Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Hi, Kids! It's your friend Olivia once again! I found an old, poemy kind of thing that I wrote on December 21, 1991; and I wanted to share it... It's called "Christmastime Is..."
Christmastime is... Santa's helpers ringing bells
Crowds in the malls shopping for the "right "gift
City kids going another year without presents because their parents are on welfare
Snowflakes falling from a black-and-white photo sky
Wrapping paper with Technicolor bows and ribbons
Hopelessly messy weather to drive in
The annual "shopping days till Christmas "countdown
Couples in love kissing under mistletoe
A hooker named Holly freezing in fishnets to get extra money so her children can eat
College football bowl games on television
Christmas carols sung off-key by drunken revelers
An old man in intensive care whose last words were "Merry Christmas"
The yearly trip across the state to Grandma's
Getting presents you know you'll have to exchange
Commercials, commercials, commercials!
"Happy Christmas/War Is Over" by John and Yoko
The smell of turkey or ham or whatever on the table
The time when many people say "peace on earth, goodwill to men… " But few actually mean it...
"Jingle Bells", "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire", etc .on the Muzak at Denny's
Christmas parties with friends
The end of the pro football season
The start of the college basketball season
Summertime in Australia and New Zealand
When soldiers abroad miss their families and loved ones the most
The angel on the top of the tree shining bright
The candles on the menorah shining bright
The love in people's hearts shining bright
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
And remember: don't drink and drive!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    Welcome back to "This Blog Is Not A Toy"! We'll resume the "Six Hits Of Acid" story straight away... I mentioned the vendors before… People selling stuff to make money for whatever reason... I can't believe I forgot about Grilled Cheese Guy! He must have been following us… Or going the same way that we were around the oval of the parking lot… Because, it seemed… For at least a couple of hours – wherever we were, whatever we were doing ... About 20 feet behind us, we heard "Grilled Cheese… Just a buck… What the fuck… " Paul and I were really tripping, with the blotter acid and the nitrous oxide we'd purchased... It got so that every time we heard Grilled Cheese Guy, we burst into peals of laughter!!!
    So... We edged closer to the bridge that would take us to SPAC. Paul left for a minute, I forget why... Knowing him it was either drug-related or girl-related... I happened upon a kid sitting Indian -style on the side of the path near the bridge, just quietly strumming his acoustic guitar. It sounded good to me, so I stopped and listened for a bit. We chatted as he strummed...His name was Jeremy, and he was from Oregon, and...
    Just then, another person appeared to Jeremy and I. This guy had a mini Bible in his hand.
"Do you know that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?!?" said Jesus Dude.
"Well, maybe I don't want him to be my savior..." replied Jeremy coolly. This kind of discourse continued for a few more minutes, until finally Jesus Dude gave up and walked away, taking his mini-Bible with him. I thought that it was pretty cool the way Jeremy shut down Jesus Dude , without raising his voice or being a dick... So I gave him a free hit of acid. He thanked me and resued strumming. Paul returned from wherever he'd gone, and we went into the show.
    The show was great! We danced, we laughed, we had a GREAT time! (We were, after all, still tripping...) As we were leaving, I realized that I still had six hits of acid left. I said, " I wanted to sell this acid, and never did. What am I gonna do?"
    "Oh, just eat it..." replied Paul. Now looking back on it, the smart thing to have done would've been to hold onto the acid, and have it at a later time. But like I said before, I was NOT smart... (Hell, it would've been WAY smarter not to do ANY of that shit in the first place!!!) I was highly suggestible... And I was tripping pretty hard still...
   "Just eat it." So I did. I ate six hits of acid in one go. Somehow, I got us both home without crashing my car. I pulled into my parking place, sighed deeply, and headed for my room.
    I still lived with my parents then... I was thirty-five years old (I'm 48 now). I collected promotional posters from record stores, and had a few on my wall. One was from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album "American Dream". It was a static head shot of all four of them; in that order, CSN&Y, looking straight into the camera. As the acid really began to kick in, I laid down on my bed, and looked up at the drop ceiling over my head. After about a minute, I couldn't see the cross beams that held the foam ceiling tiles up. It began to move like a treadmill over my head... Or it seemed like it, because I was tripping heavily. I had a pic of an astronaut on a spacewalk on my wall, and I swear he waved at me!!! I was really tripping hard! But thatwSnt all... I looked up at my CSN&Y poster.
    Suddenly, David Crosby said to me, "Well, you shouldn't have done it. You shouldn't have taken six hits of acid at once... Do you know what could happen to your brain as a result of this?!?" I was just about to reply, when Stephen Stills looked at David Crosby and said, " I dunno, Dave... Everybody got home safe... Nobody got hurt, he's home and safe and not flipping out... Who are we to judge?" Crosby glared at Stills, and he agreed,  "Oh, oh yeah... Uh, I agree with Dave... You shouldn't have done it ."
    Graham Nash was a little more philosophical. "Well, I dunno; there's a real chance for self-discovery here, perhaps even growth if things go right... And Steve had a good point... Nobody got hurt!!!" The other two glared menacingly at Graham Nash, and he recanted his previous viewpoint, and almost embarrassingly quickly as well. It was as if David Crosby, and his views, held sway over the entire poster.
    Neil Young, however; wearing a white fedora-like hat with a black band, seemed to have a knowing smile on his face. It was at that point that Neil Young said this:
    "Fuck it! Enjoy yourself, man! When are you EVER gonna take six hits of acid at one time EVER again in your life, man?!? Fuck it! Love it, ride it out, live it, enjoy it; cause it's NEVER gonna EVER happen again!!! Have fun, stay safe, and enjoy yourself !!!"
    David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash looked truly gobsmacked.
    "What?!?" asked Neil Young to the rest of the group. I smiled and said, "Sage advice! Thanks, Neil!" He nodded and smiled, and I think I saw a hint of a smile on the face of Graham Nash as well. Then I turned on the television and watched cartoons for a couple hours as the American Dream poster argued

