Posted on June 26th 2009, 6:11 am
I've had a crazy busy week. As I mentioned in the last post, my sister had her baby. So, the end of last week culminated in me heading back to Milwaukee to visit my nephew. Saturday I headed down, and Sunday I headed back up. Upon returning, I had a major freelance project to do.
The project was a tough one. It wasn't really the nature of the project that was tough, but more the time frame it had to be done in. I had all the materials I needed, but I had to digitize, edit, and render everything within an evening. The following day, I was woken up by a phone call with fixes that had to be done right away. So, for two days, I was working pretty solidly on one project. The time crunch made it feel like I was writing a paper for a class the day it was due. Plus, never fails...when you're under pressure, that's when weird errors start happening that have never happened before. I got Final Cut Pro's "general error", "out of memory" error, and had to enter the product serial number something like 3 times. At one point, the firewire port just stopped working too. I got it all done on time though. Nothing like an adventure to keep life interesting!
On a completely unrelated note, we're having a kitty problem in the house. Specifically, we're having a kitty pee problem. Chris wouldn't want me to blame Serenity, but let's face it, it's Serenity. She's had a history of peeing in places other than the cat box, and she's the only one with that history in the house. Anyway, she has been peeing on the concrete floor underneath the basement stairs. Originally there were some small piles of sawdust down there, and she peed on one of them. It took us a while before we realized that the smell was coming from there. We just thought that the cat boxes were rank. Nope! Cat boxes changed...still a nasty smell. Chris discovered it and did a very good job of cleaning it up. He has an enzyme spray that neutralizes the scent.
Unfortunately though, Serenity seems to want to pee in that area. It's happened twice more since then. We're trying some new techniques. For example, today I sprayed the cat and kitten repellent around the area. We'll see if that works. If you have other suggestions, fire away in the comments.
I had a job interview this week. It went well, and I'm very excited about it. I have a second interview this coming week. I don't want to jinx anything. So I'll leave it at that. Wish me luck.
I've been looking in to starting a new hobby. Most of my hobbies surround technology, and I've decided that I want to learn something that doesn't deal with tech at all. I figure it'd be nice to do something by hand. Working with metal is intriguing to me. So I've started doing research into metal working and blacksmithing. I know...hard to picture a girl like me doing something like that, but I think it'd be fun. Plus, it's a great way to create interesting items, like jewelry, artwork, and so on. Maybe eventually I could make complex items, like armor or a replica of some historical object. Today Chris and I went to a local hardware store and looked at prices on tools for it. It'll be a little expensive at the beginning, but not terrible. Hammers, torches, safety equipment, and of course, metal. I'm going to do a lot of reading on it first, so I don't make an ass of myself. Well, I suppose that could still happen even with the reading...;)
There's no segway into this, but I've been having a problem for a week and a half now. My left ear is slightly plugged. My car has no air conditioning anymore. So I have had to drive with the windows down any time I drive. I woke up the morning after I drove back to Chippewa from Milwaukee, and my left ear was totally plugged up. I'm really thinking the pressure difference from the window and the four hour freeway drive did something to it.
Since then, I've tried a number of remedies. I've swabbed (a lot), tried an ear wax removal kit, candled my ear, tried sudafed at the recommendation of the pharmacist, tried a prescription nasal spray for wax removal, and now I'm trying Mucinex at the recommendation of another pharmacist. I've definitely cleared out the wax build up that was there now, but the blockage remains. I'm pretty sure it's behind the ear drum. So, I'm still stuck with a left ear that sounds like I'm hearing in a tunnel. It's really getting annoying. I'm hoping all this effort starts to have an effect soon. The one thing I'm going to try yet is flushing with hot water and peroxide. Here's hoping!
Early on Thursday morning I had to meet up with the client I was doing the stressful video for just to give them the final. That meant getting up before 7 am and driving into town. I sat through a heavy rainstorm with lightning striking all around where I was. When I got back home, I went back to sleep since I hadn't gotten much good sleep the few days prior. It was a good move.
