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It's been an interesting time since I've written anything of consequence in my blog. It sure seems like life keeps throwing things at me, and I have to either catch or dodge them without getting smacked in the face. I've been doing a little of the catching and a little dodging. But let me tell you...whomever is throwing these things has really good aim, because they keep smacking me in the face.

Here's a quick update of what's been going on with me over the past year. I obviously met Jessica, the most wonderful person in my life. When she's with me, everything is right with the world. I feel whole. When she's away, which is most of the time, it's very difficult. I had the pleasure of spending a month last summer with her, a few days in the fall, Thanksgiving, and from Christmas all the way through almost the end of January. Unfortunately, I won't really get to see her much until summer.

Right now she has a visiting professor position at St. Lawrence University, which is located in far upstate New York. It's not an easy place to get to, and from where I live, it's about 23 hours of driving. Even flying isn't so convenient because of where the airports are. So that's why we don't see each other often. Her position there ends at the end of this Spring semester. After that, she'll be moving. We have no idea where she'll be next. Our only hope is that she'll be closer.

I got to meet her family over Christmas, and they're all wonderful. I spent a week in Arkansas where I felt like I was a little kid again. Her family treated me to a Christmas like I haven't seen in probably 10 years. I got more gifts from them than I was ready for. I'm sure it's the first visit of many to come. I couldn't help but think of Jessica's sister, Jodi and her family when the Superbowl was going on. Strangely...they're big Packers fans. It was like a little piece of home while I was down there.

The trip down there was a lot of fun, but it wasn't without its stresses. Right before heading down to visit, my kitty, Meat, had an emergency. He had a urinary blockage that ended up requiring an extended stay at the vet. He went in two days before my flight left and had to stay until after I was in Arkansas. I had to arrange for a person to pick him up and to look after him. My friend, Allison, was so wonderful. I still need to do something for her since she helped me out so much. Unfortunately, while he was recovering at home, it appeared he was blocked again. I ended up having to call and arrange for another emergency vet visit. Can you believe my landlord came and took him to the vet? She's such a nice lady! Anyway, the good news is that he wasn't blocked...just using the litter a lot more. It was not an easy...or cheap...experience for all parties involved.

Prior to that vet visit, Meat had other problems. Right after I moved (I'll get to that), Meat got an eye infection. I got that treated. Then he got a bladder infection. Got that treated too. While he was in the vet, he caught an upper respiratory infection. So he was in bad shape. Since September, Meat has cost me about $600 in trips to the vet. It really blew my budget, but he's doing fine now. He's been on his special diet for almost two full months now, and no problems at all. I think he'll finally be ok.

Speaking of blowing budgets...I had quite the situation with my flight to Arkansas. A few weeks prior to my flight, I had asked Chris if he would drive me to the airport on the day my flight left. He happily agreed. We had talked about my flight a week prior and a couple of days prior as well. When the Thursday before Christmas arrived, I was ready to go. I called Chris periodically throughout the morning and was confused why his phone went straight to voicemail. It came to about noon, and I started to panic. I needed to leave by 1:00 to get to the airport on time. I decided to drive out to Chris' place to find him. When I got there, his house was dark. By this time I was hyperventilating and freaking out. I decided to call his parents to see if they knew where he was. They live in Sheboygan, WI, which is on the opposite side of the state from me. When I called, Chris answered the phone. I lost it, screamed at him and hung up.

I will admit that this wasn't one of my best moments. I have never in my life been that mad at someone. I was so emotional, I wasn't really thinking rational. If I had, I would have realized all the options I had before me. Some really great friends live two doors down from Chris. They would have hopped in the car right then to help me get to the airport. I also have an uncle that works for the airlines in Minneapolis that would have had options too. Instead, I thought to myself that if I didn't leave right then, I wouldn't make it. So I drove myself the hour and a half to the Minneapolis Airport. MSP has no long term parking. It's 18 dollars a day to park if you use your credit card, and about twice that if you don't. I had no choice. I got there on time and I made my flight. Unfortunately, I had no room in my budget for $126 dollars in parking. I ended up getting hit with overdraft fees that pushed the final tally into the $200 plus range. It was not good.