    "...Lately it occurs to me...What a long strange trip it's been..."- The Grateful Dead, "Truckin' "

     Hi, kids!!! Good day, eh... & welcome to "This Blog Is Not A Toy"! Well, I've thought about it for quite a while,  and today, I'm finally gonna try to write it down... Hope I can still remember it all... Lol I'm doing this to have it down for posterity (or "poster"-ity, as the case may be...); and to show just how actually stupid and suggestible I truly was back then. Anyway, here now for your enjoyment , the famous "Six Hits Of Acid" story!!!
    (This really works better when I tell it in person, but I'll try my best to translate it to the electronic page...)
    Summer 2001, Saratoga Springs, New York. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center (or SPAC, as it's more commonly known...) was abuzz with activity, as Phil Lesh (former Grateful Dead bass player) And Friends and some other groups were in town for a tour known as "The Furthur Festival".         As some of you may know, "Furthur" refers to Ken Kesey's old psychedelic bus... For more info on Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, check out "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test" by Tom Wolfe.
   The Grateful Dead was the house band for some of the original Acid Tests in the late 60's... Phil Lesh was there, along with the rest of the Dead: Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann on percussion and drums, Bob Weir on rhythm guitar and vocals, and Jerry Garcia on lead guitar and vocals. The Grateful Dead, or "The Dead" as they were sometimes called, created a loyal following with their blues-based rock'n'roll. They toured incessantly through the 70's and 80's, and great fun was had by all who saw them play...
    "Get to the story!" I'm just filling in  some background for those who weren't there!!! Gosh!!!
    One big part of the Grateful Dead's fan base were people who called themselves "Deadheads". Deadheads would sometimes follow the band on tour, traveling from city to city just to see the Dad play. It was one such Deadhead that my friend Paul* (name changed to protect his privacy) found in the SPAC parking lot, in a stereotypically psychedelic painted van. This girl sold Paul and I some white blotter acid.(I think it was white... It might have had pictures on it... I don't remember...) I paid her for eight hits, and she handed me the sheet, which was wrapped in tinfoil, and said to me, "You break it off, I don't wanna trip yet." Fine, doll... I ended up grabbing like ten hits, handed her her sheet back and thanked her.
    Paul and I walked off to find a place where we could enjoy our new purchase. The air was filled with excitement... and other things... In the parking lot, a few different groups of people were playing Grateful Dead music from their car stereos, and a few even brought their own instruments, and were jamming away just like their heroes. Some people sold different items out of their cars, spread out on blankets. Most of the vendors were just regular people who wanted to make a buck or two. Some of the people sold things to make money to travel with The Dead (or in this case, Phil & Friends) to the next stop on the tour... Some sold things because they were into crafts...Still others sold things to fuel their drug intake... Paul and I walked around and around and around the lot, when the acid finally kicked in. It was pretty mellow... A really good scene... "Shakedown Street" (the parking lot/vending area, named from another Dead song) was pretty lively that day, as show time crept closer and closer.
    We bought bottled beer from a vendor to quench our thirsts... It was a hot, slightly muggy summer day, and the parking lot was a little dusty. After the beer, we also bought a balloon of nitrous oxide. Laughing gas, as it's also known, is a quick, intense high that doesn't last too long; but is pleasurable. As with most drugs, it's inhaled through the mouth. The user then holds their breath until they can no longer do so. Nitrous produces a kind of ringing sensation inside your head for a couple minutes after use, along with general (short-lived) euphoria.
    The area around the tanks of nitrous oxide were like no place I'd ever been at any other concert, before or since. Nitrous oxide has no smell that I'm aware of, but it filled the surrounding air. Every once in awhile, one of the balloons broke with a loud "POP!!!" This allowed all the contents of that balloon to get into the surrounding air. Here's where that euphoria comes in... At most concerts, no matter what drugs people are on, or what band is playing that night, there's bound to be at least one spot of trouble. Someone will argue or fight with someone else; it doesn't matter who, nor does it matter what started the original dispute... In this area, there was none of that. As I looked about, nearly EVERYONE I saw was smiling. Could've been the nitrous oxide, maybe not... It was weird, but a really good kind of weird.
    Paul and I began to edge closer to the bridge that would take us to the venue. The parking lot we were in was across the road from SPAC, and there was a bridge over the highway.

