Posted on May 22nd 2009, 5:35 am
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!
Posted on May 11th 2009, 4:20 pm
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:
The second you can find at this link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/obrazu/3501812413/in/pool-photocampmilwaukee
Posted on May 11th 2009, 3:20 am
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...
Posted on May 10th 2009, 7:57 am
I'm moving! That's right...that time has come to move in with my best friend. Being unemployed, I can't afford to live in my apartment anymore. So I'm off to Chippewa Falls this week. It's going to be a difficult move too. It's hard to justify rental fees for trucks and whatnot when you have no income.
I was originally planning on updating this website design this past week. Turns out I realized I was running short on time for packing to move. So I set the website aside to pack everything up. I sit right now with 3/4 of my apartment ready to move. The one thing I don't know yet is if I'll rent a trailer or a full on truck. It's about 30 bucks a day to rent a trailer, and it's about 360 bucks to rent a truck one way. Unfortunately I don't think I could do the trailer thing and get everything up there in one shot. I'll probably need a few trips. I'll figure it out.
Scarlet vs the Bluetooth Headset
Scarlet, for those of you that don't know, is my 10 month old red tabby cat. She's a cutie, but don't let her looks fool you. She's a brat and a diva. It would also seem that she loves to bat around bluetooth headsets for cell phones. I should preface this whole thing with the fact that I've had bad histories with headsets. I've owned four of them. Normally I'm great with electronics, but these things are so small that they disappear on me.
Case in point: I recently lost my favorite LG headset upon switching cars for a car repair. I'm not sure when it fell out of my purse or car, but it did. So, I was headset-less. I decided to replace it. I went looking and found a Plantronics headset that I thought would be ok. I tried it for a few days and discovered I hated the things. It was uncomfortable in my ear, it was quiet, and the reception wasn't all that great. So I wanted to return it.
I set the headset on my dining room table with the intention of returning it the next day. I thought to myself that it may not be wise since Scarlet may find it and play with it. I walked away and forgot about my own concern before I could do anything about it. I went to bed and in the morning...Surprise...it was gone. Scarlet had played with it.
So I searched the apartment to no avail. I looked everywhere...under the couch, in the couch, under the radiators, all surrounding the table, all across the floor, under the bed, in the closets...everywhere...twice. I couldn't find it. I was pretty upset. After several hours of searching, I gave up.
Finally tonight...as my mother, father, and I were packing up, it appeared. My mom found it in a closet. It had been batted into the closet and around the corner edge. So, it was in a shadow and was surrounded by a small collection of toys that had also been lost. I was shocked. In fact, at this point, I had started to wonder if I was wrong and that I had lost it myself somehow. Maybe I hadn't deserved to ever have a headset. Nope...it was Scarlet afterall. Crazy kitten...she's curled up next to me right now looking as innocent as ever too.
In other news...I got into a car accident just over a week ago. I was on my way to Toys R Us to buy a gift for my older sister's baby shower. I got off the freeway during rush hour and none of the traffic would let the line of cars coming off the freeway merge. So we all slowed to a halt. The car in front of me went. I sat waiting to go watching traffic, inching forward.
Suddenly I hear a crunch and feel my head hit the head rest. A very loud "F&%king A!!!" involuntarily came out of my mouth. I looked into my rear view to see a girl about my age in the car behind me. She looked a bit freaked out. I pulled forward a bit and put on my flashers. We got out and she was incredibly apologetic.
I am proud of myself in that the first thing I asked was if she was ok. She was. I was too. Turns out our cars were fine. It was just a little bumper cars is all. I had no damage...her license plate was a little bent. That was it. She was asking about exchanging information. The first thought that popped into my head was a similar situation I caused about two years ago. The car was a lot nicer...a white convertible...and the owners were so nice to me. Since no one was hurt, and there was no damage, they let me go. So I thought I'd pass on that karma. I told her that since we were both fine, and our cars were fine...there's no reason to exchange info. She was incredibly relieved. I just said be careful and have a good night. I hope she does the same to someone else in the future.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention some new friends in my life. First and foremost is Leah. She's a really cool girl from the Southeast and has had a bit of a struggle lately, but I've really enjoyed chatting and getting to know her. She's really pretty, and she doesn't see it. She's a geek and loves music. In fact, she creates it almost nightly. It's really impressive how strong she is and how well she's dealing with the challenges that she's facing right now. She's a true role model for anyone. I hope someday soon she can see that too.
I've also been being a lot more social lately. I went to a couple unconferences, which I'll talk about later. I also met a few people thanks to my friend Tracy. Tracy is an awesome tech nerd, and she seems to know just about everyone. So she ends up being this node of communication that connects people. It's pretty awesome. I've met so many cool people through her recently. Plus, she's so driven when it comes to bringing people together around causes. She also has great parties in her basement.
I met her girlfriend, Jackie, who is such a geek. It's great. I've been able to talk Harry Potter with her, Star Wars, and various other nerditry. She makes for a really cool friend, AND she and Tracy are cute together. I hope they stay that way. Plus they're fun to hang out with together.
I got to meet someone called "the Dane" for the main reason that she's from Denmark. She was visiting Tracy. She was fun to hang out with. We went to the unconference together, and we hung out at the parties afterwards too. She is a very interesting girl, and while a little quiet, very smart.
As part of the conferences, there were several parties and events. I finally got out to the lesbian bars in Milwaukee. I visited the Pint, which is like local meat shack. As soon as you walk in, everone's heads turn and eye you up as fresh meat. Still, I liked the ambiance. They had the Brewer game on both nights I was there. I had a good time there both times I went.
