Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Getting older

This past Saturday was my birthday. I know, I know...happy birthday. Thanks in advance. A few months ago I realized that I missed out on celebrating a milestone last year. You see, as we age, there are those big numbers that stand out that make us eligible for different circumstances. At 16, I was able to drive...18, to vote...and 21 to legally buy alcohol and consume it. The night I turned 21, I went to the grocery store and bought some beer for my roommates (who were all over 21) just because I could. I don't even remember if they carded me or not. Most people look on those ages as the big events. After 21, they are pretty much all less dramatic.

At 25, though, car insurance goes down. Thirty is just a nasty age. I think it's an age that a lot of youth look at as a measure of their dreams. I want to have this much money by the time I'm 30, or be married and have this many kids, or have accomplished this or that. It's an age a lot of us have (or had) expectations for. Thirty was hard for me. I wasn't who I thought I should be.

After that, it all goes down hill. At 59.5, I can withdraw from 401k without penalty...well, until they raise the age limit, that is. I'm sure there are a bunch of other privileges that come with age, but I'm not even close to that at this time...so I haven't really looked into it.

The one I missed last year, though, is at 35. What happens at 35 one might wonder? Well, I can now be President of the United States. Yup. Vote for Kara in 2008! I'm gonna make Al Gore my vice. Sweet, huh? Or maybe Arnold...who knows.

In all seriousness, though, I treated it like pretty much any other day. I went to practice, ate lunch with some teammates, chilled at home, then chatted with some visitors from out of town...one of which had recently had surgery.

One thing I realized lately, though, is that I wonder if part of me is trying to live a part of life I missed growing up. Have I been taking classes to try to relive part of my college days...as a girl? I decided to take another class this fall. It's sort of a creative writing class, so I get to test out my skills with someone who will be judging what I write. I'm betting there will also be some interaction with classmates outside of class, which could be kinda cool.

My birthday is also close to marking two years left until paying off my 401k loan for FFS. Once SRS is paid off, I'll either look at a new car, or the possibility of paying FFS off a little sooner. I'll have to reasses that when I've finished it off. Depending on bonuses this summer, it's still likely another year before I have to decide.

OK, so the good news for today, is that my mom just called and told me her test results came back. They say she is in total remission from the lymphoma. Awesome! That's the best birthday present I think I've had in a very long time.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


When I go for runs, or when I'm simply traveling to work, I do a lot of pondering. Two of my latest ponderings involved T-stuff. Yes, I'm probably thinking too much, but my time, especially my 'run time' is time when my mind just wanders into wherever it wants to wander. Sometimes I even think about stuff so funny (well, it's funny to me) I start laughing out of nowhere. OK, it's probably a sign that I'm crazy or something, but my 'run time' is a great time for stress relief.

OK, so, where was I...oh yeah...rambling. Errr..I mean, pondering. So, one of the biggest things that still gives away a lot of T's is the lack of hips. Baby ain't got back. The main option now is to pump silicone into the buttocks to make them look fuller. I think I'll pass. It just doesn't seem safe to do this..short term or long term.

The safer alternative seems to be pumping fat into the areas. One can lipo other areas, purify the fat, then inject it into the hips. Another problem, though, is maintaining blood supply to the new fat cells, as well as the body reabsorbing the fat that gets placed in there. Also, the latest and best liposuction methods typically use ultrasonics to break down the fat cells during removal. Once this is done, though, the cells are destroyed and would not survive upon re-injection.

The easy solution seems to be growing the fat cells outside the body and then injecting them into the needed areas. Of course, to prevent any type of tissue rejection based on our current medical technology, and to not have to take any type of medication to prevent tissue rejection, one would have to grow their own fat. This seems easy, but unfortunately, it's not. Growing fat cells outside the body seems to be rather difficult. They grow so easily inside us, but outside they aren't jack. They need blood supply, waste removal, and the proper energy to survive and flourish. Bummer, huh?

Well, I wonder if, instead of removing the cells from the body to grow them, we used the body as the incubator, and grew them larger in particular areas. One would need some type of material that is absorbed by the body that could feed the surrounding fat cells, but yet not migrate far from where it is injected. It would need to be some sort of suspended food substance for fat. Let's just inject chocolate cake, right?

OK, well, I'm not a biologist or chemist, but it seems like taking the "multiplication nourishment" directly to the source would be the best alternative. The problem is our blood supply system is too good to likely let this happen. The nourishment would likely flow throughout the rest of the body away from the targeted areas.

If they ever do figure out how to grow fat cells outside the body, though, look for a ton of transsexuals to start injecting it in their ass and boobs.

Speaking of sexual parts of the body...I had another recent pondering. I wondered what would happen if a post-op transsexual took Viagra. Crazy? Well, all of the blood supply is still there, and believe it or not, I can still get a micro-boner of sorts. There is some type of tissue there that still gets an increase in blood supply during arousal. OK, it's not what anyone would consider to be a boner, but I do notice some areas receiving a little more attention than others. I totally don't mind it at all since it actually feels kinda nice.

So, I wonder...what would Viagra do. I mean, most guys can't take it anytime they want cuz...well, it might leave them feeling a little uncomfortable walking around or sitting down. I, on the other hand, would not have to worry about someone seeing that I was excited, nor would it feel uncomfortable at all. Of course, I might not be that productive.

Hmm..so, how to wrap this one up? Let's see. I have a birthday coming up.

