura Gonzales

The following was posted to the TGCD.net forums in response to a front page blog in which admin Laura Gonzales, shortly after her SRS in Philadelphia, proceeded to issue a blanket condemnation of Non-US SRS surgeons. As someone who was asked, explicitly, all about my experiences in Bangkok with Dr. Pichet by this woman at a time when she herself was considering Dr. Suporn in the same city, I could not let this slide. I realize this is a bit of a side-step to my typical blog, but I wanted to provide an additional source for this document, as well, just in case the version on TGCD should "disappear."



Dear Laura:

I consider you a friend, and have since I met you. I can safely say that meeting the love of my life at your club changed me forever. For that, I do not want you to consider this an attack. However, your recent front page blog posting regarding US SRS doctors has me somewhat concerned, and more than a little upset!

In the months between my January SRS and yours in June, you approached me multiple times, both in person, and through various media, inquiring as to the services provided to me by my surgeon, Dr. Pichet Rodchareon of Bangkok, Thailand. I gave you my honest review, one that I have posted numerous times to many sites dedicated to the topic, and one that I repeat here below:

"Dr. Pichet Rodchareon, Dindaeng district, Bangkok, Thailand, of Bangkok Plastic Surgery, has been serving the cis & trans communities of the world for over 20 years. His training has taken him from Boston to Barcelona and beyond. His staff is comprised of men and women from all over with a full knowledge and experience of what it means to truly care for the trans community; indeed, the clinic includes several trans women among the nursing staff, as well. English, Japanese, and Chinese interpreters are available 24/7 while under care, and other interpreters can be arranged as needed.

When I arrived at the airport at 3am local time, the doctor had arrrainged a free shuttle to the hotel where I was booked. The next day, I was driven to the clinic itself for my first face-to-face consultation after many months of phone and e-mail conversations. I received a full step by step coverage, complete with pictures (to my mother's surprise, as she was not expecting them at first) detailing the procedure. Before any further preperations could be made, I had to be certified by another psychologist in Bangkok. I was shuttled, for free, to a nearby hospital for an objective 3rd party opinion. This was in addition to the previous psychological clearence I obtained from Dr. Paul Oberron in West Hollywood, back home.

Only after all was cleared and paperwork was provided for everyone's insurance records was the procedure to be finalized. The next morning, I was picked up again from my hotel, prepared to stay at the clinic for the next 4 days. The procedure went very smoothly, and for the next few days, I was the center of the staff's attention. I knew I could count on the nurses for medication, meals, exercise. On the 3rd day, even though I knew I could not take a full shower with the medical packing and catheter still in, I asked politely for a chance to wash my hair, and Ana, the senior nurse supervisor, personally walked me into the shower and helped me wash my hair and wipe my body down. Her nurses then took the extra time to style my hair for me. I felt so much better after that. I'll never forget those little things that made my experience so wonderful!

For the remainder of my 3 weeks in Bangkok, I continued to be examined twice a week or more to ensure that recovery would continue smoothly once I returned to the states. Throughout my entire stay, the same was always true: I was treated with amazing kindness and politeness. I never paid any extra fees once my initial charges were paid; every little medical supply was included. All of my transportation was included. The only things I needed to pay for were my hotel, airfare, and any extra sight seeing I wanted to do after discharge to the hotel. They even helped arrange for a two day excursion to Pattaya!

It has been 5 months now and I am fully recovered. I am completely orgasm-capable via clitoris or g-spot; I can even squirt (female ejaculation). I have all the functionality I could ever have wanted and more. And I was treated so well. I will continue to advocate for Dr. Pichet's practice and his wonderful, kind, caring, and incredibly knowledgable staff."

Back to you, Laura. You mentioned before you were looking into Dr. Suporn's practice several times after I came back from Dr. Pichet. I gave you what I knew. I find it very strange, then, that you now seem to condemn any person that wishes to travel outside the states for SRS. It has an almost classist tone to it, too; we know that many trans people need surgery in order to feel complete in their identity, and we also know that Western doctors, mostly due to US gouging in health care, cannot afford a US doctor. Asian doctors help provide that option to lower class trans people who need these services.

I wish you the best in your recovery.
With love,
~Sera Wohldmann

19 May, 2011

Keep on Rollin'

Well, today's post is about some wonderful developments in the past week in music!

On Thursday, May 12th, God's Weapon played the lovely Paladino's Night Club in Tarzana, California. Imagine my personal surprise when I discovered that an independent A&R rep was in the crowd watching our every move right as I loaded my gear in. The band had a chance to meet with him and shake his hand before the show began, and he had a very confidant air about him. I didn't know what else to think, other than to focus on the show.

We also were informed that the band that was to precede us had cancelled. The remaining 3 bands for the night got together and agreed on how to split up the time. In the end, we landed an extension of our setlist by 2 additional songs, the first time we'd ever been able to exceed 5 in one night. Needless to say, we were all very happy to hear that!






After our set, we were pulled aside by the aforementioned A&R rep. He gave us some very helpful, constructive criticism, and immediately welcomed us to the team! He set us up with a showcase set next month, same venue, this time as the headliner! He also gave us one other thing we had to do that night:

FILL THIS HOUSE.


And that is exactly what we intend to do. We've made the arrangements to make this a FREE SHOW! Anyone living in the LA county area that can come down to the show, DO IT! This rep is bringing down his connections, and the more people we can get in here, the better our chances of landing a deal. We'll have to get you the tickets, of course, so make sure you can meet with a band member soon to take care of everything. It's a 21+ show, starts at 8pm. Paladino's is at 6101 Reseda Blvd, Tarzana, CA. It's just off the Reseda exit off the 101, just west of the 405. Also located across from the Metro Orange Line Reseda Station stop.

08 May, 2011

Roller Coaster Says What, Again?

What a ride. It's nowhere near over, but at the same time, I think an update is in order.

When last I wrote of my roommate, I mentioned that she had calmed down somewhat. Turns out that was bullshit. She had been harboring her own resentments towards me for some time that had recently surfaced. When her friend offered her a bailout, she took it. That was about a month ago.

Fortunately, Elizabeth and I together each managed to bring back a decent tax return. There was enough in there to pay a month's rent. After that month, well, that was questionable. E was still having issues getting started at a new job, so both of us were still living off of just my meager pay. And now our rent just doubled.

Finally, it happened. E got her driver's license in the mail. She actually got a pretty damn good picture, too, I might add. Once we took that to the office, she was immediately offered a selection of possible posts to interview at. Fast forward a week of strangeness, which I'll let her talk about if she wants, and she's working in Santa Monica on the nights I'm in El Segundo. And it looks like we'll have the "weekends" together!

So, now we've been told we have to either move out by June. We still have no idea exactly where we're going to go, but at the very least, we'll have some options that don't include couch surfing. I mean, couch surfing is great and all, but we're an engaged couple, and we have a few belongings. A little privacy would be nice.

And maybe, from there, we can focus on getting a real life started together. We're hoping that, wherever we go, we can save money on rent and transit for long enough to get a start on our first house. Where that's going to be, I have no idea, but it sure the fuck isn't Hollyweird. Tired of this shit hole.

24 April, 2011

Another year...

At 1550 hrs Central Time today, 24th April, I will have turned 24. It's an interesting feeling at this point in the ball game. I guess I should be used to it all things considered, but for some reason I'm not.

This time last year, I had just moved to LA from a miserable little suburb of the FBI's most dangerous American city and immediately started a new school. A school that turned out to be a very poor match for me, but that's another story. I was only full time for a year, and my hormone therapy was still pretty damn early. And I made some strange decisions at times. Hey, I was single and lonely. It nearly got me raped - again.

Part of what has strengthened me has been not only learning from my experiences, but learning what not to do. I have developed a new appreciation for self defense and pro active caution. And part of how I have healed from this has been to talk through it. I would wish it on no one, and I suppose that's why I try to be mindful of warning others.