I also went to Mona's, which is like...THE lesbian bar. It's a happenin place with loud music, a big dance floor, a large bar, and a lot of places to sit and talk...er...yell. It was fun to people watch there with Tracy and the Dane. While there I got to meet little Jess as we called her. She's shorter than me. She's a very energetic woman that has a very frantic personality and a wacky sense of humor. She was a lot of fun to shoot the shit with. I really had a good time at Mona's too.
It's truly unfortunate that I finally feel connected to the community here, and I'm leaving. I feel like I have friends that go out. That's exactly what I wanted the entire time I was in Milwaukee. Why now? Guess we can't have everything.
Speaking of not having everything, I'm really upset with my former employer. They are fighting my unemployment claim. It figures right? I mean, they screwed me over at work, took advantage of me, totally used me, drained me of all desire and energy, and then fired me for trying to take on extra work to make ends meet. Now they want to take away a lifeline. Pardon my language here, but Fuck you, Move inc. You're truly a bunch of blood sucking, rapists. You fired me for ethics, but you truly have none to begin with. You know nothing about how to treat people fairly and respectfully.
Tracy created the first ever Queer Camp, and I was proud to be a part of it. There's a concept out there surrounding this "Camp" idea. People come together around a concept. Sometimes it's about podcasting, aka podcamp, or around photography, aka photocamp. Another aspect is that it's really informal. The schedule is never set in stone. So it's frequently called an "unconference" because of that. Queer Camp was the first surrounding LGBT issues. Tracy started the website www.queercamp.org. She also planned the whole thing. She is amazing.
This was my first camp experience. I presented during the first day and it was a blast. I did two sessions. The first was called "Gender in a slightly larger nutshell than expected"...no scrotal puns were intended. The second was a less structured Q/A session called "Ask a transsexual anything". Both went great. I have a video recording of the first one, and I'll perhaps post some of the video when I get settled at the new house. I also got some great questions in the second session.
There were a lot of great sessions. Some were on gay christianity, legal issues in relationships, music, paganism, polyamory, and more. It was very enlightening. Above all it was great to connect with people and have a good time doing so. I look forward to the next queer camp. It seems poised to branch out across the country too. Watch for it in your area! Or plan one yourself. Tracy would be happy to set you up with the promo materials.
The following weekend was quite a few events. One of them was Photocamp. I didn't think I was going to get to go to this, but I made it for the last part. I had a few things earlier in the day that conflicted. Otherwise, I'd have been there earlier.
I got to see a neat homemade ring flash...which is a new concept to me. The result of what you get when you use a ring flash is pretty impressive. If I had another flash, I'd consider making one. It's pretty cool.
I also participated in the evening photo walk. A photo walk is just what it sounds like...people walk and take photos of what they see. I have a few photos that I want to post, but I don't have access to them at the moment. I'll post them in the coming few days.
After the photo walk was the closing session. After that, I had some great food and enjoyed great conversation. Out of that sparked the idea to pull my sword out of my equipment bag in my car. Picture after picture was taken of me with the sword. I'm still hoping to see some of the cool shots. Unfortunately I've seen none of them, aside from the iPhone photo Tapps took. I'm hoping I'll get to be a part of many more camps in the future. They're a lot of fun.
Bucketworks is a great place in Milwaukee that both of the camps were held at. It's a non-profit, very versatile space that can really be used for anything. The concept isn't unlike an idea I had a couple months back involving a shared studio space that was offered for free to use or for a small fee. Turns out they had the idea first.
Anyway, if I was staying in Milwaukee, I'd be strongly considering becoming a member. The people that run the place are fantastic. Plus, they're nerds. They have a lounge called "Ten Forward"...the office is called the "Ready Room". Star Trek references are always a win in my book. You can check them out at www.bucketworks.org.
Showers are too much for me. I may be a girly girl most of the time, but baby showers...wedding showers...no thanks. There's a level of girly that I won't touch with a 20 foot pole. I guess the fact that baby clothes and babies were never all that thrilling to me probably has something to do with it. Plus, the cutesieness of the games and party favors are so hyper feminized that it actually bothers me somewhat.
Maybe it bothers me also because it's just such a heterosexual experience...for now. Gay couples haven't been able to get married until recently. Or maybe it's just that I know I'll never have a shower. I don't date and don't want kids. I'd sure like the blenders, artwork, and house supplies that are given out as gifts though.
Anyway, as usual, I was on photographer duty. It's good that I have that, because otherwise I'd be bored. Though it's nice to catch up with family...still the focus is supposed to be on the showeree...not the showerers. Plus there were so many people in a small space. It was hard to hear and hard to focus with all the noise. I'm glad the shower is over and done.
I visited the new house about a week ago. It looks nice. It's not very big on the outside, but on the inside, it seems a lot bigger. It has a galley kitchen with a larger dining area. The three bedrooms are comfortably sized. I won't have any problems in that space. The living room is a bit cramped with all the stuff Chris put in there. I think that'll change over time though. The basement is nicely finished with plenty of room. I love the wood burning fireplace. My office is actually back in the corner. It's going to be a nice refuge to get work done. I will call it the "Nerderarium". :) There will be few to no distractions. I'm looking forward to it.
One of the things that really stood out in my mind though...the response from friends in the area. I have a reputation in that part of the state, but it's still surprising to have people shake your hand with two hands and say "It's so good to have you back, Jessica." It feels good to be wanted. It makes me feel like no matter what, I'll have success there. Here's hoping.
Anyway...this is unbelievably long for a post. I apologize. I need more fiber...maybe then I'll be more regular. Maybe it doesn't work that way for blogging...who knows. Still...this one was over 2500 words. Looks like writing a book will be easy enough. Haha. Sweet dreams and Happy Mothers day!
Posted on May 7th 2009, 5:45 am
Keep a close watch on this site. I've already finished the new layout. I'll be rolling it out as fast as I can over the next few days. Stay tuned...