I eventually forgave Chris. We're on speaking terms again, but it took me over a month before I was able to really talk to him. He never offered to pay my parking fees. He hasn't even apologized without making excuses. I don't really care anymore though. As much as I would appreciate the apology, I know he feels bad about what happens. We all make mistakes. I certainly have made my share.

Earlier I mentioned that I moved. I did that in September. A lot of things happened that lead up to that decision. I think the biggest one was what happened with Josh. For the sake of Josh's privacy, I'll just say that what happened involved the police. After that incident, things really changed in the house. It was uncomfortable, and it was by no means as much fun as it once was. My friendship with Chris was on the rocks a bit as well. Something had changed within me.

I was on this self improvement kick for a while. Think it was a great thing for me to acknowledge my faults. I know that I'm not perfect, and I'll never be. When it comes to my relationship with Chris, I always told myself that any issue that came up was my fault. I accepted the blame willingly because I truly thought it was my fault. I felt that since I was trying to improve myself, I needed to accept that maybe I was just not being patient enough or that I was just being too picky. Things changed when my girlfriend was visiting for a number of weeks. She said to me that while I told her I was overly critical of others, she had never seen me be that way. She had seen nothing more than patience, and added that I really put up with a lot. I was a little taken aback. So I talked to a few others about it and they agreed with my girlfriend. I really couldn't believe it.

It was as if my eyes were reopened. I suddenly realized what I had been doing, and that's when I knew I was going to have to get my own place. From that day forward, I found my patience waning, and it got harder to be at the house. Once I found an affordable place, I packed up and now I'm living in a comfortable two bedroom duplex. Aside from the pain of the electric bill (electric baseboard heat), I really like it here. One of the really nice benefits, until recently, was that I'm significantly closer to work. My commute is under ten minutes now. I like it.

Speaking of work, things have changed there. Namely, I got promoted. My former boss moved on to a new job. I interviewed and got the lead developer position. I now am responsible for the development team and a number of other things. It's a lot more than I expected it to be. I really enjoy the challenge, but it takes a lot out of me when it comes to energy after work. Sometimes I end up having to stay late to keep up.

Because of that, I haven't been going to fencing as much. Fencing is still a lot of fun, but that's changed as well too. There are some people that go to fencing that make me rather uncomfortable. There's a growing contingent of people that are really "Christian". I put them in quotes because they don't embody Christ in any way. They look at me with judgemental eyes, they don't really talk to me, and they over all just make fencing kind of a drag. One of the people has a bit of an ego problem too. Not to mention...he scares me. He seems so reserved, but then on the fencing field, he can be so overly aggressive that it's not safe. I've seen him tackle people, hit people with his hilt, and literally throw himself at them. Not to mention, he doesn't call his shots, which is really dishonorable. A lot of people don't like fighting him because of it. He's painted his mask with a cross on it. It makes him look like some sort of templar knight in the crusades. I want to tell him that the crusades were nothing to be proud of and that the Knights Templar weren't good role models, but I doubt he'd listen or want to hear it. Anyway, I'm not sure how much I'll be going to fencing because of it. I may have my own sub group of people that meet to fence instead. I'd rather learn with a group of people that make it fun and keep it safe. Otherwise, why go?

The other outside of work thing that has truly suffered is the community center. I haven't been able to do much of anything for the center since November. I just don't have the energy. Not to mention the center has never really been a positive stressor for me. I put a lot of my energy into the center last spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, I feel like nothing came out of all that energy in the end. I would love it if the Chippewa Valley had an active and vibrant community center, but I can't give it to them anymore. I'm spent.

Due to all that energy being gone, I haven't really been able to do much of anything when it comes to personal projects. For a time, I felt like when I was home from work, I needed to work hard at relaxing because if I didn't relax well enough, I'd get burnt out faster. That attitude just added more stress. Eventually I just succumbed to escapism. I've watched a lot of TV and played a lot of video games just to not have to worry about everything else.

It seemed like every month was something new. Something happened that ended up costing me a couple hundred dollars or more. That forced me to not be able to save anything and had me freaking out about making it to the end of the month in the black. Let me tell you, I've gotten very frugal in the past year because of that. I'm finally in a spot where I have some money left over. Right now I'm in a place where I feel relaxed about money. While I know it's only temporary...it sure is a nice breath of fresh air.