In the past year, I've met the most amazing woman in the world. Her being here in my life has really changed a  lot about me, in ways I never would have thought. And all in good ways, too. I guess I never thought I'd really be wearing a ring, either. I'm incredibly happy.

And I'm happy for one other thing. My incongruence towards my genitals has been a life long struggle, and I was fortunate enough to be able to fix it early in my life. Seems like I can finally have a new goal. Of course, there are many goals in our lives at any given time, but I know one thing is for sure:

I'm gonna be a fucking rock star.

23 April, 2011

Final Recovery Post?

Maybe? I'm not making any guarantees, but the way things are going, it's likely so. Maybe I'll actually start writing about some of the other things going on soon, but for now, you get another one of these.

I last updated that the sensitivity in my clitoris has finally gone done to the point of tolerance. That continues to hold true, and I appear to have levelled off perfectly. Stimulating my clitoris now has an exclusively pleasurable effect with no pain - and the pleasure is certainly amazing. It has changed my habits a little, and I will continue to experiment for quite some time. In addition, the last time I saw even a small drop of blood was almost two weeks ago. I'm no longer afraid to try, which had been a problem up until very recently.

One other thing has come up lately. It may not be a big deal, but then again, I'm not entirely sure. I seem to be urinating at an unexpected angle - much more forward than I was before, and sharply to the left. I have no idea why, but we feel like I should keep an eye on it, just in case.

Not a lot more to add on the subject anymore. So I'll keep it short for today.

10 April, 2011

About Damn Time...

There's a couple of different ways that title could be read. For one, yes, I'm actually updating almost a month later. And for two...

There hasn't been much quantifiable progress on my road to full recovery. But I have made some small strides, at the very least. I had been still dealing with a post operative fluid discharge around my clitoris for some time now. Only recently has this finally begun to diminish. It is not completely gone, but there is hardly any to be seen. This has been very fortunate, as it can stain undergarments rather easily. Luckily, with that almost out of my system completely, I'm no longer concerned with it.

There's no nice way to phrase this part, which is connected to the previous. I had a bit of an odor problem, and it seemed to have two sources. During the previous issues with the dead skin shedding, it was considerably worse. Now, there is still some associated with the fluid, but it is not as bad. And as the fluid discharge is diminishing, so too is the odor. It is a bit different from anything either of us can describe in detail. All I can say is that it's there, regardless of how well the area is cleaned.

Finally, clitoral sensation. Previously, my clitoris was so sensitive that it could actually be painful, almost like a "stinging" sensation, if I were stimulated even mildly. Very recently I have noticed that the stinging is gone, though I am still sensitive to a satisfactory degree. I've been taking it very easy on the sexual activity, at times abstaining for a full week or more at a time, to allow not only more time to heal, but also because of the sensitivity issue. Too much, to the point of pain, can be a bit disorienting, and at times even frightening to myself and my love. Luckily, I believe the end to be in sight on this matter.

Then maybe I can start coming up with something more interesting to write about, eh?

21 March, 2011

The Green Room 03-11-11

(Cross-posted to We Are God's Weapon)

Hey everybody, Sera here again. For those of you that came out on Friday to check us out as we shook up The Green Room in Hollywood, we thank you so much for your support. If you couldn't make it, here's some photos our lovely photographer Elizabeth took care of for you.







Tiny stage, eh? Oh well, we won't be stopped by such things. Besides, we're all friendly in this band. Well, except Lorne, but that's cause he smells kinda funny. We love him anyways.

We had a lot of energy going into this show. For starters, it was our first of the year. In addition, it was the first for our new singer, Denise, and a great chance for her to really showcase her amazing talents. And how amazing they are!

Every show is a step to the next, of course. In immediate news, we have one wonderful announcement to make. We would like to officially announce the addition of keyboardist Hollis to the ranks of God's Weapon!
We should have more good news to come VERY soon regarding upcoming shows. Stay tuned!

~Sera Wohldmann - Bass Guitars

09 March, 2011

To my Former Church

(Taking a short detour, today. Hope you don't mind ~Sera)

To Whom it May Concern:

I am Sera Wohldmann. I was initially born in the body of a boy, however, though I shall not be named, excepted to say that I was once K.C. Wohldmann. Shortly after my April birth in 1987, I received the Sacrament of Baptism at All Saints Catholic Church in St. Peters, Missouri, USA. I grew up in a devout family; we attended Mass every Sunday and Holy Day, no matter how small. The crucifix was prominently displayed in our home, and we often prayed together.

I learned to read a little earlier than my classmates, and the first book I read was a Children's Illustrated Bible. For my primary education, I attended All Saints Catholic Grade School from kindergarten through 8th grade. I received my Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion in the 2nd grade, and was Confirmed in the 9th.

I never finished the 8th grade at All Saints, though. Here's why. Everyone knew there was something different about me. I was a girl in a boy's body, but they never saw that. They never listened. I knew that I couldn't trust people. I turned to role playing games to escape. There, I could at least play the part of a woman, and a strong one, at that. As an aside, my mother was the breadwinner at home, so perhaps that influenced my feminism as I grew up. I loved strong female role models, and still do.

I began to have my doubts on the church, but I continued to pray. Jesus could save me. The saints could pray for me. The Virgin Mother could bless me. But they could not shake the feeling that came from within me. I know now, why. There is only one explanation: God made me this way.

Of course! None of them could change that about me, because there is nothing wrong with me! As the years went on, and the feelings never changed, I knew it was my body that needed to change. Now, at 23, I have the body I want (mostly), and I love myself for once. And I love a woman, too.

Now, I ask you, once and former church of mine. When you see me on the streets with my fiancée, as we laugh, as we cry, as we live, as we survive. Just like any couple. We deeply love each other. How, then, can you not love that? For the LORD said, "This is my greatest commandment: Love thy neighbor as thyself." I do not hate. Why, then, do my former neighbors in the church say that I am flawed? That I do not receive God's love?

You say, "No, we love the sinner, we do not like the sin." But you cannot separate us like that. I will marry this woman. I will start a family with her. And we will continue to love. Even if you could separate us, I ask you: What is sinful about LOVE?

06 March, 2011

Intimacy

I realized after I wrote my post, below, regarding my "milestones" in sexual function post operatively, that I had embarrassed my partner in my writing. I never meant to imply that my lack of climax had anything to do with her skills, nor of my love for her. But she pointed out that it could be read like that. For that, I am very sorry to her. I will also add that just because I did not climax does not mean that I am having insufficient sensation; on the contrary, I have felt very wonderful things during our sessions together so far. And I imagine it will only get better.

Recovery has been a long process. I suppose I have tried to rush it, or at times even been concerned at how long it has taken, but the body can only heal so fast. You cannot force it to heal, lest you make things worse.

Because of the news I received from Dr. Deutsch the first time, and the concerns with complications and infection after surgery, I have tried to take my sexual experimentation very slowly. When that is constantly on your mind, it is hard to stay in the "moment" of intimacy, even with someone you love very much. For example, it has only been in the past 2 weeks that there has been enough recovery around my clitoris to even identify it as such. And the sensation around it, as a result of the dead tissues around it, had been dull up until very recently. Even still, as of today, I cannot play with it too much before it begins to sting slightly.

So, again, for the clinical purposes of those following my recovery post operatively, I will delve into this territory again. On the day of March 2nd, 2011, I experienced vaginal sexual intercourse with my fiancée for the first time, at slightly longer than 8 weeks post-operative. It was an intensely satisfying experience for everyone involved. I will say no more on that, however, lest I invite further embarrassment.

