October 2021 365 Project

Well I am back to uploading the 365 project photos. I ended up stopping at September 2021 and now we are starting it back up.

All rights belong to freemusicarchive.org: https://freemusicarchive.org/Terms_of_Use

This is licensed under a CC0 1.0 Universal License.

Happy Birthday Dad, We miss you

Yesterday would have been my dad’s 75th birthday, easily within a normal lifespan. However a life of abuse, lifestyle of a biker, Agent Orange, smoking, chemical exposure and incarceration, and mental health ended that abruptly before his 68th birthday.

Here is a picture of him just turning 17 on his way to Cam Ranh Bay in 1966. Having just gotten through Great Lakes training and a few months on the USS Mars he was “volunteered” to serve in the Brown Water Navy aboard Patrol Boat River and Patrol Boat Fast craft.

I have attached a few pictures of what are called Patrol Boat River (PBRs) probably most famous because of the movie Apocalypse Now. Specifically I tried to get pictures that had the 50 caliber gun pit he served in, none of the boat pics are him sadly. He wasn’t able to keep any of his pictures when he was in country.

This originally was just a happy birthday post, but below you will find evidently I needed to talk about it, and I think this is the first time I have ever written publicly. This got long, so please don’t read more if you don’t want to hear long drawn out story that I may update and streamline or expand. I don’t know why now I need to share, but I think my therapist would tell me it is part of my processing of my own trauma, PTSD, C-PTSD, and abuse by my own past demons.

I know so many small stories of the time dad was in Vietnam, that sometimes I can dream it. Sadly though it was a horrific time for a seventeen year old who didn’t want to be there, but because he grew up abused by his uncle Rush, physically, mentally and sexually, he had a hard start. Sadly uncle Rush wasn’t the one who raised him, it as his grandfather and grandmother who had raised him and they tried hard but they were both in their 70-80s.

His grandfather died a few months after his grandmother and they both had just passed away the year when he was 16. He spun out of control, alcohol and trouble making in the small town of Oso and then in the “big” town of Everett (not really that big). His friends and him made a bad decision to break into a convenience store and steal alcohol. At some point a they got in a fight with some others and some people ended up pretty badly hurt (also something he regretted participating in his entire life).

He was brought into court, never had a problem in the past (hell until his grandparents died and he lost weight living on his own, he was known as “Fat Jack” and if he had been born thirty years later would probably be a gamer). However, the judge didn’t believe in chances, and he received no leniency from the court, the only option he got was to go to Vietnam, or serve a 5+ year prison sentence at the age of 17 at the Monroe State Prison.

I hope that judge rots in hell for that.

My dad hoped to avoid killing anyone so he joined the U.S. Navy. Maybe this would have been a good ending if he stayed in the “real navy”, but that isn’t what happened. After being on the U.S.S. Mars for a few months, they had a quota they had to fill of navy personnel to go over to the new river navy in Vietnam to assist the soldiers who had arrived there not long before.

He got “volunteered” for this duty.

He was a 17 year old white boy, the only white boy on his boat. He told me when he arrived and went on board the river craft, he was sure his crew would hate him because they were all black and angry. Turned out though that they loved him and he loved them. I cannot tell you the amount of times I would sit with him in the dark as his alcoholic run was wrapping up and he would just cry because he missed them, especially Steve, the man that died saving his life at the end and who my brother’s middle name is for.

He told me a lot of those stories as a kid (as did a lot of the other vets we grew up with), maybe I can tell their small vignettes in the future.

What I do know is that a river boat crew of black men had adopted my teenage father’s white country/farm ass and because of them my dad was able to come home.

The general gist of this post though is that he was the last survivor of his boat that spent most of its time on the northern part of the Mekong, I can’t remember the official designation, but they were called the “Skating Gators” and their symbol was Wally the Gator with dual 50 calibers machine guns in its arms while using roller-skates, or at least that is mostly what I remember as a young child when I saw the patch).

Their job was , to go rescue pilots, deliver packages (eg people) into Northern Vietnam and Cambodia, and to perform harassment and interdiction of the North Vietnamese use of the Mekong (this is before the North had really implemented the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

I have only this picture and one other of when he was in country but not of him, of his friends instead (I need to find it and scan it). His personal stuff was not sent home with him as he was medically transported out.

