Back to the Land of Dragons

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Greetings,

I made the big move on Friday and it was a pretty stressful 4 hour drive.  My trusty Camry and I arrived unscathed.  Moving is certainly stressful especially when it’s by oneself.

I did not eat that whole day until I arrived in the evening.  This pizza was heaven.

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My roommate had to go work a shift, and so a couple of college friends stopped by and gave me a hand hauling in some stuff.  I spent the weekend unpacking and I’m not quite finished yet.  I need to save up for a few odds and ends. I also need to make some bigger purchases whether through online craiglists/garage sales/thrifts to find a big bookcase and a dresser.

I went for a pleasant walk in Viking Ship Park which is nearby the apartment.  It was nice to see this old Stave church again.  This weekend coming up is the Midwest Viking Festival, and it just so happens that Friday is my day off! I’m definitely going to check it out—a big part of my heritage is Scandinavian, and it will be great to taste some fresh lefse.

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The reason why I call Moorhead “The Land of Dragons” is because it’s my college town, and Minnesota State University Moorhead’s mascot is a dragon.

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  I hope to be more involved in the community.   I met up with a film professor yesterday and I realized how much I have missed talking film and film-making projects.  I told him a couple film ideas I’ve been sitting on and he invited me to join a potential creative screenwriters group.  I also decided to be on the jury panel for the Fargo-Moorhead LGBTQ Film Festival for this September.  I need to hurry up and get internet in the apartment so I can start screening and judging film submissions!

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Today was my first day on the job! It was a lot to take in, but I think I’ll get the hang of it.  Since it is a full time position I am eligible for a health insurance package. However, they are switching insurances, and so my ability to switch won’t happen until around September.   The waiting game….sigh.  I’m hopeful that it will cover a big chunk of top surgery, because a MN judge overturned a state ban on transgender health coverage.

A few loose ends I need to tie up is to find a good gym and a good counselor.  I think on Friday I’ll get a gym membership set up, and ask around for recommendations for any counselors in the area that are good but also take my current insurance.

That’s all for now, I’ll try to write again soon!

 

 

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Everything turn, turn

Hello,

A few updates.  I did get a call back from that job and I got the full-time position.  It will be so great to finally work full-time with benefits and have enough money to sock away.

I start this coming Monday, and so I’ll be moving on Friday.  I got a truck with a car tow and will be doing the moving process alone.

I don’t want to disclose too much, but I will just say that things are really, really intensely rough right now. This move has me tied up in knots more so than feeling excited. Good vibes are most appreciated during this time.

I put in my two weeks notice a little bit ago. I rearranged some counseling appointments and got those loose ends tied up yesterday and today. I also cancelled my gym membership.  Leaving work has been kind of hard.  The clients said that they really like me and are going to miss me.

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Me in the office at my last week-end of this job.

A  co-worker of mine when she heard the news said that it really bummed her out because she had taken a liking to me.  She’s around mid-to-late 60s, and whenever I would come in to relieve her shift we always had nice conversations.  She said, “It’s too bad, I’ve really taken a liking to you. It’s rare to come across someone with such a great work ethic.” It felt really good to hear that. And then she gave me her number. I feel a sense of kindred spirits with her, and we will keep in touch.  My supervisor told me that if I ever wanted to apply to the branch in Fargo that he would write a really great letter of recommendation. I’m really happy I left the job with great ties, and that it could be something I could fall back on if this new job doesn’t work out.  I work tomorrow morning and then my last day is on Thursday.

This weekend I experimented with making Dr. Pepper bbq chicken.  I cooked it low and slow, with some hickory smoking chips.  It turned out amazing.  The clients really loved it.  The clients said that my cooking was something they always looked forward to when it was my rotation to work.  I’m happy that my passion for cooking has been a source of comfort, empowerment, and something to look forward to for them. Little things like that can make a huge difference.

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Here is the June Strawberry moon.  I took it with my phone, so it’s really not the greatest photo.  It was beautiful to watch rise on Friday.

Nothing is permanent. Everything is in a constant state of change and growth.  Sometimes, growth hurts so much it’s unbearable. But this too is only temporary.  I trust that things are going to go how they’re supposed to go, and I have the strength and resilience to get through it, as well as a strong support system in place. Frodo didn’t carry the Ring to Mt. Doom alone.

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Things are really rough right now because this is a huge change.  I don’t know if I made the right decision with this move or not, but I can’t undo it, I have to go through it now because of the decisions I have made.  I really hope it all will turn out okay.

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

 

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Interviews, Camping, and Swordfights, oh my!