I have also begun to masturbate more frequently recently. Coupled with a slight modification to my dilating technique, I've found it makes each penetration easier, as early dilations had been quite uncomfortable at times. My depth has also improved slightly with these practices, which is very satisfying to know. Hopefully I can continue this practice, as well as incorporate more clitoral stimulation into the mix, when it is appropriate and safe to do so.

Finally, after one "false start" on the bleeding issue (I stopped wearing pads and began bleeding halfway through a shift last week), I have not had any blood in the genitals for a week now. However, I still have some fluid build up, and I continue my local antibiotic ointment treatments once every day or two, to be safe. All in all, however, I am coming along quite well.

03 March, 2011

Cangene Plasma Center: No Trannies Allowed!

It comes as a surprise to very few friends of mine that, financially, things are very difficult lately. Many of my efforts to supplement my income and stay above water have fallen short in one way or another. This attempt was no different.

Back in my birth town of St. Peters, Missouri, there was a girl. A friend of mine, once upon a time, we'll just call her A. She was a hemophiliac, and as a result, it was no secret to me that she required various blood products when she had what would be to us only minor injuries. But I had heard that it was difficult to donate if you were in any way queer, so I had not given it any consideration.

A short week before my surgery trip, I was riding the LA Metro bus, I believe it was the 212 to Inglewood via Crenshaw, if I recall correctly, on my way to work. I saw an advertisement for Cangene Plasma Center. They were seeking new donors, and the programs were compensated. Elizabeth and I talked over the idea, but decided at the time that, as I was so close to my surgery, I shouldn't do anything that may compromise recovery. Not that I think it would have, but we wanted to be careful. All the same, I filed it away for future consideration.

Fast forward, then, to March 2nd, 2011. I had called the day before to schedule an appointment to donate. The questions they asked me over the phone did not disqualify me, so they asked me to come in. It was a very clean facility, and I was greeted by the front desk pharmacy technician, Kevin. He had me fill in the necessary preliminary paperwork to get the process started. One of the things they covered was HIV/AIDS material. Included in it was the FDA's warning: "No male that has ever had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977, is ever allowed to donate blood or blood products, including plasma." I heeded that warning, however homophobic and archaic it may be, but as I was not a male, I hoped it would not be an issue.

I filled out a computer based "risk history" questionnaire.  The only question I even answered in the positive related to various medications, and as I had taken Finasteride (Proscar) at the beginning of my hormone therapy, I answered yes. However, it also said that I had to be off the medicine for a month. I had not taken Finasteride in 11 months or so, so I was fine. I returned to my seat.

I was called for an entry interview by the on-site doctor. This is the part where it all about went to the Hells. He asked if I had been hospitalized for anything, including cosmetic surgery, in the past year. As I was in an examination room, I figured I would get a full examination, and it was likely they would notice that I had a cosmetically altered vagina. I told the truth.

"Yes, I had cosmetic surgery just 2 months ago," I replied.
"What procedure did you have?"
I blushed, hesitating a bit. "Male to Female realignment surgery."
The doctor began writing on a post-it note. He underlined MALE twice, very strongly. I was already quite uncomfortable. "Did you have the whole procedure, or just breasts?"
"I didn't have breast surgery, just vaginoplasty," I replied.
He seemed confused at this, but continued. "While you were...previously a male, had you ever had sex with a man?"
I knew where he was going with this. I could easily argue that, as my partners had been transwomen, that no, I had not, but I didn't volunteer that information. So I lied a little. "No, I did not."
That shocked him. "You never once, before your surgery, had sex with a man?"
"No, doctor, I did not," I said, shifting uncomfortably in my seat.  "You seem surprised? It's not too impossible to believe. That IS my fiancée in the waiting room, after all."
"Now I'm confused, you say that's your 'fiancé,' right? That would be a guy?"
"No, my fiancée is a woman."
"A biological woman?"

I HATE THAT FUCKING WORD! Last I checked, I was just as biologically sound as anyone else. "Yes," I said anyways. Also a bit of a lie, but fuck they didn't need to know that. Besides, I should argue that he meant, "cisgender," anyways. What should it matter? I was clean, perfectly healthy, and I'm here to do you a fucking favor!

I was dismissed back to the waiting room for a short while. Elizabeth could tell something had happened, and asked if it was okay. "I'll tell you later." I knew I couldn't say anything where it was within staff earshot. I wanted to finish this process first and avoid unnecessary controversy. I wouldn't get the chance. I was called back into the exam room 5 minutes later.

"Unfortunately, Ms. Wohldmann, we have a bit of a problem. You see, our system tested you on the 'female' questionnaire," the doctor began.
"As I am female, this would be correct," I pointed out.
"Yes and also no. Because you had a history as a male, some of those questions are not accurate. They don't cover everything."
"Sounds like a problem with the system, not my health."
"Well, we can't go back and test you on the male system, as well, because we're not designed for that."
"Again, that sounds like a problem with your system."
"The questions are all from the FDA guidelines, and we can't change them."
"I'm not asking you to change the questions, just to realize that it's a bit absurd to think that, with all of the mutations you, as a doctor, should be aware of, that there are more than 2 classifiable sexes, correct? What if I had been intersex? What would you do, then?"
"Believe me, miss, I actually have dealt with that," he replied. Funny, though, that he didn't say what he did. He probably turned hir away for no reason, like I felt was about to happen to me. "Also, you're not the first person to go through this process, but it's a little different for you. I don't know if it's just LA, or what, but we've had this happen before. You're just the first one to have gone through the full surgery. And that changes things."
"Well, consider also, that one of the bigger transgender clubs in the city is right here in Van Nuys," I pointed out.
"I didn't know, that, but that would probably explain it. Anyways, for most people like this, we can just register them as males, as they legally are, and there is no problem. The problem is, that you had several years as a male, and now you're female, legally. We have no way to categorize this."
"So, what you're saying, is that you have a perfectly healthy donor sitting right in front of you, and because of your archaic system, you're going to turn away a willing donor?"
"I'm sorry, but that's all I can do."

I explained at this point that I was an activist, and that I was aware there were constraints on some things related to blood and plasma donations, but that there was absolutely no evidence that this was going to be an issue. No one talks about it. So, of course I'm going to try. I'm running out of options for supplementing my income, why wouldn't I try? I didn't tell him that part. Instead, I related the story of A to him. My heart may not have been in the most selfless of places, but he didn't need to know that. Most of the people in that room only did it for the money, anyways, I would be no different. He showed me out to the waiting room again. As I approached Elizabeth, still reading the magazine, I mouthed, "Let's go." We walked out the front door. But not before I departed a single-fingered salute towards Cangene Plasma Center, 14435 Sherman Way, Van Nuys, CA.

27 February, 2011

Always

As in, "The hells with these Always, I'm finally done!"

Been some good news on the recovery front in the past couple of days. For the purposes of this blog and its usefulness to readers who are interested in the journey of vaginoplasty, this is one of very few times I will talk about my sex life.

On Monday after work, I went to a mutual friend's house where Elizabeth and I would stay for a couple of days while dealing with the bedbug issue at my apartment. During that morning, we had anal sex, the first time I had "received" since my operation. I was very pleased that I had not injured myself, though both of us were still being very careful not to aggravate anything. I was also, of course, very happy to see my sweet fiancée satisfied, but I think that goes without saying. I did not climax, however, but I was not concerned with that.

Later on that week, on Wednesday morning, I was at the end of my dilating when I had become aroused. Elizabeth was nearby, as well. I think that probably had something to do with it; my thoughts tend to wander in such areas when she's around. I masturbated, this time to climax, for the first time. This marked 7 weeks and 1 day since my operation that I was capable of that feat. I am aware that not all post surgical trans females are capable of orgasm, which is why I wanted to mention it for clinical reasons.