After nine months, most of the original crew for the entire flotilla were dead or so injured they were transferred out. He was counting down his last three months to go home and get out of the military and out of trouble when he was injured gravely (even put in the pile of “dead” and was only found later when they realized he was breathing, that is another story).

When he was transported home after nine months in country he would be disharged with full honorable medical discharge after he saw the judge and the judge approved his tour in the military. He was rolled into the same judge’s courtroom with his head wrapped, both legs shot/shattered. The judge asked if he served his full year, and my dad’s public defender showed his service record and that he was about to be medically discharged due to combat injuries.

The judge did something that most people wouldn’t expect, but I have seen enough with our judicial system now that it doesn’t surprise me in retrospect. The judge believed because my dad didn’t serve a full year in Vietnam, that he hadn’t met his end of the sentence. The judge said because he didn’t finish his one year tour in Vietnam, that he was going to send him to prison anyways. My grandmother (his mother) who had gotten out of prison while he was gone had confirmed this. Everyone in the court was evidently shocked.

This situation was bad because he was still technically in the navy and because the judge changed the judgment and instead of releasing him like you would anyone who was gravely injured fighting for his country because my dad was too injured to fight, the navy discharged him as dishonorable because of the sentence he was forced to go to even though he had fought.

The injuries both mental and physical were only the start of a poor 18 year old who then had to go to prison for four years as an 18/19 year old and this would result in the life of the John J Bradley I knew, and as a result would direct my siblings and I’s lives as well.

That being said, he did everything he could for his family, and I miss him horribly and would give almost anything to just sit with him for an hour.

I guess this was an awkward way to say Happy Birthday dad, I love you and miss you.

Institutional microaggressions

Yesterday the hubby and I were both excited. For the last couple of years we have been changing our name and gender markers in all our official documentation. We have successfully changed even our birth certificates (including the hubby’s from Arizona). The last two steps are my passport (my federal information is already changed, just need to update that) and our marriage license.

We were married in 1992, and we both knew that in the state files our original names were used along with our genders. So we called around to the various county auditors we lived in and they finally directed us to the state. After setting up an appointment for yesterday six months ago (that is how long the wait was) we headed down to Olympia after my medical appointments to change our marriage license.

We arrived and waited until half an hour past our appointment. The employee was a nice guy when we did meet him, evidently he was on lunch and didn’t notice we had arrived… even though we had an appointment. He took our information, headed over the the archives to make the change while we paid for new copies.

He came back with a partial success, and a truly horrific change. Our names were changed with no problems, we are listed with our current names and that is all good. That being said he told us he had some bad news, for whatever reason (insert blah blah blah) he couldn’t change our genders.

Adoption and Microaggressions | AdoptiveBlackMom

To be honest this doesn’t make sense to me, they can change my actual birth certificate to list me as female, but can’t update my marriage license. What happens if a county auditor records the name of the spouses in the wrong box, are they telling me a cisgender woman will be listed as the male, and it can’t be changed. That cannot be right. Although it sounds like that isn’t a problem anymore because since gay marriage became legal in 2012 or so they don’t list genders, just spouse 1 and spouse 2 on licenses after that.

The worst part about this, the new marriage license/certificate they gave us lists me as the groom and my husband as the bride. In spite of the fact our original never listed the bride/groom at all on the original certificate in our old names. So now, not only couldn’t they change it, our marriage license outs us clearly, instead of only being somewhere deep in the computer system.

Don’t get me wrong, I am obviously trans so while it does misgender me, it won’t be surprise to anyone. However, it outs my hubby who passes 100% as a cisgender guy when no one knows, and lists him as my bride.

I didn’t expect dysphoria to hit so hard when that happened and I realized what our new licenses listed. I am angry, crushed and just livid that now my wedding license/certificate is even worse than before. Name is correct but now it states clearly the wrong gender. All of this. after 2+ hours of commute, waiting, etc and paying $70.

Next week I am going to call and find out if the guy just was an idiot, or if that is actually the case. If it is the case we are already looking at lawyering up to change it. That is complete and utter nonsense that they can’t change it. You know for a fact that if a cisgender male/female names got mixed up they would find a way to do it.

I do hope to find when I call next week that the guy was just an idiot and they can fix it, but not expecting that at all.

