Blog

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.

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!

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.

Dream

Last night I had a dream.  That's not a huge surprise since I dream regularly and remember most of them.  This dream was special though.  If you possibly missed the title of this post, it was about a wedding...my wedding.

It didn't start that way though.  You know how dreams change shape as the dream progresses?  This definitely did that.  At first, I was just going to a wedding.  Then, apparently I was a bridesmaid in the wedding.  I ran into my old coworkers from my previous job.  Not sure why they were there, but they were.   Then all of a sudden...it became my wedding.  I was one of the two brides.  Get this...it was an arranged marriage too.  I had never met the other girl.  An arranged lesbian marriage...crazy huh?

My bride was a pretty girl.  She had kind of a sandy blonde or light brown hair.  It was shorter, like a pixie cut.  She was around 5'6".  I remember having good conversations with her and feeling like I really connected with her.  It wasn't like that at first, but over time, I really fell in love with her.  I very much remember that feeling of love in my dream because it was pretty strong.  A lot of strange things happened in the dream, like a train of some sort.  I remember a UFO...weird random dream stuff.  She was still constant though.  When the dream was over, I was a little sad.

I may have made a decision to not date again, but that dream really made me long for love like that.  I think perhaps some day...my princess will show up.  I'm not really in a location now that makes finding my true love easy, but that's ok.  Maybe she'll just appear at some point.  I'm ok with that.  Good things come to those who wait I guess.

Sick

Chris got sick last weekend.  It was a bit of a cold or flu.  Not sure.  For him it included nasty headaches, a fever, a sore throat, vomiting, and mucus.  I knew with him getting it, I'd likely get it too.  Sure enough, but Wednesday, I had a sore throat too.  It's been odd though.  I had a light sore throat.  It lasted about a day and a half.  It was never terrible.  I've not had a fever.  I've never actually felt sick.  My energy level has been normal all week.  I've had a little bit more coughing and sneezing, but it's not been that bad at all.  Today I dealt with a runny nose.  I've had no stuffiness problems, and I've never felt out of it.  So far, this is the best cold I've ever had.  I wish being sick was this light every time.  Still, I hope it goes away soon.

Avatar: the Last Airbender

I know...I know...I'm being a geek talking about an animated series.  Still, Chris and I are big fans.  We're watching the final season, aka book three: Fire, and it's just fantastic.  Today we did a six episode marathon, and it was excellent.  The writing of the show has never ceased being impressive.  There's never a moment where the characters break.  You don't get gratuitous moments just for the sake of having them.  Everything has a purpose and so far, ever twist and turn has been gripping and beautifully done.  The animation is stellar, and the comedic timing is just pristine.  This series is truly a masterpiece.  It's unfortunate we're five episodes from the end.  Like with any good series, it's sad to say goodbye to characters that you really love.  It's like saying goodbye to family.  This is a series I need to own.

Car Washing

Chris used a term "we" today in referring to his plan to wash his car.  He was very consistent in doing so.  I assumed he meant that he thought we should clean our cars together.  So we did, and let me tell you, we did a very thorough job.  It included vacuuming, interior surface cleaning, armor all, then an exterior wash,  dry,  window glass cleaning, and a waxing.  Chris' car is new.  So the wax brought out a beautiful shine.  My car is going on ten years old.  The paint job has dulled due to neglect...what can I say, I'm not much for spending time with my car other than driving.  So I bought some extra strength wax to restore luster to neglected surfaces.  It took a while, but after several coats and some elbow grease, the shine is starting to come back.  It's going to take a few more washes and deep scrubs to get it back to decent, but it's on its way.  It was a lot of work, and overall...we probably spent four hours working on it.  Oh...and we managed to burn out Chris' vacuum.  It was 10 dollars from the Hope Gospel mission...no big loss.  Neat cloud of smoke it produced though.

Website Updates

No surprise the website updates are coming along slower than expected.  I've got a bunch of transcendingproductions.com up, but I'm still working on the content.  Plus I have to figure out how I'm going to load the content into the main display portion of the site.  I'm not sure if I want to do it completely dynamically, or if I want to do static pages.  I'm leaning towards static pages that pull from ajax calls.  We'll see.  Hopefully by the end of the week I'll have both done.

Dart Board

On a minor note, Chris and I went to a garage sale across the street this week.  Unfortunately, they lied and the garage wasn't for sale.  However, there were some great deals on other stuff there.  Namely...we found an unused electronic dart board for five dollars.  I was excited! I always wanted a dart board.  Immediately I set about hanging it.  Just to test it, we hung it on a screw that was already in the wall.  I won both games.  Haha.  I'm sure there will be many rematches though.

