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Sunday was a lazy lazy day, and I enjoyed it.  I didn't get out of my pajamas until 7:00 in the evening.  Chris and I spent the day playing Boom Blox: Bash Party, which was recently released.  I can sadly admit, I played it for a good five hours.  It's a puzzle game that you can easily lose track of time playing.

Chris is sick.  He was starting to feel it yesterday, and it seemed to hit hard today.  So, he was napping a lot.  I did most of the party cleanup because of that.  I'm totally ok with that.  He said he felt guilty for not helping, but I know that if it was me that was sick, he would have cleaned things up too.  So he shouldn't feel bad.  There were a ton of dishes.  I miss my dishwasher.

When I finally put down boom blox, we popped in Frost / Nixon.  I listened to the first portion of it while I did the dishes.  Once they were done, I sat down and took in the end.  What an incredible film.  Frank Langella deserved the Oscar nomination he got for the film.  I haven't seen Milk yet.  So I can't exactly compare performances, but this was definitely impressive.

Our refrigerator has been smelling something fierce.  It reeks badly of wet dog...or should I say...it did.  I've seemingly fixed it without trying.  Apparently the fridge had a water line attached prior to being used in our house.  It has an automatic ice maker in the freezer.  I switched it on to see what would happen, and it would appear the stagnant water that was left in the line got pumped through.  Now the smell is gone.  Chris and I are thrilled!  It was getting unbearable.

Tonight, Chris and I sat in the living room after our day of relaxation and just talked.  It felt different and wonderful that we were both in the living room of our house...something we've never had before.  It feels like this is the way things are supposed to be.  Yet its still surreal.  I live in a house with my best friend.  We have a yard.  We have a garage.  We have a garden.  This is strange! Haha.  I like it a lot.

The future is looking up.

It's almost 3:30 in the morning, and I just felt this lingering need to blog before passing out for the night...morning...whatever.  Saturday night we had people over.  Chris has had monthly "board game" nights for the past six months or so, and people have raved about how fun they are.  So, we were bound to have one here.  Honestly, I had a lot of fun.

We played two games.  The first is a long time favorite of mine called "Lunch Money".  The premise is that you are elementary age school girls beating each other up for their lunch money.  It's a lot of fun to play, though obviously violent.  We had a blast.  After that, we played Pit, which is a trading game much like the stock exchange.  It went on for a while, and people's voices started to go from all the yelling.  It was a ton of fun though.  Chris' friend, Greg, was the come behind winner in the end.

After the games, we felt like watching a movie.  So we watched "Hellboy 2: the Golden Army", and it was fantastic.  I have to say, it beats the first film of the two easily.  Guillermo Del Toro is a fantastic director and was able to meld action, story, and humor perfectly.  It was a good story with great characters.  It also had a very satisfying last shot.  I recommend it.

My only disappointment with tonight is that it felt more like Chris' party with Chris' friends.  A lot of my friends in town are older with families.  So, they're  not the type to come to a party like this.  Plus, I was the only girl.  It seemed a little heavy on the testosterone.  I hope that the balance changes soon and we get more diverse groups.

We spent today cleaning in preparation for our guests.  It was a good blitz because we got so much taken care of that needed it.  Chris vaccumed like crazy.  I cut the grass for the first time.  We also have had a major dandelion problem.  So I also spread some week killer / grass fertilizer.  I started turning over the garden.  We got the dishes done, bathrooms clean, and even hung my art.  I feel like we're totally settled in now.  That feels really great.

I have to say, I feel incredibly relieved now that I have money in a bank account again.  I know I need to find employment, because freelance just isn't going to cut it.  I'm looking forward to finding a place that I can help out, and that can truly help me too.  I really want to take my skills to the next level.

I also have to say...since I've moved in with Chris, I've not had one day where I've felt lonely.  I haven't had nights where I'm just sitting and staring at my computer screen wondering what to do with myself either.  We've consistently had something fun to do.  Granted I was still moving in during that time, but even so, it's been nice to have someone there.  So far so good on the move.

Anyway, tomorrow may be a relaxation day.  We might work on the garden.  We bought seeds for vegetables.  So hopefully we can get it into shape before its too late.  I better get to sleep so I'm not exhausted all of Sunday.  Good night all!