Hello everyone,

I must say that this is the first time in a long time that I’ve felt a sense of enjoyment of the summer.  This is the first summer passing as a man.  I feel more myself every week and it’s fantastic.

I went to Moorhead, MN for the job interview and it went very well. I’m expecting a call back sometime this week.  My current job is going okay, but it’s undergoing budget cuts this month. Initially, my plan was to put in my two weeks notice after I hear back from Churches United, but because of the budget cuts I may actually just leave sooner.  (Everyone’s hours have been cut at my current job. Yikes).  My move date is still up in the air.

After Memorial day I went camping at Cross Ranch State Park! I had a great time! It was exactly what I needed. I had been struggling with appetite and after my walk it came roaring back. I made chili and campfire sweet potatoes.

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Beautiful twilight

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Later in the evening I made some tea and Jiffypop. While sipping my tea and munching on popcorn I watched lightning bugs dance and heard the coyotes sing while junebugs lazily buzzed along.
I was feeling very happy and sleepy when suddenly I heard a twig snap…
I turned around with my headlamp on and stared straight into two glowing eyes that stared back at me.

 

Turning my other flashlight on I saw the silhouette of what appeared to be a raccoon. I shine both flashlights, thinking the bright light would startle him, but he fearlessly kept walking towards me. I know Jiffypop really makes it a party…but I wasn’t anticipating these kind of guests. I walked away from camp quickly and turned around to capture a picture of those eyes.

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I’m really amazed that I managed to capture this moment.

I went to my car for a little bit and when I returned he brought a friend with him. Two trickster raccoons indulged on my popcorn! After about 45 minutes they moved on. I wasn’t even done eating yet to put anything away. These guys just invited themselves right in! I was nervous because of how fearless they were of people, and I was worried if they were rabid. I also didn’t feel comfortable confronting them which could not always go as planned. I figured they’d leave eventually. Looking back I suspect that previous campers must have fed them, making them think that all humans are safe to go near.
At 3am, those rascals returned!  I did not have anything outside my tent or car, and they finally meandered off…probably to find more snacks.  Next time I’ll be better prepared. I read that if you sprinkle around your camp some cayenne pepper that helps deter them, among some other humane methods.

Although I had a rough night of sleep,  I had a really splendid morning with campfire coffee and the sunrise.  I can’t wait to camp again!

 


 

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Today I enjoyed an event called WHAM, which is Western Historical Arts Martial (They spelled it that way to create a better acronym).  I’m very happy that I went to an event where I knew no one. I felt anxious but went anyway.  I was still really quiet and spent the majority of the time observing. I sparred a little bit with some of the foam swords.  There’s a HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) practice group in town that will be meeting next Sunday.  There’s also some SCA, and Dagohir groups in Fargo-Moorhead and I think I may check them out when I’m moved in down there.  It could be a fun hobby, something new.  The clash of cold steel is a very satisfying sound.

It feels so good to just put myself out there and enjoy life.

Until next time,
Ravn Thor

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New moons, whimsical walks, & serendipity

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Hello,

6 days ago marks 1 year and 7 months on testosterone. I think next month will be 1 year on injections.

Acne continues to clear up.  I did have a few break-outs last week because I caved and started eating dairy again.  Now I know for certain that dairy triggers my acne. So much for cottage cheese.

Last weekend I had two over-night shifts in a row.  I am definitely never doing that again. It has taken me a week to recover from that.  I used to be able to pull all nighters no problem but this time around it pushed me into a mild depression.  I wasn’t so much ruminating on depressive thoughts but more so experiencing the physical symptoms. I had no appetite, stomach issues, and I had severe insomnia. All around I just felt out of balance and as if my chi was blocked.

My fitness goals are continuing to be reached. It’s a burst of dopamine each week that I lift heavier than the week before. My weight has fluctuated, but I think that’s because of the over-night shifts.  This should even out soon.

On my days off I spent time reading, and going for walks.  I went on a very interesting walk a couple days ago that really broke me out of my funk.

There’s something mysterious about this particular campground.  There’s a strong vibe of energy emanating from the area.

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On this outing I stumbled upon some strangeness.

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This was all near a hidden secret structure.  I sense that the whole area is a place were people come to mediate or do whatever ‘magic’ work they want to do.

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In the trees someone tied black doggie bags on some branches to signal a hidden path.

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I call this the hidden pagan church. It’s a structure that’s hiding in plain sight, but those that are very aware of their surroundings can find it.

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Here’s the front

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A pentagram drawing, indicating to me that it’s a ritual or spell casting space for the wiccans or pagans around here.

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An old saw used to cut new branches

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The inside looking outward

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Notebook paper used perhaps for kindling  and maybe sigil burning

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The coals were buried and still warm.