One thing I didn't mention...last fall my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The good news is that they found it very early. She was able to just get a lumpectomy, which was successful. The treatment and recovery was rather short. She's fine, all healed, and back to normal. I'm amazed at how smoothly things went after she was diagnosed. It just goes to show the benefits of regular mammograms.

Well, that's quite the catch up. There were a few other things that happened last year. I saw the Blue Angels and took some cool photos, took my girlfriend to Six Flags, broke a tooth, got new glasses...I could keep going, but I think I'll save those for another time. Hopefully now that I've caught up, you'll see me post more.

Until then...happy weekend!

Last year's resolutions were as follows:

  1. Blog more than twice a month on my personal blog.  My posts have gotten way too long and I need to break them up.
  2. Save more.  I don’t put much money into savings, and when I do, I need to make sure I don’t touch it.  That is a big goal for this year
  3. Pay off all non-federal and non-debt consolidation debt.  That includes furniture and my non-government loan.  Less monthly bills = a happy Jess
  4. Take a vacation somewhere that’s not a staycation.  I haven’t gone anywhere on a trip for years.  I need to get away.
  5. Get into better shape.  I sit all day at work and sit when I get home.  I need to take up a sport or something that’ll get me into shape regularly.
  6. Go on more dates – let’s face it…I’m not very active in the love arena.  I never have been.  It’s time I do something about that.
  7. Dedicate time weekly to doing research / writing for genderverse.org. I want to give back to my community more.  I’ve been lazy, and it’s time I get back to the real reason I’m on this planet.
  8. Learn how to do something with my hair. I suck at doing hair.  I can dry my  hair, brush it, put it up, and that’s it.  I want to learn more than that.
  9. Continue working on  my faults. I know this one isn’t exactly measurable, but it’s definitely a good thing for me.  I’ve come a long way in the last year, and I want to continue with that personal growth.
  10. Explore my own spirituality. I haven’t touched my spiritual side in a long time.  I feel a longing to be connected again, and I really should spend time with it.  This is another not as measurable one, but I think it’s also an important one.

Just like last year, let's go through them one by one and see how we did.

Number 1 was a total failure.  I wrote a grand total of 7 posts last year.  Not incredibly impressive, huh?  I managed to get more busy than your mom in an ugly sweater store this past year.  My personal and professional life really took over, and my free time was absorbed with sleep, food, and the occasional TV show.  Hopefully this year will be less stressful.

Number 2 was another fail.  I literally ended the year with a negative balance and no savings account.  On the plus side, I have gotten incredibly frugal and really don't spend money on things unless I absolutely have to.  Things just keep coming up and soaking up all my extra money.

With number 3, I can report some success.  My furniture is completely paid off and was back towards the beginning of last year.  The non-federal debt will probably be a while, but it's not a huge amount.  So, it's not as much of a stressor.

Finally, a success! In fact number 4 just happened.  I took a vacation over Christmas and traveled down to Arkansas to spend it with my girlfriend and her family.  It was a wonderful time (aside from driving to the airport).

Number 5 is a success.  I started regularly going to fencing again.  In fact, fencing got so popular that it moved to twice a week.  So for 2 to 3 hours, twice a week, I got a full body workout.  I really enjoyed it and hope to continue.

I have easily made number 6 a success too.  In fact, my lovely girlfriend is sitting next to me on the couch as a write this.  Not only have I gone on more dates this year, but I've gone on quite long dates.  My first date with Jess was over a week long.  Right now, we're on a 4 week long date.  I hope they get to the point of being so long that the date just never ends. (Jess justs read that and said "Awwwwwwww").  We're so cute that people are overwhelmed and feel like they might vomit from the cuteness.  "NO!!! It's too much cute!!! Hghgmghghg!!"

I think we can easily say number 7 was a huge fail. I'll just leave it at that.

Number 8 wasn't much of a success.  I am just too lazy. I'd like to do more with my hair, but why don't I focus on the talents I already have...like avoiding blogging.

Now we come to one that's interesting.  I've come a long way with working on my faults.  In fact, I actually came to realize this year that I've been pretty hard on myself.  After talking with some close friends and family, I got a bit of perspective that made me feel a lot better about who I am.  I can easily say I'm more aware of who I am and how I act around others.  I know that I will treat people with respect.  I'm not as critical of others as I may have thought I was.  So I guess I can call number 9 a success.