A Burnt face and Some Turkish Fare

I have been quiet lately and that is all due to stress, mental health, physical health and pure exhuastion. That being said, I haven’t been just huddling in my house, we have gone down to Phoenix for a horrific experience with electrolysis, for the first time ever I got my face burnt up pretty good, and I cooked the hubby and myself some dishes from Turkey/Middle Eastern area of the world (I realize that is a huge place with lots of countries and cultures).

First let me be clear that the Jazmin is wonderful, and it wasn’t her skills that were an issue, rather it was her experience, and the arrangement of the hours I traveled 1,000 miles for and paid almost 3k for hotels and flights. I had scheduled 2 full days of electrolysis, but halfway through the first day I was told that they were moving the more experienced person off me the second day, but Jazmin could work on me and finish it herself. This was not true, and is the third time in a row they have removed electrolysis people for the second day and I haven’t gotten my face finished.

Turns out that Jazmin who is new, and incredibly nice had picked the wrong locations on my face, making it too difficult the second day for both electrolysis to work on it. This would have been ok had they kept the more experienced person to finish my face, but Jazmin is not nearly as fast, and unfortunately she burnt me pretty badly. They had the more experienced person not work on my face because she always has a list of patients that will come in on the fly.

The sad part, I was willing to pay for the whole time for both people just to clear my face, no one was going to lose money by not splitting off the electrolysis. I had already determined the total max amount of hours and had the money for it.

However, I have to 100% give Jazmin props for being honest. It turns out that the machine she had used on me the previous time was broken and she had a new one. The problem is the old machine was broken the last time too, so she had to crank up the device to have it work. Unfortunately this time with the new machine she used the old numbers the first day, and that is where all the burning happened because the new machine was much more effective and the numbers she used were way too high. This also makes me question why the shop was using a machine that they had to crank up the numbers on to get it to work, especially with how much is charged for electrolysis.

That kind of honesty would normally mean I would absolve the issue itself, however I was told by management that my face being burnt is “normal”, which I can categorically say it wasn’t because I have gone down there 10+ times and this is the only time it happened. The inability of the shop to just be honest is what makes me angry.

I have warred with the idea of posting this, one of the people from the shop lives near me now and has offered to work on my face. I am happy to have her work on it, but I wasn’t sure if me complaining about what happened would mean she would retract that. I hope not, but here it is out there now and we will see.

The second part of this post is I made the hubby and I some food yesterday. I made some Borek, which is a savory Turkish pastry that I usually served breakfast/lunch (think quiche). I also made some Turkish Red Lentil Soup with Mint and a Blood Orange Yogurt Olive Oil Cake. I think they all came out great. The one thing I found out was that our oven cooks a little hot so the food was darker than I liked, but was absolutely tasty. Also my photos weren’t the best, but I was tired and hungry and just wanted to eat.

That reminds me, I need to post some recipes. Maybe I will do that soon as I have been woefully an underachiever posting here 🙂

Procrastination of medical decisions is over!

As a disclaimer I am very frank about things in my life, especially about mental health and about transitioning to a woman. Most people won’t talk about the grosser or more awkward things so there is a lack of information of not only negative things, but how people addressed them and if it worked.

This post is definitely TMI for some people, so you are warned if you want to read more.

Yesterday I went to the urologist to follow up on multiple issues. Because I talked about this in my old blog and not here I will give a brief recap.

Back in 2019 when I transitioned I underwent an orchiectomy, the process to remove testicles in order to stop producing testosterone. It was the only way to have my estrogen and testosterone numbers work out, and it did just that. However there were four drawbacks from it.

The first was Peyronie’s disease, basically the lack of testosterone causes penile atrophy and makes the penis curve in very painful directions, this normally is temporary, and while mine lasted way longer than normal, the pain is finally gone (and remarkably not as much atrophy as was assumed). This was a huge issue for years, and yes eventually I will probably chat here about it.

The second was a slight bit of dripping after urination, that is always a side effect anytime surgery in an area of your bladder system. The doc yesterday has a medication that may help with very little side effects, so here is hoping in three months it will work out.

The third is bloody seminal fluid when you orgasm. This sucks and is one of the two things that really bothered me (yes both things more than the pain in the penis due to Peyronie’s). This is caused by the prostrate and happens to older cis men and we can’t be sure if the timing is normal, or if the orchie did push it over the edge, either way it is the same. No pain, but it looks like a murder scene anytime I have an orgasm, so very uncomfortable mentally and socially if I want to seek out new partners (I am fortunate, the hubby doesn’t care about that).