During that extra few hours of sleep, I had some of the best dreams I have had in a long time. That's right, I was Wonder Woman. It was a very long and involved dream with me starting in jail...why, I don't know. Still, I managed to escape somehow. I saved the life of the President, and suddenly I was forgiven for whatever I had been in jail for. People were applauding me like crazy. I remember I looked damn good in the costume too. I know why I took notice of that. On Wednesday, I tried on my speedo swim suit. I hadn't worn it in ages, and I just wanted to see how well it fit me. Turns out it fits me very well. I looked damn good in it. So that translated to me looking damn good in the Wonder Woman costume.
Anyway, I could fly of course, and I remember getting a lot of press attention in the dream. There was also a point in which Superman appeared. We fought a battle against some evil robot together. It was a very fulfilling dream. I hope I have more like it, and soon.
Lastly, I just want to leave with a mention of Michael Jackson. I was a huge fan of Michael Jackson back in my early grade school days. I had the "Bad" album, as well as "Thriller". I was all about the music videos and I even had the Moonwalker movie on VHS. Looking back on it, it was a ridiculous film, but I loved it then. I know MJ ran into problems and was obviously not your average individual. Still, I will always remember the music I grew up with that I loved so much. Thanks Michael for the memories. Rest in Peace.
Posted on June 18th 2009, 5:47 am
The news of the day is that my family is one member larger today. At 2:00 am on Wednesday morning, Elden Vincent was born into the world. Everything went very smoothly. Both my sister and the baby are doing well. Congratulations Melissa!!
Figures! I drive all the way back up to Chippewa yesterday. If I had just stayed one more day...I would have been able to be there to share the joy with the rest of the family. My sister is so inconsiderate in her labor planning! Haha! In all seriousness though, I'll be heading back down this weekend to congratulate her in person and share in the joy.
That joy is unfortunately partnered with some other news I got this week. Monday, while I was logging footage at my parents house, I overheard her phone conversation with my sister. I am going to be intentionally vague because I don't know if my mother wants this getting out. Let's just say, I heard some bad news about my mom and her doctor visit. It has me very concerned. I'll leave it at that.
Now...on to the interesting news of late. I was the official videographer for Milwaukee's Pridefest. It's the largest gay music festival in the world. It's also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world. It's the largest in the United States for certain. There were over 30,000 people there over the course of 3 days.
This opportunity literally dropped in my lap. I knew two people that happen to be on the Pridefest board. Both of them dropped my name when someone suggested videography. So I was the only person ever considered for the job. Unfortunately it wasn't a paying gig. It was all volunteer. That being said, they covered everything else. The camera rental, the food, parking, tickets, and really anything else I'd need were all paid for.
I have to say, it was a blast. I made a ton of new friends. I shot 8 hours of footage while I was there. I got some of the best footage I've ever shot in my life too. Not only did I get awesome footage, I got it of big stars, like Cyndi Lauper, Brandy, and Etta James. This volunteer opportunity really raised my video profile. Because of the type of footage I shot and access I had, I can now charge people more for the work I do for them.
One of the things that was kind of disappointing about the weekend...I was only asked for my number once. I also have not been called by the girl that I gave it to. I must just look too straight. Curse the queer expectations. If that was the only disappointment though, I'm ok with that. On the other side of things, I was told that everyone was blown away by my skill and talent with a camera. I guess they are very excited to utilize my talents. It will be a big boon to Pridefest.
Some people refer to Pridefest as "Ex-Fest" since everyone sees former lovers or partners there. I only ran into one...my ex Tracy. I said hi, stopped, and had a nice, though brief, conversation. I got to meet her current girlfriend, who is very pretty, and a few of her other friends. It was nice to see her. At the time I was setting up for the Cyndi Lauper performance. So I didn't have a lot of time. I didn't see Jenn there, which I'm actually a bit grateful for. I'm not sure how that would have made me feel. Might have taken away from the weekend.
I had a fantastic experience running into someone I hadn't seen in a long time. Brendan, the manager of the Wal-Mart that I used to work at, was a volunteer for the children's area. He was just as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He gave me a big hug, and we caught up on what's going on. I told him thank you and shared with him that I tell my story a lot and talk about that one manager that was great to me. It was so good to see him again.