Lastly, number 10 was not really something I put a lot of time into.  I don't think it matters to me all that much anymore.  I'm ok with that.  I think if I feel the need for a more spiritual side in the future, I will follow that push then.  For right now, I'll go with the flow.

2011 New Years Resolutions

This year I think I'll aim for measurable and reachable goals.

  1. Write more than 7 blog posts. Since I managed a whole 7 last year, I should be able to at least hit 8 this year.
  2. Spend more time on personal projects. I've been interested in everything from new web projects to metal working.  I haven't spent a lick of time on any of it.  Time to stop talking and start doing.
  3. Reduce my stress level.  I take on too much.  I need to learn to say no to things.  I need to cut back on stuff that I volunteer to do and enjoy my personal time more.  Right now I'm so stressed that I am starting to stress that I don't relax well enough.  That's bad.
  4. Create a viable secondary income. I'm a talented girl.  I have a ton of ideas, and one of them should at least be able to make me some money on the side.  Time to make it happen.
  5. Open and have some money in a savings account by year end. I don't care if it's 5 dollars, I want money in a savings account.
  6. Buy some new clothes. I know I just wrote about saving money, but I could really use a wardrobe refresh.
  7. Have less unexpected and expensive emergencies. I know this is out of my control, but I truly hope that there are no more urinary obstructions with my cat, glasses breaking unexpectedly, and so on.
  8. Do something with my photography. I take a lot of photos and they go nowhere.  I have a spacious Picasa account, and its time I use it.
  9. Create a short film. I've been meaning to do some creative video work for a long time, and it's high time I actually follow through.
  10. Be Happy. I am happy now.  So, this one should be easy.  I just think it's important to stay happy.

We'll see how things go this year!  Stay tuned in about 8 posts for the follow up. ;)

Happy 2011 everyone!

The sound of time flying past...that's the title of this post.  Holy crap...it's just about October.  Where the hell did the time go?  It feels like it was Spring, I bent over to tie my shoe, and when I got back up, it was Fall already.  When did I tell time it was ok to go faster?  If I were a Superhero...and I am...my nemesis would be Hourglass, the time bandit.  He steals time...and you'll never get it back.

I'm sure I've mentioned this at some point, but I'm a major procrastinator (*salute*).  Any time I have something important to do at home, it just so happens that the little stuff gets done.  For example, let's say...I've been meaning to write a blog post for...I dunno...five months...oh look at that, I have dishes that need to be done.  I'm going to quick do those, and then get to my blog.  Oh look, the cat box should be cleaned. I better do that.  Oh look, laundry.  Oh look, Netflix. Oh look, shiny!  Hey...look at that, it's almost midnight.  Bedtime!...yeah...

So let's see...a lot happened over the summer.  Instead of me writing 2000 words on that, I'll sum up quickly here.  Girlfriend = awesome.  Still going strong.  We never get to see each in person, but thank god for webcams. I love her and miss her like crazy.  Job = teh awesomes.  Living situation - big change.  Moved out of the house at the beginning of September.  Now live in Eau Claire proper, and I'm loving it.  Chris = still best friend.  Other roommate situation....bad.  Chris, Jessica, and I had to go to the police regarding an incident with other roommate.  That situation is ongoing, but we're hoping for a good resolution.  Cat's are good, but Meat got sick twice...bad recently...bladder infection.  He's recovering well.

About a year or so ago, I was bored.  I felt like I had a lot of free time, and didn't know what to fill my time with.  So I ran to be on the board of the LGBT Community Center.  I ended up as Vice President.  Well...back in March or April, our President got rather sick.  So, I ended up filling in for President.  I've been doing so since March.  Essentially much of my time is gone.  Any time I may have had to blog or even relax is soaked up by meetings.  When I'm not in meetings or at work, I'm either eating, sleeping, fencing or talking with my girlfriend.  Once in a while I have time to watch an episode of something on Netflix.  I've really valued any moment of free time I've had. So...if you all have wondered where I've been...that's been pretty much the entirety of my life lately.  I have to say...I'm a bit burnt out too.  I'm trying not to be, but it gets hard. I rarely turn on my personal computer for anything other than video chat with Jess anymore.  So, I haven't had a Facebook, twitter, or any sort of online presence lately.  I'm making an effort this week to take some time to myself.  I really need it.