Anyway, after that, I set about hanging it in a space that doesn't have a table in the way.  I followed the instructions to a tee.  They said regulation is to have the center of the bullseye at 5'8" off the ground.  The top screw was to be at 65 and three quarter inches with the bottom screw at 50 inches.  I measured and got it set up just right.  Oddly it seemed a bit low.  So I measured...sure enough, the bullseye was at 4'10".  It was way off.  I double checked my measurements and they were exact on to the instructions.  So I googled it, and the regulation measurement was right.  The instructions for hanging were ten inches off.  I was so upset!  I e-mailed them to fix the problem.  In the meantime, I had already set the anchors in the wall.  So, I had no choice but to drill new holes and just use the screws alone.  It's all set now at the regulation height.  What an annoyance those directions were though!

Sleepeh Kittehs

It's been a regular event since I moved in with Chris to have a kitten cuddle up under the covers with me when I go to sleep.  For the bulk of the duration of me writing this post, I had Scarlet curled up on my chest purring away.  She's since moved to just next to me by my right leg, and Meat, aka my black kitty, is curled up on the same side just off my hip.  Both are out like a light.  That's where I should be right now too.  I think I will too.  Sweet dreams everyone.  I hope you have dreams of love and happiness.

You know...Chippewa Falls can be a little creepy at night.  Last night I drove home from Chris and Lot's house (not the same Chris that is my roommate).  They live on Lake Wissota...yes yes...the lake that Jack mentions in Titanic (a little trivia...Lake Wissota is man made and wasn't built until 1917, five years after the Titanic sunk).  Anyway, this area is pretty rural, and I couldn't help but think of the film A Fire in the Sky on my drive home.  It was the first time I'd made that drive without Chris in the car (this time the Chris that is my roommate).  So yeah...a little creepy.

Anyway, Chris and I were invited to a cookout for Memorial day.  It was a lot of fun except for the fact that Chris had gotten pretty sick on Sunday, which I mentioned in my previous entry.  He seemed pretty decent most of Monday, but as the evening wore on, things went downhill for him.  He went home early.  I stayed and played Volleyball.  I also got to spend some quality time with Chris and Lot in their hot tub.  It was nice to get to know them more.  They're very nice people.

Today it was cold in the house.  Don't tell Chris, but I ran the furnace while he was out at work.  What can I say?  It was 55 outside and rainy.  He had all the windows open.  It was 65 and dropping inside.  I had to spend my day in my office taking care of a bunch of things, and I was going to freeze.  I needed the heat.

Finally I think I've taken care of everything I need to with the move.  We've got the art on the walls, boxes unpacked, etc.  The only thing I had left were the tedious things like changing addresses with everything, updating which accounts billing came out of, and so forth.  I spent a lot of time on the phone figuring out what bills I needed to pay left over from my old place.  I'm grateful that's all done now.  Plus, I finally got my new check card and checks.  So I have access to my money again.  Yay!

Tomorrow is web design day.  I plan on getting Transcending Productions' website updated with new content and some actual info about what I do.  Then I will update jessicajaniuk.com afterwards.  I hope I can do both of those in one day without burnout.  I think I can.  We'll see I guess.  Wish me luck!

Oh...Chris and I watched as much of Clerks as we could tonight.  I've never seen it before, and I really don't understand why it has such a following.  It's boring as hell.  The acting is not great.  The writing is terrible...people don't talk like that at all in reality.  There were a few moments that Chris and I laughed at.  I'm sorry if it bothers people, but neither of us liked the film.  We stopped it a third of the way in.  We gave it a fair shot, but if a movie isn't doing anything for you after a third of it...it's probably not going to get any better.

We followed that up with the first two episodes of season 3 of Avatar: the Last Airbender and that was fantastic.  That series has such charm to it.  Chris and I had to pause the second episode because we were both laughing too much.  Aang is going to a local fire nation school, and makes mention of a portrait he got of the fire lord.  He then randomly follows that up with "...and here's one I made out of noodles."  It's funny because it's so true...and we weren't expecting it at all.  Love it!  Such a great show.  I should own it at some point.

Anyway, I'm off to sleep.  Hopefully I don't have major tornado, nuclear, or other disaster related dreams tonight like I did last night.  Sweet dreams all!