One of the other things that happened this weekend that was unexpected...my parents came to Pridefest! They'd never been to a pride event before, and this was the perfect opportunity for them. I was able to get them in free, give them free food, and walk around with them for a couple hours. My mom said to me that she and my dad had a great time. In fact, my parents both commented on how it was better than Summerfest. Summerfest is so jam packed with people, and you can barely breathe. I think they may come back in the future.
Pridefest was exhausting. I rarely got enough sleep. I was constantly working, and I was on my feet almost the entire time. I wouldn't have passed it up for anything though. It was amazing. So many great people brought together. I finally had that feeling that I was needed, was making a difference, and was appreciated. That shouldn't be, but is, so rare.
This weekend was just what I needed. My drive to be my own boss and do this freelance / business thing is totally restored. I have my meeting with the small business resource center Thursday, and I think I'll come out of it feeling much more confident about my direction. I love shooting video. I want to continue it as a primary focus.
So, tomorrow before this meeting, I will be revising my business plan significantly. I know what I need now, which is good. I can easily reduce my equipment list to just a few things. I think I can easily tailor this plan to be very targeted, and very plausible.
I've almost kicked the exhaustion. Last night was the first good night sleep I got since last week. I don't feel like I'm dragging my feet anymore. I feel like I have a spring in my step. In fact, I'd say I'm in much better spirits than I was a week ago. So that's great.
Even with all that, I did finally find out when my unemployment hearing is (July 8th) and also found out that one of the jobs I applied for is not hiring. So to sum up...some great things...some not great things...it's been a bittersweet week. I'm feeling the energy of the world swinging my way though. I think things are on the up side for now. :) Here's hoping it stays that way.
Oh...and Chris bought the Ghostbuster's video game today. It's way fun. I recommend it.
Posted on June 11th 2009, 9:33 pm
I'm sitting currently in a coffee shop in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin taking some time to sit, think, and contemplate where things are going next in my life. With the unemployment up in the air, and really an uncertainty as to what I'm going to do in the coming months, I've found myself at a crossroads. There's a lot of possibilities and I really have to address those head on.
First I want to address the title of this post. I've had major up days and major down days lately. Since getting the hearing notice, it's been more down days, and more extreme lows for me than up days. Yesterday was probably the worst of the down days. I think the lack of sleep combined with the stress I've been feeling lately has just exacerbated the whole situation.
It's a little scary to be honest. I can easily say that I've not felt this depressed since prior to transition. I could feel the weight of depression on my body. I felt numb the whole day aside from when I first got on the road to drive to Milwaukee. That's when my unhappiness burst out of me. I was crying so hard...like I haven't cried in a long while. I found myself speaking the words "This isn't my life" and "why is this happening" almost as if it was unvoluntary.
I think the thing that scared me the most was that I was thinking about things that were not pleasant. I wasn't thinking about actually committing suicide, but I pondered if things would get that bad that I would think about it. Even that scared me. I don't want to be even be pondering even the possibility.
The good news in all of this is that I know how to cope with these feelings. For all of you that are concerned about me, please know that I WILL push through this. I appreciate all of the support you all have given so far. I have to give a special shout out to Adam and Chris. Both of them are always there to listen. They are true heroes in my book. Thanks guys!
It's time to switch to positive topics. I had a video shoot yesterday that, despite my mood, went swimmingly. I was worried the quality would be sacrificed because of my mindset, but thankfully, the shoot kept me distracted. I had a good time. I love shooting. I also had an edit to finish, and I was able to do that as well. I got kudos from the producer involved as being able to really turn the lemon video that was shot by someone else into lemonade. She really liked it.
I ran into an old friend on Tuesday. I was on my alma mater campus at UW Eau Claire, and while I was walking around...Dale Larson appeared. I will admit that in the past, Dale has been the butt of jokes. On top of that, even in my blog in the past, I've voiced some mean opinions about him. I have to say...all of those things have been mean and immature. Dale, I truly apologize.
Anyway, running into Dale was a wonderful experience. We chatted about life post college and our frustrations in the corporate world. We have a lot in common with our working experiences. He's had experiences that have totally put him off to the corporate world. Plus, he's very passionate about LGBT issues and really wants to do work that deals directly with the LGBT community. Neither of us really knows how to make that a career.