Monday, November 10, 2014

    So... When last we left our hero... *ahem* heroine, she had recently realized that she is, in fact, a girl. What could be done about this fact, you would ask... Well, in this case, the next step was therapy. Sitting down and talking to someone, and telling them all sorts of thoughts, feelings, and desires that they've had over their entire life… in my case, I had felt, ever since about the age of 14… that the mind and soul that I had on the inside did not match up with the body I had on the outside. I told my therapist about this, and she had some ideas of different therapeutic options.
    She said I had something called "gender dysphoria "… Which means that the body I had did not mesh with the mind and heart that I had… Outside,  I looked like your average, normal, everyday guy. Inside, I was a girl. And the older I grew, the more I felt like a girl. This was probably why that I felt the need to push these feelings away by using lots and lots of drugs. You name the drug, I've probably tried it… with the exception of anything that required a needle. I really had no idea how to deal with these feelings, so I just kept trying to push them away.
    My therapist gave me a letter that said that she felt that I had gender dysphoria, and that there was a medical course of action that could be taken. I was to give this letter to another doctor who would give me female hormones to take. However, because of the blood thinners I was on due to the blood clots; I was unable to take estrogen. So I received prescriptions for both finasteride and spironolactone. These medications began to block the testosterone that had influenced my mental, physical and emotional development since my teenage years. And while in some respects I felt a little better for having less testosterone in my system ; the combination of the two medications induced a kind of depression after a little while. It was not pleasant, but some friends of mine helped to talk me down from some bad thoughts I was having.
    And then, things began to change. My girlfriend had told me that she did not see herself in a lesbian relationship with me. This saddened me to no end, because I had intended to spend the rest of my life with her. But, it's completely her right to be in the kind of relationship she wants to be in… She has every right to be happy, as do I. She moved on, and obtained a boyfriend from among her friends on her favorite online game, World of Warcraft. (I found this slightly ironic… Considering that she and I had met on an online game as well: Pirates of the Caribbean online… but that is in the past.) Her boyfriend sold his house, and began to prepare to move in with my now ex-girlfriend. However, I was still living in the house. This meant that I would have to find another place to live.
    I spoke with my therapist about these recent developments, as well as some of my friends online. One of my online friends was nice enough to open her home to me. This now meant that I had a place to go. However, I felt that my physical transition had begun to stall, due to the continued lack of estrogen from being on blood thinners.
    I obtained a transfer from my job. I was going to leave the store that I was at, and begin a new job at a new store, close to my friend's house. As if on cue, my car died. I couldn't drive it to Minnesota, and I would have to leave stuff in my ex-girlfriend's basement. Thankfully, she's letting me do this… In the meantime, I had to take a bus to Minnesota. I came here with a couple of boxes of clothes, and not very warm clothes at that… Sometime soon, I'll have more money to be able to buy more stuff… But until then, I am in survival mode. I have basically nothing. No car… No computer… No television… nothing.
    I've got to try to remain positive… I have many friends who have shown me that what I want can actually occur… I just have to keep believing it. Someday… It will happen. Someday… Olivia will be a reality, and not just a Facebook profile. I've  said before that the future looks moderately bright… There's just all of this "now" to get through first… Well, "now "sucks! But, I hope at least that it's finite. I'm still waiting for the good part… But I'm convinced that it will be there ...sometime…