All of that said, I'm thinking of tempering my writing of large posts and instead, writing less, but more often.  So...with some luck, you'll see some smaller, more pointed posts on here on a more regular basis.  And look at that, it's midnight.  I should be asleep already.  G'night all!

I'm sorry, world! I've been lazy for two months with my blog.  I guess I can sit here and make excuses like working on the weekends, youth group stuff, seeing someone, fencing stuff, a new camera...but we all know they'd just that...excuses.  So, I apologize.  What's that you say?  I said some things in that list that are surprising?  And what else?...you want to know about them?  Well tough...I'm not talking.

OK I lied.  I am talking. We'll start with the juicy stuff...fencing!   What? You thought I was going to talk about something else first?  Too bad.  So yeah, I've been fencing a lot.  It's been way fun.  I've learned that I'm not defending my left leg well enough.  I have had several nasty bruises three over the past several months.  One of them was pretty large...about the diameter of a soda can.  The worst part was because I had already been "killed".  I didn't call the hit fast enough and because of that I got hit again.  Anyway, it took a few weeks to heal.  It's awesome though.  I consider the bruises a badge of honor.  There's something about the pain from a sport like fencing that I think a lot of us like to own.

I'm getting more and more confident with my skills.  My instructors aren't taking it easy on me anymore.  They've been making it quite clear to me that I have a bit of natural talent.  I was told a few Wednesdays back that they've rarely seen such "clean kills" as what I was throwing.  It was by the book (Capo Ferro) apparently.  I was doing things like playing with measure (basically the range of someone's full extended lunge and blade) and getting inside without being noticed by my opponent.  I was also taking my opponent's blade off line (on line is an angle that would kill you) and sliding right down their sword to kill them. I didn't even realize that I was doing these things when they were happening.  So I guess that's a sign of good training.  When my instructor told me that, I was pretty giddy.  It's neat to hear I'm doing well.  Fencing is a lot of fun.

In other news, I worked a lot of extra weekend days over the past couple months.  It was a bit stressful due to the shortened weekends, but the benefits ended up being fantastic.  I'd been dreaming of getting a new camera for a long while.  I'm sure there are mentions of it in my blog posts past.  Now, however, it is a true reality.  As of the first days of May, I bought a brand new Canon Rebel T2i.  It's a flippin' awesome camera.  It's a Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflux), and shoots at 18 megapixels.  It not only does still photos, but it also shoots very nice full 1080p HD video.  I can do anything from standard def all the way up to the top of the broadcast HD range.  It's pretty cool.

So I've had it almost a full month now, and it's been worth it so far.  I've already shot about 400 images with it.  Chris and I went to the zoo and snapped some fun photos. I've also started taking it with me wherever I go.  So, I've been able to get some interesting shots that I normally wouldn't.  For example, I went to a garden and pond shop with Dr. Chris, my friend and Dentist.  It had just rained, and they had bloomed water lillies there.  I took some beautiful pics of them.  They'll be posted after the blog post to enjoy.

I've got a nice wish list of accessories I'm going to be getting eventually as well.  For example, I'll be getting a new flash, a camera frame, battery grip, extra batteries, and an inflatable diffuser.  I've also dropped some hefty cash for a nice lens.  It's a Tamron 18 mm - 270 mm, which is  a rather large range for a telephoto lens.  It's been very worth the money so far.  I've always been told by my pro video / photo friends to never skimp on the glass.  So I didn't.

OK...so you're probably wondering about the "seeing someone" I mentioned earlier, right.  Well...I'll tell you about it then.  But FIRST, you totally want to hear about my amazing ability to drink copious amounts of coffee through a straw...standing on my HEAD!  Ok, fine, that's a lie.  I guess I'll tell you about only the most amazing person I've ever met.

Her name is Jessica [redacted]....Dr. Jessica [redacted] (yes I know you haven't defended your dissertation yet, hun).  Everyone asks if it's awkward with having the same name, but it really hasn't been.  We know who we're talking to.  It's everyone else that has trouble.  Anyway, she's pretty amazing.  She's beautiful, smart, sexy, nerdy, and a huge dork....all of the perfect qualities I've been looking for.  She reads comic books, plays video games, and yeah...I'm so in love.