In the past 24 hours, also, I have had no blood drainage. This was a very long sought milestone in my recovery, as well. Maxi pads are fucking uncomfortable after a very short while! Tonight, at work, as I sit here, I have gone without. So far, I have had some other fluid drainage, but not blood. This other fluid, it has a name that escapes me, but it is often secreted  by the body for healing purposes. I've been seeing it since day one of the operation, but it is easier to see by itself without the stain of blood.

Finally, I got a call from Dr. Deutsch only a couple of hours ago. She said she had been in contact with Dr. Pichet over the past week, and they have agreed that while I may have had a premature stitch rupture, it is very mild and will heal on its own without further surgery. Best news I've had so far! I was very worried on that; had it been just cosmetic, well, it would be no big deal, but if it affected my functionality or became a constant issue of infection, etc, and absolutely required surgery I would be in deep trouble. I won't be able to afford a flight back to the Doctor for that touch up, and chances of finding a local doctor to do it are slim to none, if I could even afford to pay for that. She did tell me that it may be a little while longer, a couple of months or so, before I am completely healed in that area. Not a big deal right now.

Overall, recovery is getting much better. I just needed some patience. In my all-too-typical Taurus fashion, however, it was not an easy wait. But I'll get there.

21 February, 2011

Progress, Incrementally

Entering my 7th week post recovery. Seems like it's been a long road, but that's probably just my impatience. I guess I kept thinking I would be further along by now. At the least, though, I think the past few days have brought some good progress.

Today, I stepped up to my last dilator. It's a 28mm diameter. It was actually pretty intimidating; something about it seemed so much bigger than the past couple of sizes. Still hoping I can work the length up to match the previous sizes; I taper off by almost a full inch and a half right now. I also haven't had any blood with my dilations in several days, which is quite comforting.

Speaking of such, my drainage is now almost nonexistent. It's still enough that I feel better wearing a pad, but it's so light I'm tempted to try going a day without just to see. I'm hoping that I only have a week or so left of that. Seriously, ladies, you try bleeding for 2 months and you'd look forward to the end, too!  I know I probably shouldn't complain, since I won't have a monthly cycle, but still, 2 months is a long time.

Final note: While I still haven't heard anything back from Dr. Deutsch, that's likely due to the weekend and the time difference. I expect to hear back sometime today. Even if I don't, however, I've realized one thing. I may not look perfect right now, but I am quite happy with what I have now. Besides, too close to perfection and things are often more likely to "look" fake. And while I'm aware that I will always have some differences that give me away as altered, and other physical signs that show that I'm trans, I'm not afraid of those. I'm happy. And that's the point all along, isn't it?

20 February, 2011

Studio 02-19-11

(Cross-posted from "We Are God's Weapon" blog)

The God's Weapon team hit up The LaBoratory studio in Beverly Hills to lay down their long awaited final track, "Darkest Before the Dawn." This song has been very exciting since the very first riff was introduced months ago by guitarist Beaux Bruggman. It's taken on a life of its own, hopefully in a fashion that continues throughout our band's career. This is just the beginning of what is assuredly going to be a hard hitting, beautiful project.

Lorne started off the day by getting the drums tracked. This is often the crucial but very necessary first part of getting any studio recording done. Producer Bora Karaca's many years of recording experience comes into play throughout the process of setting up, mic'ing everything, and checking input levels before recording a single note or beat.



Since we already had scratch tracks done, and both Adam and Denise were ready to sing, they went next.


Rhythm guitars and bass came next with Traf, Beaux, and myself, and were finished swiftly. As of this writing, I had to leave to head to work before the violins were finished, but according to self-proclaimed "band groupie" and public relations, Elizabeth Mills, they were finished swiftly and are sounding "bad ass!" God's Weapon is entering a new era, especially with these latest two songs, and I believe that we can only get better from here. It's taken far too long to get this album in your hands, and we are finally going to deliver. But we have a lot more where that comes from. Stay tuned!




~Sera Wohldmann, bassist

19 February, 2011

Mixed News

Yesterday I had my appointment with Dr. Deutsch at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood. It was a pretty lengthy stay there, for several reasons. And the results were a mixed bag.

Regarding the actual checkup, it appeared that any infection I may have had is gone. The ointment treatments seem to have worked, and to be safe, she recommended keeping them up for a little while longer. However, she did have one thing to say regarding the blood drainage I'm still having from my labia. She said she was not entirely sure, but that it appeared that I may have broken a stitch early after all, and that some of the draining is from that exposed area. She wants to double check with the surgeon, and took a picture to send in for additional information. She believes that may be why my clitoris seems undefined still at this time. Elizabeth had been thinking this as well, but didn't want to alarm me. Dr. Deutsch said that a corrective surgery may be necessary. I hope not, I still haven't paid off the last one, and it may be awhile before I do.

At the end, she noted that I still had some labs to do that I forgot to do last time. Well, since I was unsure of where to go and nobody told me last time, I had just gone home. Whoops, apparently. So, I went to the lobby to wait. And wait I did. Somewhere along the way, they lost my labs paperwork for about a half hour or so, but I finally got it. While waiting, Elizabeth got some paperwork started to try and get into Dr. Deutsch's care as well. They initially charged me a separate $11 for my labs. When I got my receipt, I had "male" in bold print sticking out of the top of the form. I got kinda pissed at that, so I brought it up to the receptionist while I was further waiting for the lab to actually call me inside.

I had some blood drawn and went back to the lobby. Apparently while there, I had been called back up. Turns out that they made a mistake, as my labs were covered by my insurance plan. They also wanted me to wait and talk to the supervisor regarding the gender label at the top of the form. After getting my refund, Elizabeth and I went into the supervisor's office.

Lisa is a very kind soul, though this would be the first time I had spoken much to her. She explained that, upon reviewing my forms, the lady who had done my financial screening forms had missed some parts altogether and fudged one, leaving me with a "male" marker. This was a major no-no, and it was fixed. Also, Lisa showed us a change they had made to their system.

Several months ago, shortly after Elizabeth and I first met, we went to the center to get HIV/STI testing at the Center. While I had no issues, they had blatantly fucked up her name, using her male name even though they knew her preferred name, and loudly, too. Shocking treatment for an LGBT services center, and leaving a sour taste in both our mouths. When I went to Dr. Deutsch the first time, I let her know exactly what had transpired that day.

Fast forward back to Thursday. The change that Lisa showed us was directly because of my report. She programmed a popup throughout the system that shows the preferred pronoun and name of any patient as necessary. We felt a lot better that we saw the action taken. While there, Lisa also went ahead and did Elizabeth's financial screening instead of waiting for Friday, since we had been pretty inconvenienced already by the error on my part. Even though mistakes were being made, I felt a lot better knowing that at least they were being handled. I reminded myself that the gender services were actually a rather new part of the Center's facilities, and that hiccups can be expected. With that in mind, the actions taken eased my mind somewhat. Knowing also that Elizabeth's name change was only 3 weeks away, something we are both very excited for, Lisa went ahead and updated the profile in their system with the new information anyway, saving us one step in the grand process of things. That was very nice of her.

Finally, we went downstairs for a prescription refill. Since I had never been to the center's pharmacy, it took another minute to process. When it was all done, I wasn't charged for my month of progesterone! I felt pretty good about that. Cash is very tight still, and every little bit helps. Things will get better, soon, I know. Patience, however, is not one of this Taurus' stronger attributes, however.

15 February, 2011

Roller Coaster Says What?

The past few days have already been a lot of craziness, and I don't see that course changing any time soon. Here's the latest.

For starters, the roommate issue has calmed down, somewhat. I don't think she's planning on burning any bridges, but the reality is, Elizabeth and I still need a new place. The plan for the next day is to check out a handful of places that she has compiled to look at. She's really good at that, too. Hoping for the best on that.