It's been a busy week and a half.  Finally things are settling down.  So...my last post was on the 11th at 10:20 in the morning.  At about noon, my friend Adam, my friend Jackie, and my father arrived at my apartment to load up all my stuff to move in with Chris in Chippewa.  We loaded things up until about 5 or 6...It might have even been later than that.  I think it was 6:00ish.  It took around 4 hours or so to drive there, and it was a little scary.  My dad almost had a major accident.  The uhaul trailer started swaying and my dad had to compensate, which resulted in swerving all over the interstate.  It was a windy day.  We took it slow after that.  We got up there around 10:00 and unloaded very quickly.  It probably took an hour to unload...maybe an hour and a half.

I spent the next few days unpacking and getting everything set.  I unpack quickly.  I don't like being stuck living out of boxes for long.  So I quickly got most of my stuff where it needed to be, my clothes up in the closet, and things organized.  It's nice to feel like you actually live somewhere.  The only annoyance is that I didn't have everything yet.  I was constantly doing the whole..."Where is the...oh it's in my old apartment...crap..."  thing.  That gets old quickly, but to be honest...I wasn't excited about the drive.  It's a long drive and gets old.

During that time I found myself watching a lot of Mythbusters on netflix.  We also got Charter cable set up with the same 10 mbps up / 1 mbps down speed as I had with Time Warner's Road Runner in Milwaukee.  I can easily say this right now.  Time Warner Cable's Road Runner beats Charter High Speed in performance, customer service, and quality hands down.  Road Runner is consistently faster, has a much more solid DNS, drops out very rarely, and has no ports blocked at all.  Charter is exactly the opposite.  I had to figure out how to get my personal ftp server up and running on an alternate data port because of it.  Tip of the hat to you, Time Warner Cable.

I also was dealing with the worry about paying my bills.  I hadn't heard anything from unemployment yet about whether I'd get benefits or not.  I also had not received anything from COBRA yet.  So I was having worry fits that were causing me to lose sleep.  I'll talk a little more on those issues later.

At the end of the week, it was time to head back to Milwaukee again to get the rest of my stuff, clean up the apartment, check out, and go to a birthday party.  I was looking forward to the latter much more than the former stuff.  The party was on Saturday.  It was a surprise 60th for my Aunt.  It went off without a hitch and was a lot of fun.  She really wasn't expecting it at all.  I took a lot of photos.

Sunday came around, and it was time to clean and pack things up.  We got to my apartment around noon and got started.  There wasn't a whole ton left, namely a bunch of boxes and a bit of loose stuff.  I suppose I did have my pots and pans in the kitchen and my bedroom closet too.  Still it went pretty smoothly packing the rest of it in the car.  Since we had all the big stuff already moved, it wasn't so bad.  However...

Have you ever had your mother tell you: "You live in my house, you live by my rules.  When you move out, you can live like you want."  Yeah, turns out that's not true.  My mother is anal retentive about cleanliness.  It runs in our family actually.  My grandmother had a house so clean it was practically sterile.  My mom's house wasn't quite that clean, but still pretty sparkly.  Personally, I tend to live with a more lived in feel.  I want things in their place, but I don't run around with a feather duster all the time.  Sometimes there are dishes in the sink.  Sometimes I leave my bed unmade.  That's my perogative...it's my apartment, right?  Nope.  My mother started yelling like crazy at me for not coming down earlier in the week, packing everything up nicely and neatly for things to be very easy for her.  She started calling me selfish and basically told me I needed to live differently.  I was really shocked.  It seemed like it randomly came out of nowhere.  She was fine, and then suddenly she was angry...and it surely seemed misplaced.  She had no idea how much work we put into moving a week ago, how much I had packed up before then, or how much effort I put into unpacking.  On top of that, it didn't make sense for me to come down earlier due to the party...I just didn't see where she was coming from.  I said a few things back that were, to be honest, rude.  I acknowledge that.  When I get frustrated, angry, and defensive, sometimes I say stupid things.  We all do it.  Anyway...regardless, it was drama none of us needed that day.