Chocolate cake...little blue pills...you know what to get me.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Transfigurations in San Francisco

Transfigurations moves from Santa Cruz to Good Vibrations in San Francisco, with an artist reception this evening. I'm still debating if I want to go or not...since for one thing, my regular picture will not be hanging, and two, there will possibly be two nude pictures of me. (I was hesitant to even mention this due to the possible perv factor.) This is the first time I have ever posed nude, let alone, had anyone see pictures of me nude...but this IS an art exhibit (so I can claim art privilege, right?). I just think it might be weird to be there with people looking at my naked body...not that I think they shouldn't. Of course, if I did go, and someone liked the way I looked naked, and I liked the way they looked with clothes on...hmmmm. Hahahaha.

The exhibit is located at Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk Street in San Francisco, and will run from July 10-August 21.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Transgender blog and website tips

If one has ever searched for transgender websites, it's not too hard to find them. There are actually a lot. It almost seems like this little ritual of "Hey world, I'm here, I'm me, I'm proud....hear me roar." Perhaps some of us choose to have them to share our experience, find friends who are also going through the same stuff, but also to provide a glimpse of who we are (before going full time). I can say that I've done all of the above.

The problem is some of these websites can come back to haunt people. (I'm lucky...it hasn't happened to me so far, but in fact, has helped since I met my ex sorta via it.) Take for example, Vanessa Edwards Foster's recent editorial about a potential employer simply googling her to find out her transgender work history. Now, she works in advocacy, so having her contact information on their advocacy website is to be expected, but by simply having a transgender related website with your real name on it can come back to haunt you. One just has to be careful to not share too much information...thus, I wrote up my top 10 list of tips (in no particular order) for having a transgender related website:

#1. Don't use your real last name.

This is very important, because should you ever decide to change jobs or just in general, you don't want people to easily google your name and see that you're a transgender person. If you are out and proud, that's fine, but just to be on the safe side, you don't want people discriminating against you just with a simple google search.

#2. Choose a first name that sounds the same as your real name, but is spelled differently.

This one is not required, but it is likely the best option. If you can, it would be good to use a different first name altogether, but the problem with that is when you meet new friends via the site. You're friends then have to deal with learning a new name for you or have to call you a different name in different situations. The best thing would be to spell a name slightly different than your real name. Thus, for me, I probably should have gone with Kera/Kara, but it's too late now. So, people could still call you by your real name, but it could be spelled differently online.

#3. Don't mention places you frequent by name.

When discussing places one visits on a regular basis, use a code word or call it something else...but try not to list the actual place one is visiting. When I go home, or anywhere near it, I usually list it as Oz, and leave it at that.

#4. Don't mention places you will be in the future unless they are public events.

This is just a safety one in general and is very similar to #3. One doesn't need people tracking you down because you're going to the local pub every Thursday night. Now, public events like a Gay Pride or transgender event might be ok, as long as there are supportive people there.

#5. Don't out anyone else. (this includes pictures)

This one isn't necessarily for the individual with the website, but for friends or acquaintances of that person. Outing people is uncool. Unfortunately, I've probably done it in the past, as well. One of the hardest parts about this one is the association factor. A person who passes fairly well might not when placed in the context of a transgender setting. Who knows. So, it's safe practice just to not post pictures of other transgender people unless you have their permission or they are already out-out.

#6. Show respect.

This is more of a general rule for anything. Of course, respect (and its opposite) creates a fine line between disrespect and constructive criticism. I guess what I am trying to say here is don't bash someone who can't defend themselves or isn't in the public eye. Don't trash someone who called you 'sir' during one of your initial trips out in girl-mode, but let us know how you felt about it. Put us in your shoes and let us experience it as well.

#7. Try to stay semi-focused.

I'm not saying that an unfocused blog isn't entertaining, but sometimes maintaining a little focus can keep people coming back for more. If one starts rambling about how Star Wars is so much better than Star Trek, or vice versa, or how Battlestar Galactica's season cliffhanger left us going 'huh?', it's a deviation from the norm. Perhaps the best way to deal with items that aren't transgender in nature is to relate them to the transgender topic. For instance, in Star Trek, the human element is taken more into context of the future being a fairly tolerant world, but Star Wars never really delves into the issues. Instead, they show a world in which many different races and beings are fighting for their freedom.

#8. Don't whine all of the time.

It's ok to whine once in a while, but don't make it a habit. People like to hear about the good and the bad, not just the bad stuff all of the time. If you want to write about having no money to do stuff, tell us about how you and your friends sought out more economic ways to entertain yourself...or how you are planning to finance your transition when working a minimal wage job.

#9. If you're gonna mention something crazy, at least mention what you learned from the experience.

I think some of the more memorable 'crazy' events I can remember reading about involved either Kate or a girl on a forum. Kate described situations that are likely something that has crossed most of our minds at some point or another. She was dealing with 'making out' options while still pre-op. The other person was a little more risky and got herself into a situation which I'm surprised she survived. Kate seemed to learn something from her experience...the latter didn't seem to.

#10. Be honest.

Nothing hurts the transgender world, and possibly the rest of the world reading a transgender related site, more than misinformation or lies. From the false or misleading promises and pictures on Transformation, to DIY electrolysis kits, to fake personal websites like boy2woman.com or Lori MacNeil's Yahoo 360 page, these sites can provide false hopes for people going through transition. The truth of the matter is, most of us will still have some telltale sign that will give us away upon close examination. Most people aren't looking for it since they don't typically even know we exist, but some people can and do catch on. The problem is when a transitioner is misled into believing that they will pass flawlessly once they have transitioned. It is true that a lot of transitioners do fairly well once transitioned, but it does take a lot of effort, and in some cases, a lot of money.

While I appreciate those that do put their real name out there, or are simply too famous to not have their real name on the internet, they are very courageous individuals and deserve the best. Unfortunately, we still live in a world where people discriminate based on ones sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.