Normally for most people this also passes, but for me for four years it has not and evidently even without the lack of testosterone my prostrate has not shrunk that much. The meds I am going to get for the urination may in fact help, but it’s only a possibility. So we are going to see how the meds work, if they don’t however there is a second, far more sure process as they have a surgical fix (low key surgery at that).

Basically they do a roto-rooter to the prostrate, and then do some laser cauterization and that should cover it. So the doctor cleared me if I want the surgery, which if by April my meds haven’t fixed it I will want the surgery, and preferably as soon as possible. Oh and its possible the meds might help with this as well, that is a double win!

The fourth is the remaining scrotal sack which turns out is significantly causing me dysphoria. The penis doesn’t, but the scrotal sack for whatever reason does. They don’t remove the scrotal sack on most transfem women initially, as normally it does tend to shrink a bit, plus it is the best option to use if I decided for a vaginoplasty and the rest of the surgeries to get rid of the penis and get a new surgical vulva and vagina (it is a key portion of the skin used for the vaginal wall). I have kept the sack for years now, mainly because I wanted to research the disadvantages and side effects of the surgery before committing either way.

If you gave me a magic wand to replace my AMAB equipment with a full cis-girl vagina I would take it in a heart beat. However surgical transition is very harsh including a major surgery with multiple procedures that not only remove your AMAB parts, but they have to replumb your urethrea and urinary track, move your sensitive portion of your penis and remake it into a vagina.

The positive, if it all goes well is a fully working vulva and vagina that can have penetrative sex. There are even variations of the surgery that it can lubricate itself (however the details of that immediately made me say no thank you for me). If everything is successful it is functionally the same for sexual interaction (with the bonus of no children, no cramps, no PMS, sorry sisters but we aren’t cis and we don’t have the same cycle because of it).

The negatives however are harsh and include the following:

  • A major surgery that has many weeks of recovery (usually at least 12 a lot of times more), weirdly enough though the surgery is not nearly as long as my facial as the normal penile inversion vaginoplasty is 2-5 hours and my facial surgery was 12-13, my recovery was much quicker.
  • Only an 80% (best case at this time, but always getting better) of retaining sexual feeling in your new clitoris (this is way to low a chance for me).
  • Many people have to have revision surgery, sometimes 2-3 times to get it fully right.
  • In order to use the vaginal part, you have to dilate the vagina with uncomfortable insertion devices four+ times a day for many weeks and even after years you still have to do it regularly monthly or so (if it all goes well).
  • Bladder and other internal organs are always at risk for injury from the surgery that may not fully go back to pre-surgery levels of use (I already have the urination issue, don’t need more possible urination issues).
  • No matter what the vaginal canal may close back up even with dilation because sometimes your body just says no, and I already had huge issues with hormones not wanting to work, this seems problematic at best for me.

On top of all this, I always found trans women with penises to be very attractive and just as much women as cisgender women, so my penis itself never bothered me (well it bothered me a lot when I was still a guy, but after transition my penis is fully functional and I actually like using it).

One of the biggest reasons though that I had kept the possibility of bottom surgery (other than I would like to have sex like a ciswoman if I could) was that it might fix the bleeding seminal fluid problems.

What I did find out was that my scrotal sack gives me dysphoria and I hate it. I had huge testicals and it turns out that my scrotal sack didn’t really shrink so it causes a huge bulge, I hate the way it looks, and I want it gone.

Well the doctor made it clear that vaginoplasty will not fix my issues. That was the largest reason I might have been willing to risk all the side effects and when he said that it made my decision easy. I won’t be getting a vaginoplasty so that means at the first opportunity I can have the scrotal sack removed. He comfirmed it is medically necessary if I want it, so its covered too.

This means I can move on from hovering over that decision and I feel good about it. Sadly I still get into fights with some trans-medicalists, but this means I can double down now that I am not waffling.

That means I got to walk out of my appointment yesterday with answers and options for all my issues. Two of them include surgery (both probably done this year if I can arrange it), one involves medicine and the fourth has already pretty much fixed itself.

I call that a good day.

Funny incident at the doctor

Pardon me as I try and get back in the habit of regular posting, haha.

Yesterday the hubby and I had to go pick up my ADHD medication. I have been out for months and it has been killing me both on a work and a personal social interaction level (thank you hubby for putting up with me).