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This place was used recently. I assume because of the New Moon.

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After leaving I spotted something out of the ordinary again

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Someone put a jar of tiger balm and a pillow that says, ‘A Home with a little dust and lots of laughter will win the Heart of God everytime.’  I wonder who put this here and why?

 

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I thought this crescent moon shape in the stump was beautiful

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The next day I decided to come back and explore some more and was met by this deer. This was located behind the mystery structure.

Being out in nature was exactly what I needed to shake me out of that funk. I felt balanced again. A little serendipity to break up the monotony of life can be good medicine.

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I asked a pagan friend  of mine about the structure and he said that he knew about it being there but has no idea who built it or who else uses it.  It’s a nice place to go to relax or meditate. I definitely plan to go more, and investigate the story behind it.

After that mini adventure my appetite came back and I’m able to sleep again.

A couple nights ago I had a small cook out in the driveway which was very peaceful but it gives me the itch to go camping soon.

At work last night I got to use the grill. I made baby-back ribs out of pork loin.

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Good news! I got a call back from the place I applied to last month–the place that said they would keep me on file.  I have a job interview on Tuesday for that full time position. I really hope to get it.  I haven’t told my current job anything yet because I want to be sure I have a job lined up before I put in any notice.   This move is coming so fast that it’s a little overwhelming.  It will be nice to make more money and be able to actually save up.  After I’m all settled in after the  move I plan on going on a much needed solitary camping excursion. I feel a strong calling to hike and camp this summer and I may just have to heed that call of the wild!

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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Mane and body hair

In this post I’m going to talk about hair.

“Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming, streaming, flaxen, waxen
Give me down to there, hair, shoulder length or longer
Here baby, there, momma, everywhere, daddy, daddy

Hair, flow it, show it
Long as God can grow, my hair!”

Hair
The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
1968

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To me, long hair is incredibly masculine.  I jokingly say that my hair is “the source of my powers” like in the story of Sampson.  I think the last time I ever had a super-short haircut was probably when I was in 4th grade.

I’ve always identified with men who have long hair.  

I can’t quite articulate the meaning of long hair to me, because it’s much deeper than aesthetic.

The thought of cutting my hair has crossed my mind many times, but even the thought of it makes me cringe.  There is a lot of significance in the meaning of hair length in many cultures, and significance in cutting it.  To some, the act of cutting hair is an act of letting go of a time in ones life, an act of moving forward and healing. In another way, cutting the hair is a way to express grief.  In history, forcibly cutting the hair of a warrior was an act of humiliation and oppression.

Keeping my hair long is a way for me to feel closer to my indigenous heritage.  Being a mixed-race adoptee with no access to birth records that have the paternal father on it makes it exceptionally difficult to enroll in my tribe, but that doesn’t invalidate the truth in my blood.

I’ve gone in and gotten a trim about once or twice each year.  Every time I go, the hair stylist always compliments at how healthy my hair is.  I suppose the reason behind this is that I don’t dye or bleach my hair, and I eat a diet that is high in Omega 3s and vitamins and minerals that are good for skin and hair.  When people make comments about how young I look or how healthy my hair is, I tend to say that it’s because I eat a lot of avocados. Which is only partially true.

I shampoo my hair now once or twice a week at most. I also brush my hair twice a day with a boar bristle brush. This stimulates and exfoliates the scalp encouraging growth and also keeps the hair clean and protected by distributing the hairs natural oils.
After a shower, I use pure argan oil as a leave-in conditioner. This protects my hair from heat when using blowdryer or flat iron.
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When I do shampoo, I use a bar shampoo that does not come in a plastic bottle(plastic bottles tend to be made with BPA).  I avoid any shampoo and conditioners that have sulfates, parabens, and phthalates in them.  These chemicals are known endocrine disrupters that have a feminizing effect on men and in both men and women these toxins can cause hormonal imbalances and premature hair loss. Hormones also play a key part in mood, and since I deal with the daily struggle of Bipolar disorder I am hyper vigilant on anything that can throw me off balance.

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Once a week I deep-condition with a homemade serum that’s made out of coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, tea tree, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. I leave it in my hair for a couple hours before I wash my hair.
My hair is actually naturally wavy/curly but I feel more comfortable with it straight. I would make a pun that this is because ‘nothing about me is straight.’ Some day though I may just let my  hair run wild and untamed.

January 2018 I turn 30 years old. I’m considering getting my hair cut that day and donating it to locks of love.  It could be a symbolic way for myself of releasing and letting go of my turbulent 20somethings and embracing my 30s renewed.  I may change my mind, but it’s a thought.