As for recovery. I'm looking much better. Seems like the treatments have done a lot of good, which I've been grateful for. Occasionally I still have a dilation that has some blood on it, but most of that has been much more minor than it appears. I don't know what I would have done without my baby's help. I feel so lucky to have her here! I'm still seeing Dr. Deutsch for a checkup on Thursday. Even if I have cleared everything up, it couldn't hurt, and I'm going to need a prescription refill.

Also on Thursday, another God's Weapon rehearsal. Had another last night, but I had to go straight to work halfway through, so I missed out a little. Luckily that won't be an issue on Thursday, and Saturday we record the last song on the album. I can't wait to say I have an album to my name! It's going to melt a few faces! And it'll be a great thing to have a disc to sell at future shows. Plus I need the recording experience.

In addition, I have a practice jam with another band in the area tonight. I felt a strong artistic connection on the phone, let's hope that translates on the instrument. I was supposed to have another last night before work, but for some reason, I never got the address. Oh well. Could just be a mistake.

Finally (whew, right?) we got some very good financial news, as well. A response from my job regarding Elizabeth's application - she WILL be brought in, she just has to wait for her number to come up, as there's an applicant list in front of her, and limited classroom size. I was thinking that may be the case, so it's great to hear for sure! I'll keep you posted! This job has been wonderful to me, and I know it will be great for her, too.

11 February, 2011

Home?

Oh, boy, has this been a fun 24 hours.

For the past couple of weeks, now, Elizabeth and I have felt the lack of privacy catch up with us. My Hollywood apartment is a studio, shared with another roommate. At first it didn't seem that bad. We'd both be home for awhile, but our school/work schedules were such that we didn't get too pissed at each other. Plus, she had a boyfriend down the hall she could crash with whenever.

Lately, their relationship has stepped back a little bit. She's home a lot more often, and that's not a bad thing, I don't think. However, she expressed a little concern with how frequently I was naked, lately. I can't help it; my readers are well aware that I've had some difficulties in recovery lately, and that means being naked for awhile for necessary maintenance. She also tended to come home, often drunk or high, at very random times, making any possible opportunity for private moments fleeting. But I could deal with that.

I began to realize that with the changeover in management a few months ago that certain policies were also changing, in ways that I did not agree with. I realized I had an "out," if I wanted it. But I am a respectful roommate above all else. Also, my roommie is graduating in 4 weeks. So, I asked her what her plans were. Nothing wrong with that.

Well, apparently it was wrong. She had no plans, and since her job was via the school, she would be losing that, soon, as well. That puts me in a bit of jeopardy, does it not? I depend on her half of the rent; I cannot carry it myself, and neither can Elizabeth. So, we came clean. We had wanted out, but were going to wait a few months so that no one would be screwed. She'd be able to take one of a couple of options:

1) We dissolve the lease and all go separate ways. Good for us, not so much for her, as she has no vehicle and can't get as far. Also with losing her job she would find it difficult. Also having home issues I am not privy to, and can't move back at the moment.
2) We vacate, allowing her to sublet the remaining space. Everybody pretty much wins as long as management, who seem rather absent, don't figure it out. They still haven't caught on to Elizabeth, so I'm not worried about that.
3) She vacates, and Elizabeth takes over her half. That's harder, as the roommie still has the issues in 1, plus Elizabeth has not yet started her job. If this options comes into play too soon, we will go into the red quick.

I explained all of this, and reemphasized that it was still months away. I got no reaction from her at the time, but by the time we had woken up for the day, we realized that the roommate was getting home from class. She had her back to us, silent. She was packing things into a trash bag (my trash bags, I might add; most of the supplies I had to buy, and Elizabeth often cleaned up her kitchen messes because she wouldn't). She then took off in silence.

She answered a single text that night, explaining how upset she was lately that she was "getting screwed again for the third time in a year." Well, sweetheart, we're not screwing you unless you want to see it that way, nor have we screwed you before. I guess some people have to make a villain out of something just to cover their own tracks and shortcomings.

So, my love and I are about to check out new dwellings. The roommie never came home last night, not even until just a few minutes ago. And that was a 30 second stop to grab a laundry bag and detergent. It's not looking good. Option 3 may be in our laps without anyone having a choice in the matter. I find it best to stay proactive in this case; have a plan.

10 February, 2011

Getting Better

Well, I can't say that today has been the most fun, but it was at least somewhat productive.

I got called into work for an extra day. Which, hells, I need the money pretty badly, as I'd established.  Elizabeth gave me her last 4 dollars in cash so I could buy more pads on the way home. Otherwise, though, the shift was far more typical, unlike the previous days.

When I got home, I settled into my bedtime routine around 08:30 am. We washed our makeup off and I lay down on the bed to dilate. I pulled the first one out, and it was covered in blood. I freaked. At the beginning of my dilating routine, I would see old, brown blood mixed in with lube, but that hadn't been for at least a week. This was fresh blood.

I was shaking pretty badly. Elizabeth had to take a close look and tried to figure out what was up. She dabbed it up for me. My normal draining was almost all around my labia minora, mostly where the old skin was shedding, there would be some light blood dripping. Elizabeth noticed, however, that due to the dryness and irritation from the infection, there was another spot just outside the vaginal opening that had "cracked," much like a chapped lip will bleed if untreated. The entry of the dilator and possibly my laying position had pulled that blood into the canal, making it look a lot worse than it had been.

At the time, though, we were both speculating. Well, okay, she was speculating, I was crying and shaking. She then applied the ointment for me and we went to bed, a little later than normal. I didn't finish my dilating that time.

The sleep was interrupted a couple times by possible upcoming gigs for me. Which means finally some good news, hopefully, regarding my playing career.

That evening, just a couple of hours ago, I would wake for good. It was one of my douche nights anyways, which helped narrow down some of the theories from that morning. Just minutes ago, I finished the dilating that I meant to do before, and it was much better. Some of the same bleeding going on, but at least now we know for sure.

Next Thursday can't come fast enough though. At least I get paid tonight. It's not much, but it's something. And even better, my lovely fiancée is so good to me, even when things seem to go wrong. One of so many things I love about her.

09 February, 2011

On Ferengi

Known to the rest of you as "The American Health Care System." Known to myself and many as "A load of fuckin' bullshit."

As instructed, I called Dr. Alter in the morning to confirm. By that point, the doctor was already in the OR, as I understand it, so I was back to talking to a nurse. She told me that my file was written up and ready, and that it would be $100. No, they don't take any health insurance. And that they had dropped it down from $150 "just for me."

I had $15 to my name, and it was in my pocket. I told them that was all I had, and asked them to take that for now and bill me the rest. After being on hold a couple times now, and being told that the girl on the other end was already being yelled at because the doctor was in the middle of a surgery (like that's my fault they never game me a TIME to call, they just said, "early,") I was told $75 and that that was all they could do.

I told them that I couldn't be in if they couldn't work with me. They had not told me anything about charges, nor did they mention they took NO health insurance, NOTHING. Complete back door greed and utter failure to behave professionally. Who pulls that shit? Especially a doctor?

I resigned myself that I wouldn't get looked at until next week with Dr. Deutsch. It knocked the wind out of my sails. Especially since it was after a particularly grueling night at work. I went home and continued the antibiotic ointment treatment after dilating, which seemed to be helping. And then I snuggled up with my baby.

But I did not sleep, this time. I couldn't. Instead, I meditated. I sought clarity. I demanded some answers. And I invoked wisdom and strength of my god. After all, I could not achieve our mutual goals if I could not survive this hurdle.

I believe I was blessed. After waking up, making some burritos for my baby and I, and taking a shower, I noticed something. The redness was way down. So was the odor. For that matter, most of the dying skin was gone except for a very small covering in the middle of my inner labia. I don't believe in miracles, per se. But sometimes, I have been blessed. We'll see how things go from here, but I'm feeling a lot better about everything.