I talked to my dad about it later, and he informed me that he didn't understand why she was yelling at me either.  He felt that her argument was unfounded and said nothing because he didn't want to get into it.  I guess later she chastised him for not standing up for her.  As far as I know...she's still mad at me for it.  She was still mad as of Wednesday.  I just don't get it.  She knew I had to move.  She knew why I was moving.  It wasn't a choice.  I had to get out of my apartment and get someplace cheaper asap.  I've had a lot going on in my head too.  This past few months with the job and such has been really hard to manage emotionally without drama like this.  My mother may be right or wrong about my being selfish.  I'll leave that up to the rest of you to decide.  Still I think she was being the selfish one in being upset that I didn't drive back earlier, miss appointments here, leave the house a mess for Chris...just so I could make my old apartment clean up easier for her.  Ugh...I hope this blows over quickly.

Anyway, the apartment was cleaner when we finished than it was when I moved in.  My landlord came in to look and she was blown away.  If my apartment is rented for June, I will get my security deposit back.  She has been so understanding of everything, which I so very much appreciate.  I would be happy to rent from them again, and she said she'd rent to me any time.  That's good news.

The hard part was that we had two vehicles filled.  I was going to have to drive to Chippewa with my parents' van, unload, drive back to my hometown near Milwaukee, swap to get my car again, and then drive back...all in all it totalled about 10.5 hours in the car over three days.  I wasn't looking forward to it.  Surprisingly, it went by pretty quickly.  When you have a lot to do, time flies.  So, Monday came, and I drove up to Chippewa.  I unloaded...got as unpacked as I could by Tuesday evening.  Then I drove back to Milwaukee.  I stayed overnight.  Turns out at my favorite bakery, Kaiser's Six Point Bakery in West Allis, I had won the weekly business card drawing for a dozen free donuts.  I also had to pick up some tapes for some freelance work.  So I made the last trip with a lot of sugar on hand.

Here we are now...it's Thursday evening, or Friday morning depending on how you look at it, and I'm as unpacked as I'll ever be.  There are a bunch of empty boxes in the garage.  I feel like that's pretty good all things considered. There's a little bit of junk lying around I need to put in places, and I haven't yet hung artwork.  But otherwise, things are good.

The cat situation is interesting.  We've got four cats here now...my two and Chris' two.  They are doing just fine with a couple exceptions.  Scarlet, Kitty (aka Meat), and Vincent are getting along  just fine.  Serenity is Chris' female cat, and she's a bit of a priss.  She's not taking well to anybody.  So she's been hissing and growling all the time.  She just wants to be left alone.  Kitty / Meat is a problem sometimes too because he's a bit of a pervert cat.  He likes to lick girl kitties in the no-no spot.  Scarlet is kinda used to it.  I stop him whenever I see that, but Serenity, rightfully so, gets very upset.  So...we need to figure out how to stem that behavior.

On Monday, I went to what's called "Business After Hours".  It's the Chippewa Chamber of Commerce meeting essentially.  I went with Chris to get connected to the community of business owners for freelance and so forth.  I met some great people there.  Unfortunately I also saw someone I have no interest in ever seeing again.  Mike Olsen, owner of Micon cinemas and former manager at Carmike cinemas in Eau Claire....also the man that severely sexually harassed me back in about 2003.  I'm the reason he got fired from his job.  I saw the back of his head there, and knew it was him right away.  I never made eye contact.  If he ever makes an attempt to talk to me, he will get a very short response and me walking away.

On the positive side, I ran into a lot of wonderful people including someone from a local business that's hiring.  She asked me what I do and upon my response, she suggested I drop my resume with them.  Sounds like they are looking for someone with just my type of skills.  I will be sending it to them Friday.  That's awesome.  At first I wasn't sure I wanted a full time job, but the more I think about it, it's probably better for me to have one at this point in my career.  I'll get the non-profit going as a side project.

Thursday night, Chris and I went to help the local Lions Club out with feeding needy people at a local church.  It was a feel good experience helping people who need food get it.  I know I could be very close to that even right now.  I may qualify for food stamps at the moment.  So, it's a humbling experience.  I'm a giving person.  So I would have done it anyway, but still.

While there, one of the lions asked me what I do, and I explained that I'm funemployed.  I did tell him what I do freelance and what I want in a job.  He told me to come pick up an application at his printing company.  He could use a web designer.  I was pretty surprised.  Two job leads in a matter of days.  People have said that things happen for a reason.  This job change and move seem like they definitely were supposed to happen the way they are.  That's good and makes me feel a lot better.