Dale is back in school since he had no luck with a Bachelors. When I told him about my desires and my interest in possibly returning to school myself, he actually made a really interesting suggestion. He suggested I consider UW Stout as a school since they are trying to be more of a polytechnical school that's a four year college. They're very near to Chippewa where I live, and they have a lot of cool programs. When he said that, I was like...wow...that's true. I really should consider that.
I took a look at their program list and found one that's all about computer game programming and design. It'd be another four years in school with more debt and what not, but it would open doors that were closed before. All things considered, it could actually be very beneficial for me. I could commute and possibly find a part time job that's decent instead of a full time job. Or I could work on my own business. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that idea.
Speaking of the business, I have set up an appointment with the University's small business development center to discuss the business prospects I may have. I figure there are plenty of opportunities to turn my talents into a career that makes money. I just don't know how. This is a free service, and it'll be great to actually get some professional help with this whole business thing since I have so little experience with it myself.
I think one of the things that triggered me going to that office is the unemployment class I had to go to Tuesday morning. I got singled out by the state as someone that might need the class. So as a requirement, I had to go. Really though, it was a waste of time. The only information I got out of it that I didn't already know was a list of job websites in the area. Unfortunately I had to go to the class or lose my unemployment benefits...which of course I still may lose. At least the whole thing got me to set up an appointment though.
Speaking of unemployment (I seem to have the segways down today), I've had little confidence lately on whether I'd win the hearing or not. Yesterday I was certain I'd lose. Today, after talking to my father and showing him the hearing documents, he feels I have a pretty good chance of winning. So today my spirits are up.
Chris thinks that having all this time before the hearing is a good thing. It allows me to fully think through what I might do afterwards in either result. I know the worst case, and I know the best case. I think that by the time the hearing happens, I'll know what I'm going to do regardless of the outcome. I think by then, I'll be resolved and confident.
In the worst case scenario, I'll have to file bankruptcy. A part of me craves the relief that would bring. I'd likely lose my cell phone and most of my electronic trinkets, but I think there's a bit of a comfort in a clean slate. Sure, it's on my credit report for 10 years, but I won't owe anyone anything. I can go into my future with a healthier financial approach. Of course, in the best case, I can live until I get my next job safely and will be able to get by just fine too. In the end, it will work out just fine. Things always do.
Tonight, I have been invited to dinner with my good friend Mike and his girlfriend. It'll be good to see him again and to talk about life and so forth. There are quite a few people I miss in Milwaukee, and he is one of them. I'll get to see a few of those people this weekend at Pridefest. I've already got the camera and am excited to get going. I think I'm going to buy some shoes tonight so my feet don't hurt like hell by Monday. I'll be taking some photos and will do my best to post a few of them next week.
Well, I've finished my dark chocolate Mocha, and now I'm just loitering in this coffee shop. I better sign off for now. Catch ya'll soon.
Posted on June 7th 2009, 6:40 am
Sometimes I feel just like that old song "Born under a Bad Sign" by Albert King. It certainly seems like if it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all. Suffice to say, I got some bad news recently. It came in the form of a notice that my former employer has appealed the decision made by the unemployment office.
So, life went from possible upward outlook and a little bit of hope to me freaking out. I did a little bit of research and made a few calls to find out that there is a possibility that in the situation that the ruling is overturned and that my elligibility is revoked, I may have to repay the money I've received from unemployment which leaves me destitute. I will be completely broke and have no life line at all.
After I heard about that, I suddenly was uncertain as what to do. Do I live my life as usual, paying bills, buying food, and so forth? Or do I stop spending money in the case that I have to repay it all? I came to the conclusion today that I really have no choice. I have to pay my bills and buy food. I won't be spending frivolously, but I have to cover expenses. I will deal with the money issue if the hearing results in a worst case scenario.