08 February, 2011

Quickie

I got off work yesterday morning and had to do one of my least favorite errands. I called the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, hoping to set up an urgent appointment to check on my bits. I want to make sure everything is okay. Unfortunately, Dr. Maddie Deutsch won't be in for about 10 more days, and while I scheduled a check for that anyways for my hormones, I needed something quicker.

They asked me to call Dr. Gary Alter, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon that is often recommended by the Center. When I called, the nurse asked where I had my GRS done. I could hear the disappointment in her voice when I said "Bangkok, Thailand." She warned me that they don't often look at other surgeon's cases, but that because Dr. Alter was in the OR at that moment, I should e-mail him and see what he can do. So I did.

I didn't have anything in my inbox when I woke up, which was around 1845. I had gone to sleep late, so waking then was a little later than normal. I figured they had just dropped me. To my surprise, I got a reply around 1930. He asked me to call early. I replied that, as a graveyard worker, he should define "early" for me. I could easily call at 0300 if he wanted to, after all.

Again surprising me, I had another reply around 2330 when I got to work. He booked me for noon Tuesday (today) and asked me to call in the morning to confirm things. Guess I'll do that around 0800 just to be safe. I can't find any hours on the website, which I think is kinda bullshit. At least someone will look, so I'll be grateful for that. I can't help the fact that I get nervous around new doctors, and this will be at least the 4th new one in the past year.

Now, the question is, I'm dead fuckin' broke, and I think my insurance expired while I was away, since they didn't withhold any payment. Hope that's not a problem...

05 February, 2011

Love!

I'll let the following two images explain what happened Wednesday night:



I decided that when I made this step, I was going to do it somewhere that meant something to both of us. There were probably several options for that, actually. However, we met at the transgender dance night at the Oxwood Inn in Van Nuys, and I knew that would be a perfect venue.

First off, for the record, while I popped the question to her in public, in private, she had already asked it of me. On top of that, we bought the rings together. So in a way tradition was fudged a little bit. Then again, it's still a marriage of two women, so, I suppose some "traditions" are already out the window.

Still, I wanted it to be perfect. We both decided that, maybe just once, we were going to go dressed up a little more than usual. Both of us tend to go with moderate tops and jeans, as that's more fitting of the "dive bar" environment, and for some reason, that's considered unusual. I have my theories on why, but that's for another post.

Yeah, we goth'd it up a bit. I even went all out with my platform heel boots, not that I need any more height than I have. We matched up as best we could, and I think we both looked beautiful. It was a bit quiet at the club, but then again, the mid week nights often are. That's okay. There was still the midnight show, though I wasn't sure what it was yet.

Still, I had made some preparations. I sent an e-mail to the MC of the club asking to borrow the mic around midnight. However, the date changed at the last second! I initially was going to do this on Thursday, but then the rehearsals (see previous post) came up. And the MC didn't get my last e-mail, the one saying I wanted to move to Wednesday AND explained what I was going to do. So, I looked a little suspicious walking up and talking to her about it before hand. Oh well.

At midnight, there was the performing act, a Lady Gaga impersonation/lip sync. After her two songs, the MC asked me up to the stage, as I was wanting her to do. She said that she wasn't sure what, but she let me take over. Gods was I nervous - apparently while Jäger can be a great way to calm down, a couple of JägerBOMBs, not so much. I forget what I said. I remember saying my name, and mentioning that I once met someone very special at that club. And I called her, "Ms. Elizabeth ****" to the stage.

"I remember the day you walked in the room in front of me...the day we met. And I knew that you were someone very special. And with each passing day, I knew more and more how much I love you." I got down on one knee.
Cries of, "Is this really happening?" rang out from the background among the gasps. I produced the rings.
"Elizabeth...will you marry me?"
She took the microphone from my hand after a short pause. Her voice was wavering just a little as she held back tears. And I believe she said, "Unabashedly, unequivocally, and unmistakably YES!" (She didn't hold the mic very close, but that's okay).

We embraced on that stage for a moment as I gave up the microphone. The MC was shocked! Because she never got my e-mail, she didn't know what was happening until it did. For that matter, the same with the photographer, who still did her best getting as many tender shots as she could. It was the transgender club's first ever proposal. And above all else, it was our night.

We ended up back home within a few short hours. We fell asleep in each other's arms, like we often do. And from that day, we have not held back telling the world, "Yes, that is my fiancée." I can't wait to call her my wife. It may be a long engagement, as there is much to do, both legally and otherwise, to make this wedding perfect. But when we do, it will replace that night as the greatest night of our lives.

On Complications...

I think anyone who's ever looked at transgender surgical procedures is aware that there is risk involved. Hells, there is risk for any surgery, for that matter. Vaginoplasty is also pretty invasive, at that, so it increases the risks. Ahead is a post that may be a bit much for the squeamish or the TMI crowd. I intend to speak very openly, and it would be fraudulent to both you and I to omit anything.

I'm fine. I want to emphasize that.

Yet I'm unsure what's going on. Lately, I've had some redness around the area, specifically just inside my labia majora. There have also been, I guess you could call it "trails" of dead skin extending from my labia minora. They look as if they are just leftover scab tissue from the healing that's been going on, and also that it hangs on, outlasting its usefulness in the process. It also kinda...smells. No nice way to put that.

We're hoping it's just a minor infection. I put some leftover Mybacin ointment on it for now, I'd like to see how that works. I also know that, like many other cases small to large, that getting a checkup is going to be difficult. My current primary physician is Dr. Maddie Deutsch at the LA Gay and Lesbian Center. I know she is experienced in this, but the wait can be unpredictable. Yet I don't know if I can go anywhere else to help. If I did go to an urgent care or gynecologist's office, would they know what to expect? What to look for? Would they even look? I can't really say I know the answer to that.

I'd also be mildly ignorant to say I haven't looked at possible major complications. My paranoid side is freaking at one of them - Tissue Necrosis - as the symptoms/causes listed match in a small way. For right now, though, I think I can consider it minor unless it lasts for a long time. And yet I don't know exactly what to do, either. I don't have an exact answer. I suppose that, in itself, is why I write these things on this blog; because if I don't, and no one else does, who will help those that come after me? I'll keep this updated.

Darkest Before the Dawn

Been awhile. Sorry for the delay, but hey, here's a handful of updates!

So, while I was overseas, my band, God's Weapon, finished up (mostly) their last track on our debut album, "The Light and the Darkness." I got a scratch track by e-mail, but that barely did it justice. On Thursday, we met up at our rehearsal studio and worked it out. It was crazy breaking it down, especially since we are a 7 piece, and unfortunately drummer Lorne Ahmed was unavailable that night, but we did it. Our newest member, female vocalist Denise, jumped right into it with brand new lyrics. Completely mind blowing, at that; veteran member and male vocalist Adam Maloney has done so much lyric work with this band that I bet he was surprised to see such motivation from a brand new face. I think Denise will work out VERY well. Bonus points: Denise is also openly gay, and her girlfriend Laura has made practice appearances as well. Which worked out well for Elizabeth, as she has someone to chat with.

Keep an eye out, as well, for some upcoming news. In addition to this great tune (see blog title), Elizabeth also pulled out some cameras and got some great shots that night. Getting some real press exposure is going to be  nice boost for us, as well, if we work this right. My sweetheart has quite a few talents, even if she is somewhat reluctant to admit it at times.

Anyways, the game plan is to get into the studio by February 19th for finishing up both Love is Strength's vocal and violins, and laying down all of Darkest Before the Dawn. We're looking at taking the next couple of weeks to refine the tune, maybe finish the scratch track before we head in. The energy is up! Can't wait!

GOD'S WEAPON IS:
Traf Lewis: Guitars & M Vocals
Adam Maloney: M Lead Vocals
Denise Morrow: F Lead Vocals
Margot Lane: Violins
Beaux Bruggman: Guitars
Sera Wohldmann: Bass Guitar & MtF Vocals
Lorne Ahmed: Drums

28 January, 2011

Accommodations

I thought I'd do a little follow up piece now that I'm back home.