Facial hair is coming in more! Looking forward to this getting thicker.

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Another area where hair has really started to grow…

0518171459_HDRYeah this is really starting to crawl up to my chest now.  I didn’t think I’d be a hairy guy. Who knew?

Until next time,

Ravn Thor

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5/15/2017

Hello,

I may as well just come out and say it. I am Lucifer, the fallen angel and dark lord of the Illuminati.

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Yep. This synchronicity proves it.

Anyway, I thought that was pretty funny getting this rung up today while I was out and about. I don’t see it as a bad omen at all, I see it as perhaps a stroke of good luck. 😉

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Duke 

I’ve been enjoying the hot weather we’ve been getting lately.  I decided to wear my kilt more.  I found that I quite enjoy wearing a kilt. Yeah, I’m a nerd. However, walking Duke down at the park made passers-by, especially women, smile at me.  Well, maybe it was at Duke. But still.  Man in a kilt with a pupper makes for a nice outing!

I’m very close to reaching my 10lb cutting goal!  I’ve lost 7lbs of fat. I’m really happy with the results and progress. I’m lifting heavier than I ever thought before, which is a great indicator that I’ve only been losing fat and no muscle during this cut.

Acne is continuing to heal!

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I’m also getting a bit visible facial hair. It’s staring to get thicker. I’m so excited to see where it will be next month.

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I’ve been going in and out of depression lately. I suppose the upcoming move has been getting to me.  I applied for that job my friend suggested, but that fell through. They said they’d keep me on file for 30 days though.  My next idea is to write a letter of request to transfer. I really hope that works out. If not, there’s always a landscaping job I could fall back on, but that would be a 5$/hr pay cut, and that’s not really livable. I could manage but not very well.

I’ve also been feeling really restless.  I would like to go on a roadtrip by end of summer, camp along the way. I’m not sure where I’d go, maybe explore the Southwest.

Sometimes when I’m in the midst of a mixed episode  or really depressed/stressed, a good cry can release that built up cortisol and alleviate the pain.  The thing is, I’m having difficulty crying., which is pretty common among some transmen.  I still feel feelings, I still get moved by things, but I just can’t cry. Hopefully, this is temporary. I’m not ashamed of tears.  Not having the ability to cry has some serious repercussions, not being able to release that stress and anxiety makes me feel like a bunch of knotted up tornadoes. I really need that release.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Take it easy.

-Ravn Thor

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May 4th, 2017

Hello,

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Things are going well. I’ve been taking the week off of weight training and that has helped regulate my sleep cycle back to normal.  The cut phase is showing some results. In 2 weeks I have lost 4 pounds of fat and the muscles underneath are beginning to reveal themselves. On my week off of work and weight training I’ve been enjoying my leisure time through reading, cooking, meditation, and stretching.  Transition-wise I’ve gotten much hairier and my stubble is starting to come in much more visibly.

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It’s amazing how much my acne has cleared up. All of the active acne is gone!  What you see is the hyperpigmentation left behind that will start to lighten up as my skin continues to heal.  I’m almost certain I won’t have any scarring, and if I do it will be so minimal that it will hardly be noticeable.  The lymph node on the right side of my neck is no longer swollen, indicating that the infection has ceased.  This validates my theory that it was swollen because of the acne.
I urge anyone who has an outbreak of acne to see a dermatologist as soon as possible. It’s a skin infection, and no matter how much you don’t touch your face or mess with it, you can still get scars. Since it’s an infection it will leave you potentially susceptible to catching something else(cold, flu), because your immune system is busy fighting it off.  I’m so grateful things are turning out ok.


My cured egg yolks are a delectable success!

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I took them out of the curing mixture

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Rinsed them off

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Wrapped them in cheese cloth and hung it up in my fridge for a few days.

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And the result was an herby, smokey, crumbly goodness!

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Put it on top of this really good salad I made for lunch today.  Cured egg yolks also taste amazing in a twice-baked potato.

While we’re on the subject of food…

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Today is the day I received my first chef’s knife!

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This is the Shun Classic 8 inch knife.

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After doing research I just had a strong vibe about this specific blade.

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I made some pretty awesome sushi with it tonight.

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I know I found the right knife  for me because the minute I held it in my hand it felt like an old friend.  It’s such a great feeling.


 

One of my future roommates told me that where he works is hiring. I will be updating my resume and sending it in. Full-time hours $14-15/hr at a homeless/transition home.  It’s very similar to what I’m currently doing now, but it will be in Moorhead, MN.  Hope it works out.

That’s all the news I have for now! May write again soon.

-Ravn Thor

 

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