We live in what used to be a very rough area, but the inevitable creep of gentrification (and yes we contributed to that sadly when we bought the place) has made it fairly safe and way more access to entertainment, stores, etc from where we were. However with it being still a bit rough on occasion I am generally more aware.

Well as we walked out of the doctor office/pharmacy, for whatever reason I notice a couple of guys on the sidewalk about 200 feet or so away. One was a slightly shorter and rounded older white man and the other was a very tall, very dark skinned black man in a hoodie. I am horrible at guessing age on some people, but he wasn’t nearly as old as the guy beside him. They obviously knew each other and were talking.

I was talking to the hubby so it took a moment to register they were both staring at me and it brought my attention to them quickly.

2023 Selfie of me from day before.

I have hit a stage in my transition that I am definitely not 100% passable (especially my voice), but I have huge tits, I dress fairly young (well I haven’t decided to dress down in my fifties is closer) plus I am very alternative and I do believe not that unattractive. So when I get stared at sometimes lately it is hard to tell if its because I am trans, because of looking like a woman with big tits and not as big body, or maybe both.

Either way I knew there was a bit of checking me out (when it’s full transphobic you can tell and it definitely doesn’t look like checking me out). I looked right over at them, pointed then waved and smiled.

The older white guy looked shocked. I am still to this day surprised at how cis men don’t realize that they are usually being super obvious staring at women, and he obviously didn’t expect me to notice. He hesitated, looked like he wanted to die but he waved back at me.

The black man however was fantastic. His smile lit up his face with extremely white teeth and a very joyful and laughing face. He waved at me much more assertively and I immediately knew they weren’t negging me at least, or trash talking me. I am pretty sure they were looking at my tits.

The black man then looked over, his smile getting even more wide and laughed at the white guy. The black guy waved again at me in a pretty friendly manner and I felt safe.

When I catch people staring at me, sometimes there is no concern I get, and sometimes I immediately feel threatened, but the overall majority of times I can’t tell if it is a safe situation or not for me, and that smile, wave and head nod from the black gentleman cemented it was a safe environment.

The hubby was amused he looked over and saw the two. I don’t know how much he caught of the whole interaction, but I realize the white guy might have been nervous about hubby. After all hubby is a fairly heavily tattooed rough looking man, who wears odd clothes for an accountant/auditor :).

While I realize that most women don’t find it affirming, that was one of the situations I find affirming that at least they identify me as feminine. I can’t help that a lot of people who identify me as feminine, identify me as alternative feminine (not my looks but not being cis), but it is the feminine part I want, and I can’t change I am trans so I accept it if its in a safe way they show it.

That totally made my day though, cheered me up and was definitely affirming, if a bit sexist.

Just thought I would share.

P.S. Also I have started growing tired of dick pics, those are not as affirming now 🙂

Colorblindness and Photography Project moving forward

I often have had people ask me how colorblind am I really, and what does the world look like to you. Evidently it is quite different than most people according to my husband that got to see through a filter of something that is closely aligned with my combination of colorblindness. Also it turns out my ADHD might impact it as well (I only focus on certain things I find interesting, so everything else stays in the grey background).

Basically I guess my world is sepia toned, with occasional bouts of color. I mean I don’t think it is necessarily 100% sepia, but pretty close. My friend Ben and I evidently have close enough colorblindness that we can see “colors” on dice that others say are the exact same color (when rolling two dice they say is the same color, Ben and I could pick out specific dice and they were different color to us).

I have always liked most of my photography in a black and white, and I am going to probably lean more into that. However there are some things I often notice. A person’s eye color, or who has striking hair color, piercings, tattoos, clothing that has something interesting, etc. So this year I am going to work a little more on my photography and produce black and white photos, but keep everything the color of what they are in real life that catches my eyes.

So today I started with my first photo, I really like how it came out and yes it is very “Sin City”. I loved the style of the movie (I haven’t seen the second one). Oh, and one funny note, I didn’t realize Sin City was in black and white with only some colors while I was watching it, until my friend Weylin pointed it out to me during the movie, that was funny.

So here it is, my first photo with me delving into the new style, which will encourage me to learn Affinity Photo even better, so its a win all the way around.

Actually the win is that my husband is hot as fuck and I get to take him home, but that is neither here nor there.