In the last few days before flying out to Thailand, I kept in communication with Dr. Pichet along the way, making sure that the transportation was all set to pick everyone up as needed. I was grateful for this service, which he provided at no additional charge, as it made planning things a lot easier.  To that end, I asked him for a recommended hotel that he would travel to. He recommended the Atrium Boutique hotel, which was a very short couple of kilometers from his clinic.

The area was easy to get around on both foot and taxi. This was especially nice for K and I, as we both liked to do some walking to get things we needed. Of course, the walking was good for the rehabilitation, as well.

The hotel itself was very contemporary. We arrived at around 04:00 on that first day, and we were greeted with a warm smile. Our names had been passed along from the clinic, and we had a room ready to go. They even had two cold glasses of water waiting for us, free of charge. I thought that was a nice gesture. Arriving at our room, we found a single mounted A/C unit, a mini fridge stocked daily with free bottled waters, TV with a handful of English channels, two twin beds, and a comfortable bath.

The hotel had a buffet breakfast from 6 to 10 every day. Basic, but it was reliable without a lot of headache. The restaurant was also available 24/7, as was room service. We ate at that restaurant several times. It didn't take long to figure out which servers had a decent knowledge of English, and which ones were...well, scared shitless to take our table. But the food was good, and decently priced. They also had mixed drinks, smoothies, and beers. Kind of nice, actually. Until 20:00 came along...

Yes, at 20:00, the pianist would arrive. Now, I'm going to come off like a raging bitch saying this, but I didn't like this guy. He played with no sense of time. Seems like any time he tried to flourish, the time would always scatter -- HORRIBLY. He played various lounge and popular covers, and that's not a bad thing. Except that they were all sped up to the point of having no feeling whatsoever. Imagine "Yesterday" by the Beatles at twice the tempo, and occasionally just plain out of time. Now, imagine every song like that. By the end of the trip, we ended dinner by 20:00 regularly, in part because I couldn't take it! And in part because we figured out that SyFy played Star Trek: The Next Generation (Season 7) in sequence. And K and I like our sci-fi.

For a few days after surgery, of course, my quarters were at the clinic. Very warm, with some traditional touches, but clearly contemporary in design. Yes, there was a lot of modern equipment; I have heard a lot of concern regarding the conditions in Thailand. I couldn't complain in the slightest, however. The building was at least 4 stories tall, I believe. The lobby contained desks for the paperwork and the kitchen, along with a small Buddhist shrine. The 2nd floor was the exam rooms and consultation room. The consultation room had a lot of papers and viewing materials for the procedures, along with a few aids like breast forms and dilators. The exam rooms were well equipped and clean, including privacy screens (while Mom saw a little more as she helped me, K elected to defer to my modesty). The 3rd floor was the operating floor; the OR and recovery rooms, as well as the inpatient rooms. Our room had an extra bed for Mom on top of everything else. We never saw the other floors, but as we understood it, the doctors and nursing staff lived up there so they could be summoned as needed. Which happened once or twice while I was there.

In Pattaya, we had a different hotel, as well. This one was clearly a little different; the style was closer to traditional. It still had a fridge, A/C, and TV, as well. I found the beds a little less comfortable, but they're doable. The wooden elephant-face carved lamps were a cute touch, though.

All in all, I enjoyed my stay there. The Atrium, as well, was very affordable; approximately $40 a night for a deluxe room for two. I would recommend that, if you're considering going to Bangkok for any cosmetic procedure including but not limited to GRS, to consider this for lodging. It helps to have something familiar, after all.

24 January, 2011

Back Home

Hey, everybody! Just letting you know that I'm back in LA. Needed a day away from the computer to unwind. What an experience!

I flew with China Eastern Airlines. I won't say they're a bad airline, but not exactly great either. I'm trying not to judge too harshly because of the language differences. I got out of Shanghai on my layover leg to LA about 2 hours late, with no explanation as to why. Also, while there, I learned that several major websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Blogger, were all blocked in China. Kinda sucked, since I used all 3 of them to keep in touch with everybody. Oh well, it wasn't too long, anyways.

Outside of that, it was a pretty uneventful setup, though the hotel we booked at for the night between flights (it was a 13 hour layover) ended up being really damn nice! It was a Howard Johnson just on the edge of Pudong.  It was nice having a hot shower, too - my experience between the multiple hotel rooms and public bathrooms was that hot water wasn't particularly available or important (one of the two). Not sure what that was about, but it kinda sucked.

On the day I landed, my honey was there waiting for me. I was so happy to be back with her! I can't possibly express just how much I missed her. As I type this, she's by my side, doing a little online shopping with me. And soon, we'll be headed off to sleep, and all will be right with the world again.

I love you!

20 January, 2011

Last day

Gods, only a couple more days. Can't wait!

Woke up early and headed to the clinic. I started with my typical examination and cleaning. Then the doctor explained what he wanted to do. Said that he wanted to do a minor reduction to my labia, since he had played it safe before. This would be the last touch up needed, as I would, of course, be headed home. We had a couple hours before the actual procedure. K got to chat with both Dr. Pichet, again, and the anesthesiologist, Dr. Mo. Then they brought me to the OR, put the mask on, and I was out.

Woke up a couple hours later. It really was a VERY small amount of tissue that got taken care of. He also took most of the stitches out at the same time, while using dissolvable stitches for the last of today's procedure. They should come out on their own in a week-ish. After which, I can swim again. Granted, back in LA, I will be less likely to go for that unless I can get access to a heated pool. At least until summer.

I spent much of the rest of the day kinda lazy. Unfortunately, the connection at the hotel was absolute shit for the rest of the day. I can only hope it comes back up in the morning before I leave.

The plan is as follows, just in case I can't get another connection. I fly out Friday at 16:40 from Bangkok to Shanghai-Pudong. We arrive around 22:00 locally, and are heading to a Howard Johnson hotel nearby. The next leg is at noon Saturday morning to LAX. It's 11 hours, but because of the date line cross, we will arrive around 09:00 Saturday morning. Finally, I will be home. By evening, I hope to be rested enough to hit up the Shine club again...but more importantly, I'll be back home in my love's arms.

Pattaya

Amazing couple of days I've had! Let me try and get a recap going.

On Tuesday morning, we got on a van for Pattaya at 06:30. Talk about early, at least compared to our normal days. Ah, well, I managed. Pattaya was a beach resort a couple hours from Bangkok, and in the past couple decades has sprawled to its own small city. The tourism made a huge part of it, so it had a lot of influences from around, including India, Turkey, Germany, Sweden, China, you name it. You could tell alot from the local pubs to the architecture, as well.





We arrived around 09:30, and checked into the hotel we had booked as part of the package. En route, the road got a little bumpy, and I was napping against an odd ridge in the window with a strip of velcro on it. So, you'll notice a small mark on my forehead in a few of the shots. We got ready to go by 10:00. We joined another group, primarily Indian, and got in a small pontoon boat. We were to hit up Coral Island, and on the way, we made two optional excursion stops.



First stop: Parasailing! We pulled the boat up to a floating barge with a large takeoff platform. They also had a small bar. All of this very open and taking full advantage of the warm air and ocean breeze. The parasailing was pretty simple and organized: A harness sewn into a life jacket, and attached to the cords of the parachute very quickly with buckles. The rest of it stayed attached to the motorboat, which made a quick circle of the barge. Participants were allowed a single, optional dunk in the brine right upon takeoff. They also took pictures for you. Mine came to me framed already, so this shot might look a little funny.

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Upon landing, you were caught by workers and quickly detached. All you had to do was run in the beginning. But man, what a fuckin' ride!!