So, what has all of this done to me? Oh boy, well...I'm not doing so well. I was getting better from this cold, but I think I've gone a little bit backwards since getting the notice. My sleep is not so great. I've been having terrible dreams. My complexion has taken a turn. I'm breaking out. I'm preoccupied with thoughts about what could possibly happen mixed with anger towards my former employer. Just for once it'd be nice to have them treat me with the slightest bit of decency and respect as a human being. Really I just want to move on and forget about them. Unfortunately for the next three to four weeks, I have to be stressed and worried.
The interesting thing is that the packet of information that I received from the hearing office has totally the wrong information about my termination. It says I failed a background check and was let go last October. Someone at my former employer has some wrong records. Maybe with that, the case will get resolved quickly. The way things have gone so far though...I'm not so hopeful. Wouldn't it be nice if things just swung my way for once though? Keep me in your thoughts and prayers if you would. I would very much appreciate it.
As a result of all of this, I've been a lot more active in pursuing full time employment. I've gotten my resume out there to a few places and am hopeful that I'll hear back.
Another thing that this has been a catalyst for has been to help me understand the level of depression I'm going through right now. I never really paid much attention to my depression throughout my life, but it has really always been there. I've realized that I'm chronically depressed. It's just been at certain points that I've been able to cope with that depression better than others. College was probably the height of that ability to cope. I'd say that came with the euphoria and excitement of transition.
My friend Leah and I were talking the other day about transition and depression. I frequently get from many people, trans identified or otherwise, that I've "already gone through the most difficult part of my life by transitioning and must be insanely happy now." Unfortunately this is a huge misunderstanding of what transition is and does for a person.
Transition is great, but transitioning does not immediately bring happiness along with it. There is a certain euphoria, as I mentioned, that comes along with the excitement of the journey. Once you've gotten through most of that journey, the euphoria wears off. It's just not so exciting anymore. Life becomes just as monotonous as it was. The difference is that the turmoil that was experienced before transition from inside is no longer there. To put it simply...simply existing inside my own skin didn't royally suck anymore. That doesn't mean that I was eternally happy then. As Leah put it: Transitioning doesn't make someone happy. It enables a person to be happy.
That means simply this. Life without transition will suck no matter what. Life with transition has the potential to not suck. The difference...you don't hate yourself anymore. If your external life, like your job, your family life, your financial life, your love life, your social life, or any combination thereof sucks...life still has a very big potential to stink. Right now for me...outside of being happy with myself, life is pretty much down the tubes. So, until things turn around...no...I'm not insanely happy. I'm actually pretty seriously depressed.
I've been thinking about how to classify this in my book. I think I've entered the third chapter of my story. Chapter 1 was the journey up to transition. Chapter 2 was transition, college, and a short time thereafter. Chapter 3 is what I've started calling "the Reckoning", like when you're playing the game of life and have to stop at the day of reckoning. That's where I am. Everything from stability, money, love, and even my emotional state, has been taken from me.
I've had the classic signs of depression. I'm keeping late hours. I don't like getting up in the morning because I'd much prefer dream land. When I am awake, I want to avoid facing the real issues. I have no motivation to take on projects. I feel kind of numb. I just want to escape all the time into a world where none of the mundane life issues exist. It's been hard. I wish I could afford a therapist, because I think I could really use one.
With that in mind, the website updates are going slowly. I have been taking them a day at a time. I have content on Transcending Productions site now, and today I fixed some of the layout issues. Yesterday I got the ajax calls to work like I wanted. Tomorrow I'm going to adapt the calls to see if I can add cross fade effects. I want to have a "what we do" page up too. I spend an hour here and an hour there on it. Slowly it'll get finished. That's how I have to take things right now though.
Speaking of web stuff, I went to the Chippewa Valley Ruby on Rails group on Thursday. No surprise that I was the only girl there. My former colleague, Brian, was showing me the ropes with a few technologies including Ruby on Rails, Cucumber, haml, Staticmatic, and some others. I have to say, seeing what he can do makes me feel very humbled. He's incredibly gifted with programming. I mean...he writes books on these things that get published and so forth. So I hope I can learn a fraction of what he knows.
Today Chris and I finished the Avatar animated series. It was a fantastic finale to an incredible series. I loved every minute of that show...if you couldn't tell from the frequent comments on it. I will spare the rambling statements of praise other than to say...awesome. I will miss the characters. It's like saying goodbye to close friends. Thank you Nickelodeon for a great show!