Friday, October 10, 2014

    Good evening. Welcome to... Difficult... Listening Hour. The spot on your dial for that relentless and impenetrable sound of... Difficult... Music. c. c. c. c. c. c. c.
    So sit bolt upright... in that straight-backed chair... Button that top... button.. and GET SET... for some... Difficult... Music. (Laurie Anderson, "Difficult Listening Hour")

    It's finally happening! After all the decades of wondering whether I was crazy for wanting to be something other than I am, it's finally happening! This rather pleasant development has both good & bad points, I've since found out... Let me start at the beginning.

    I am transgender. Boy coating, girl filling. I first had the tiniest inkling at age 14. For whatever reason, at that age, I began to imagine what my life would have been like if I was a girl (as I am now on my way to being) instead of a boy, which is how I was born. Back in the early 1980's, when this was all happening to me, this sort of thing was a curiosity at best. There was no internet back then, so I couldn't look anything up to find out any information about being as I was.

    I tried many different ways to push away those feelings: drugs, college, more drugs, moving to Florida (I was originally from a small town in upstate NY, north of Albany, near the VT border), moving back from Florida, marriage, fatherhood, moving back in with my dad, moving to Ohio...

    Well, all was well, and the crazy, silly feelings I had (because I couldn't REALLY be a girl, could I?!? Naaaaaawwwww... I wasn't one of THOSE people...) were kept on the back burner... UNTIL...

    April 24, 2014... My entire right arm swelled up pretty badly. I went to Urgent Care... it cost me $100 to even be SEEN by them... They were STUMPED. They sent me to Bethesda North Hospital's emergency room. Their doctor saw me for all of ten minutes in my four-and-a-half hours there. I was given ONE tiny Xarelto (blood thinner) tablet, as blood was inexpertly taken from my left arm. (They had to try three times to get enough blood from me for testing... which left me with a  bruise the size of  silver dollar on the inside crook of my left elbow.)

    They called me back in the next morning for an ultrasound, to see if there were any blood clots. I underwent the scan. The result said that I had had no blood clots in my arm, which I was happy about. They told me what the problem WASN'T, but couldn't tell me what it WAS...

    They suggested that I see my PCP (Primary Care Practitioner, an acronym I had some trouble adjusting to...). I didn't HAVE one of those, so I asked around, & got the name of a nice doctor affiliated w/The Jewish Hospital . I went to see him, & he put me on antibiotics, diagnosing my condition as an infection. The antibiotics DID make my right arm slightly smaller... He was very good!

    Then I went in for another appointment... They said the arm wasn't returning to "normal" (as IF I've EVER been normal!!! lol) as quickly as they thought it might... (At its largest, my bicep was 43 cm around... The antibiotics had gotten it down to 36 cm in circumference...

    They pulled me in for another ultrasound, at The Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati. I was looking forward to the results, because I wanted to find out what was going on. They called me & said, "Call in to work, because we're admitting you to the Hospital." Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?!?

    Turns out that I had a couple of blood clots in my upper right arm... exactly the OPPOSITE of what Bethesda North had said just a month earlier! (They showed me pics... I don't believe that those clots could've developed in just a month...)

    So... I was hooked to a Heparin (blood thinner) IV. Laying there in the hospital, really unable to sleep for more than like an hour-and-a-half at a time; I began to think about my life. Why did my life seem like a long series of bad decisions?!? What was the reason behind it? Why had I done all of the drugs?!? What feelings had I been trying to push away?

    THAT was when I realized... <gasp> OMG, I'm a girl!!! The more I tried to deny it, and the more I thought about it, the more it smacked me in the face. I realized it at last; after thirty-four years of denial. I AM FEMALE. However, there's that nasty business of me having an entirely male body to consider... What to do?!?

   Well, I began to see a gender therapist. They were really nice, & a good listener... & got me in touch w/another doc who prescribed me Spironalactone & Finasteride (no Estrogen yet, because of the Coumadin my PCP put me on)

    Fast forward to now. I have been on Spiro & Finasteride since 8/28/14... & I'm waiting til I get off the Coumadin so I can find a doc to put me on E...


    Questions? Comments?!? Thoughts? Let me know!!! (This IS my FIRST blog, after all...)