Next stop: Deep Sea Walk. I had to sit this one out. Doctor had ordered me to keep the surgical area dry for the next couple of weeks, and an underwater soak was pretty much out of the question. K went, though. They had O2 tanks, large old-school bubble helmets, all connected to a line. They also wore gloves, as they got a chance to feed some of the fish that were down there. Did I mention coral reef? Yeah. Damn, I wish I could have gone for that. As it was, I hung out on the barge.






Finally, we landed upon Coral Island itself. A large beach with several souvenir stands and carts. Also available were jetskis and towboats, and a lot of sun and sand. Not a whole lot more, but who needs more? Did I mention I think I was a mariner in another life? I could live on the water!






Lunch was included in the tour package. While walking along the carts towards the restaurant, I noticed one interesting technique that I would later find all over the place in Pattaya. The carts would have water pump systems and large bowls with several live fish in, including shrimp, lobster, crabs, and some small white fish. When one was ordered, they scooped them out with either tongs or grated baskets, and drop them straight into a steamer! The white fish would be gutted, scaled, breaded and deep fried whole. This restaurant did the same thing, and served with fried rice, corn, salad...and french fries. Apparently ya gotta have french fries. Good fries, actually, I can't complain. Our meal was two crabs, six shrimp, and two of the fish. Lot of food for just the two of us!




By 13:30, we were on a boat back to Pattaya. I took a nap while K got a look at our surroundings.  We walked around and checked out some of the block. It was filled with a few malls, hotels, souvenir shops, small food carts, major restaurants, and several bars. On the way back, I got a quick "Hello" from a few girls from a katoey bar. I never made it back, but I kinda wish I had the time to step inside for a drink.

At 17:30, we got another ride. The final included part of the package was the Alcazar cabaret show!  There was no photography allowed, however. It was certainly interesting, nothing I've ever seen before.  The show and the songs were primarily Thai, but I saw a lot of outside influence. Indian quarter-tone scales, Korean and Chinese set and costume designs, even some American pop. Oh, and speaking of American, between the song selections like "I Will Survive" and "Poker Face" AND a shit ton of sequins and glitter, well, it was enough to make a WeHo boy cry.

The next day was spent leisurely in comparison. We slept in, and did some souvenir shopping after breakfast at The Coffee Club. This restaurant was a nice blend of American, European, and Thai dining, along with a coffee and pastry shop, all in one. They also had a full dinner menu with draft beers. I can see that kinda place taking off in the states quite well!

Afterwards, we had an hour on the beach before heading back to Bangkok. All in all, a great trip. It was also pretty good for distracting me from the constant reminders of how long this trip is taking, and how much longer before I get home to my honey. Tomorrow morning, one last touch up procedure, and I'll probably take it easy, just to play it safe.

17 January, 2011

A Day Narrative

Trying out something different. Let me know what you think! ~Sera


Hmm, I dunno what to think. Everything I read keeps telling me this could be dangerous. I'm in a foreign country. Can I even talk to the girls? I know it'd be cool to hang with the local tgirls...would it be worth it? Or would I just have to fend of skeezy guys all night? Gods, I miss Elizabeth. Wonder if she'd go with me, if she could.


I'm home. That's a long walk. Oh well, it's good for me. Wonder if Elizabeth is on? I hope so, I'll get to talk to her. Hope the new panties fit. I swear, I packed more. Oh well. Baby!!...


Shit, they don't fit. I guess I'll have to go back tomorrow. Hope I can figure out the exchange. Will it work? I gotta try. I love talkin' to my baby! I don't think I'm going anywhere tonight. I don't feel like it, anyway. Plus, I still don't know how I'd get back home. Oh well. I can go next week, anyways. Then I'll have my honey with me! And be back home where I have a way out, and at least a phone if something happens. Guess it's time for bed...



Okay, K's asleep. Gotta do my cleaning before I crash. Let's see, mirror. Wow, it's looking good. Better still, like it's been. I want to touch...gods, damnit, stop that! Can't fuck anything up down there. It is beautiful, though...fuck. Well, 'fuck' is kinda the problem, isn't it. I can do this. And I'll be home in a few days...


...Where am I? Why am I breathing so heavily? Why is it so hot? My pillow...it's not under my head anymore. No, it's between my legs. I'm grinding against it. Woah, that was a helluva dream. Shit...did I? No, I don't think I went that far. Probably shouldn't anyways...but if I went that far maybe I could...


DAMNIT!


Okay, show some control, girl. It's easy, just go back to sleep. I have an early appointment. Need sleep...


...On my way to the clinic. Hot shower felt good, breakfast was pretty good, too. Ann's at the door. She's the smart one on the nursing staff. Following her to the exam room. Ooh, the fun part. Wonder how many different ways they can poke me today. Doctor's here. He's great. My pants are off and my clam's in the air. Normally this could be a little degrading...unless Elizabeth were here. Then she could--damnit. Focus, here...


The doctor's explaining the dilating. I have to write this down, I'll never remember it. It's going in...woah, that's weird. Feels good, but a little strange, too. Well, I'm not really in the mood, right now. It'll be better then. Besides, I'm just holding it here. Not the same thing. Not nearly as much fun. Am I done yet? Okay, good. Now for another cleaning. The doctor wants me back on Thursday for one last touch up. Hm, I wonder how it'll look, now? It already looks damn good. Maybe he's mostly just taking out stitches? I'll find out. I trust him with my life. I kinda wonder if K wants to drop in the OR. Maybe? That'll probably be a little hard to do. But, the doctor still gets her the details. I have no idea what they're saying. It's cool, though.


I'm back at the hotel. My baby's on! Gods, I need this week to end. I need to be home, so I can hold her again. How many more days? Fly out in 4, it'll still feel like more. Honey...I love her so much...


Okay, time to fix the panty issue. I don't have enough for this trip to Pattaya tomorrow. And the sets from yesterday are too small. Grab them and head back to Robinson's. Cool, that was easy. I just paid the difference. K needs socks, so we head to menswear. Not that I'm surprised by that, by this point. It's actually kinda cool.


Lunch time. Mmm, curry. I start blabbing about restaurant work again. I kinda miss cooking. Anyways. We hit up the drugstore. There's a girl waiting by the door, she catches my eye. I'm not sure, why. Hmm, sunscreen. Do I even need it? As it is, I'm way paler than I should be. A couple days at a beach will be fun. Too bad I can't swim, yet. Hmm, what else do I need. Right, I don't want to run out of KY. Maybe I should make my way over to the lubes. That girl's right in front of that aisle. Wait a minute...the brow? The heavy makeup? I wonder...no, I shouldn't jump to conclusions. That wouldn't be nice.


Hmm, only 99 Baht for this one. No, wait, is that right? I can't tell, the fast-track is all fucked up and off centered. No, I think this is the "male desensitizer." Whoops, put that down, I don't need that. Another sales girl comes up to me. I think she's asking if I need help, but I don't speak Thai. No, wait, she pointed at me. The girl from before is laughing! She's laughing at me? Fuck, she read me. They both read me. Fuck, fuck fuck. Wait, if she read me, then was I right? Did I clock her? I dunno, I still don't speak Thai. Fuck it, I have enough for now. I'll be back later. What was I here for? Sunscreen? Wait, where's K? I do a full heelspin. She's checking out. That girl pointed again. Yeah, she read me. Fuck.

Heading home. I wonder how Elizabeth is doing? She might have cracked up at that scene. I think, I dunno. Gods I miss her...These are going to be some pretty hard days. I wanna go home. Just to be with her. I need her...

We're probably eating in tonight. Pizza Hut, for a change. Sounds good. Wonder if I can call Elizabeth again before she goes to bed. We're going to Pattaya very early tomorrow. If I miss her tonight, I may not get to her for a couple days. Maybe I can login in the morning. It'll be mid afternoon for her. Maybe she'll be home. I hope so. I miss her...