Last night, Chris made a huge effort to get me out of my depressed funk by taking me out. We met up with Chris(tine), our dentist friend, Jessie, Lot, and Josh to eat at TGI Fridays. We had fantastic food and even got free desserts! Afterwards we went bowling. It was what they call "Thunder Bowling", which most people would identify as midnight bowling. They do that whole special colored pin thing where if it's the head pin and you bowl a strike, you get to spin a prize wheel.
The first game was ok. I bowled a 145. The second game was much more exciting. Chris bowled a 52 for the first game...one of his worst ever. His second game was incredible. He started off with two strikes and a spare. I started off with a split that I...get this...coverted! I've never done that before! Chris and I were in decent competition until I pulled away towards the end. I ended up with a 163. Chris was in the 150s. It was one of his best!
The best part happened when Thunder Bowling was just about over. When the five minute mark hit, we were told that any strike would allow us a spin at the wheel. Immediately Chris bowled a strike and went to spin the wheel. He was disappointed when he landed on the Joker instead of the ones that had actual dollar amounts. Then he was shocked to find out that it means he won the jackpot $100 prize! I followed that up with another strike and unfortunately I only won $2, but it was $2 more than I had. I'm not complaining. At the end of the night, Chris and I actually made money going out to eat and bowling than if we had stayed home. How awesome is that?
Anyway, it's past 1:30 in the morning, and I'm starting to feel the sleep set in. Thank you all for sticking with these long posts. I know I get long winded, and frequently. I really appreciate your readership. Sweet dreams everyone!
Posted on June 3rd 2009, 4:26 am
Today was terrible. Last night, I took a half of a dose of nyquil to help get some sleep. It worked and I slept like a rock. When I got up, I was groggy and also was really stuffed up. So I took a 12 hour decongestant. From that, I ended up having that weird low energy but awake feeling all day. I felt like my body wanted to sleep, but my brain was wide awake. I hate medicine head. Because of that, I didn't really get anything accomplished today save touching up some photos.
Chris and I went to the store to get some DVD-Rs and a few other things. We went to get some cat food, and he was looking at the usual Purina Cat Chow that he always gets. I was looking at the Iams and the Purina One stuff. I've been buying Iams for a while. I looked at the ingredients list of all the foods and went with the Purina One stuff. It was 20 bucks for a 16 pound bag instead of 11 dollars for the cat chow. Chris was not pleased.
We ended up having a discussion about the food and how I felt it was important to buy better food since it's about healthy happy cats. For Chris, it's always been about pinching the penny, which I understand. I justify it this way...I've easily spent 20 bucks on one meal for myself. Eating well...6 or 7 human meals might fit into 20 bucks. Most people would fit four meals into 20 bucks or less. 20 bucks feeds our cats for 3 to 4 weeks. I think that's ok to spend that much. Plus...the extra ten bucks a month isn't a budget breaker. That's my side of the story.
So, I decided to do some research. I found this great website on ten reasons not to buy cheap cat food. Later on, I shared the article with Chris, and we had more of a discussion. Chris was really upset to hear that ash is a common filler in cat food. That really bothered both of us. So I started looking for cost effective cat foods. I found a couple websites that have good information.
After reading those, I felt like an ass. Turns out the food I've been buying isn't much better than the cheaper food that Chris has been buying. In fact, the cheapest good food out there is Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul...which runs at $25 for a 15 pound bag. That's over Chris and my price limit by 5 bucks. You'd be hard pressed to find any middle of the road cat food at a reasonable price. Most of the foods rated even above a 0 overall were in the 30 to 40 dollar range for a 15 pound bag. It's really shocking to see that.
So, we're going to talk to a vet or two to find a solution to this problem. I think now that Chris is aware of it, he's concerned about it too. I think we'll come up with a compromise...we always do.
It's past 11:00 and I'm feeling tired. I'm not usually tired this early. So I think I'll take advantage of it and get to sleep. Otherwise I'm going to have to go find some food. I've been eating all day! I've never been this hungry when I've been sick. Weird! Sweet dreams all.