Speaking of feeling a lot better, I finally got word from the unemployment office.  I am officially getting unemployment.  What a relief!  That means I can survive while things get figured out as to where I'm going next.  I can easily say I'll sleep better tonight knowing my bills will be covered.  I also finally received COBRA paperwork.  So I'll be fine with health insurance too.  Both are great news.  To top that all off, I saw a Bald Eagle flying over the Chippewa River today as we drove through town.  What a stunning sight!  I'll be sure to have my camera out a lot this summer to try to catch them in action.

In the meantime, I'll be working on getting the new site live over the course of the coming week.  Now that I've gotten settled in, I should have plenty of time to do so.  Keep watching for that change.  As usual, thanks for reading!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that commented and/or called yesterday to cheer me up after my rough afternoon.  It means a lot.  I have to say a special thank you to Leah for talking to me for two plus hours on the phone.  She really helped a lot.  I hope she's not terribly exhausted today.  I'm feeling much better now and just wanted to let everyone know that. Here's a pic or two from the photocamp pool to lighten the mood:

Compliments of jennaddenda at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennaddenda/

The second you can find at this link:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/obrazu/3501812413/in/pool-photocampmilwaukee

Today, I listened to this song and really heard the lyrics for the first time:

There was a time when women were kind

When their voices were soft

And their words inviting

There was a time when love was blind

And the world was a song

And the song was exciting

There was a time

Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by

When hope was high

And life worth living

I dreamed that love would never die

I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid

And dreams were made and used and wasted

There was no ransom to be paid

No song unsung, no wine untasted

But the tigers come at night

With their voices soft as thunder

As they tear your hope apart

And they turn your dream to shame

She slept a summer by my side

She filled my days with endless wonder

She took my childhood in her stride

But she was gone when autumn came

And still I dream she'll come to me

That we will live the years together

But there are dreams that cannot be

And there are storms we cannot weather

I had a dream my life would be

So different from this hell I'm living

So different now from what it seemed

Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.

I know...the original lyrics had male pronouns.  I changed them to fit my life.  Listening to this song today...I cried.  Holidays are hard, even the Hallmark ones.  I love my family, I truly truly do.  When you're always the odd one out, it's difficult...at least for me it is.  I looked around the dining room today and saw my older sister and her husband.  My older sister is pregnant.  Both of them work.  They own a house.  They're doing just fine...well in fact.  Then I look at my little sister.  She works a nicely paying job.  Actually she has two jobs, one of which is a weekend job overnights once in a while.  Her husband works too.  They live in a nice house with nice appliances and a nice yard.  They're getting by very well.  I'd even say comfortably.  Then there's me.  I'm unemployed, single, destitute, and am relying on friends to get me by right now.  It's so easy to think of myself as a failure.  That's how I felt today while my sisters were cooking this expensive meal and giving my mother a nice gift.  I sat there with my cheap card feeling worthless.

I remember feeling like I owned the world when I was in college.  I felt like I could do anything and nothing could stop me.  I felt like my dreams were just within reach.  I just had to graduate and everything would fall into place.  I felt like I could be anything and do anything.  In fact, people used to ask me how I was so successful.  I had friends stop me and ask that question, and I'd say that there were no walls in the future, only obstacles to get around.  Now...I feel like all there are are big walls with doors that keep slamming in my face.  I feel like dreams are just that...dreams.  The reality is that people wake up from those dreams and have to deal with the reality of life...which is cruel, unfair, and doesn't care.

I feel like I was such a fool to think that I could even make a glimmer of a difference in this world.  The world doesn't want people that make a difference.  It wants "Yes men".  It wants drones and cattle.  It wants people to just maintain the status quo.

I'm sick of people telling me I'm so lucky because I got to transition.  I'm not saying I'm not thrilled and grateful to have had the priviledge to do so.  I totally am...but people tell me that like "Awww...you lost your job...but you got to transition"...or..."Awww...you're girlfriend broke up with you...but at least you go to transition". I'm sorry but that doesn't change the fact that the rest of my life sucks.  All it says is if I died tomorrow, I'd be content that I died being who I am.  The fact that I transitioned doesn't change the fact that I'm unemployed, lonely, and feel very helpless right now.

I dreamed that I could be a success.  I dreamed that I'd find love.  I dreamed that I'd write and produce things that would make a difference.  Right now...I'd be lucky to make ends meet.  I had a dream my life would be....different from this hell I'm living. So different now from what it seemed.  Now life has killed...

the dream.