We met online.  Yahoo Personals...what is it with that site and me finding great matches there.  We hit it off from the get go really.  The hard part is that it's long distance.  I have a long history with long distance relationships, and this is the longest one I've been in yet.  She lives presently in Arkansas, but she will be moving to upstate New York for her new job in the fall.  So, it's not just a quick hour drive to see each other.  It's been tough, but we've managed so far, and quite well actually.

Jess came up here to Chippewa Falls to visit about a week and a half ago.  She was here for about 9 days, and I think it's easy to say that it was probably the best 9 days I've had since...maybe since my transition.  It was pure bliss the entire time.  It felt like I found my other half.  And then just as quickly as she arrived, it was time for her to leave.  That was unbelievably hard to say goodbye to her.  She is currently teaching a summer course, and she had to be back to start.  The good news is that she'll be back in about a month for a longer period of time.  The bad news is it feels like a part of me is missing now.  It's been difficult for both of us.  We have only gone one or two days since without video chatting.

Jess is actually a year younger than me, and she already has her doctorate.  It's really made me rethink a lot of things.  I actually find myself wanting to better myself because of her.  She did get to see me give a lecture in a class while she was here, and she told me that it was awesome and that I'm an amazing speaker.  That is incredibly uplifting since I've felt like I've gotten a bit stale at it lately.  I find myself wondering what I want to do next with my life though.  I'm really finding myself at a crossroads.  I'm jut not sure.

Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy my job, and I'm not about to drop everything for something new.  However, I've always felt I can do more.  I feel like I have a bunch of untapped skill that I'm really not utilizing.  One of the possibilities in the future depending on several things is that I may end up moving.  If Jess' job becomes tenure track, I'd probably pick up and move up to New York in a year or so.  If that's the case, what do I make a career out of there?

I've not really mentioned this before except for a few close friends, but I've gone back and forth over...not really disappearing out of the trans community, but more of not making it be so much of a focus in my life.  I mean really, I haven't made it a huge focus as is, but I've always had goals to do more.  I've debated whether my voice is even valuable with all the new voices out there.  I've had many people say otherwise, that my voice is important.  I've also witnessed other friends in the trans community move on.  So, it's been on my mind.

I think what I'm realizing now is that maybe instead of thinking about moving on, I should hit it head on.  Maybe I should find a talent agent, get a book deal, and just become a professional blogger and speaker.  I could perhaps start up a non-profit like I've talked about in the past as well.  I know I've talked about writing my book several times.  Jess thinks I should and that it'd be really valuable. There are a lot of options, and the good news is that I don't have to make any quick decisions.  Still, I'd love to get opinions if people have them to share.  I could use the help.

So yeah, Jessica has really made me think a lot about things.  I've never had someone have that kind of impact on me before.  She is truly amazing.  Isn't it funny that my last post in March I was sad about not being able to find someone and not even a week after I wrote that post, Jessica appeared in my life.  Chris told me that it was like night and day.  I was really down and then I was happier than he'd seen me in a very long time.  I should really stop bragging though.

I have been very distracted though.  I have been so busy with stuff like the youth group I volunteer for, the community center that I've been actively involved in, Pridefest stuff, and just trying to have a bit of time to relax.  I have barely been able to keep up.  Some things have fallen behind.  I haven't had a free moment to touch the Pridefest video.  It's ready for me to cut, but I just haven't been able to organize the time.  Obviously my blog writing time took a hit too.  Even my Memorial Day weekend is busy.  I'm going to be in the Twin Cities shooting a wedding.  In a week or so I have some freelance video work.  I think my schedule slows down after mid June.  I can't wait.  Maybe I'll have time to enjoy the summer weather then.  We'll see.

I think this is a good place to leave it for now though.  The question of the blog:  If you were in my shoes, what do you think my best options for the future are?

I hope all is well with you and that you're having a wonderful Spring. Oh, and I apologize if I induced any vomiting from my excessive gushing regarding my girlfriend. :P

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Holy crap, it's been a month!  Why didn't someone tell me?!!  It's been a busy time, that's for sure.  I've actually been enjoying it, though it's nice to get time to de-stress once in a while.  I haven't had much of that lately, and most likely things will remain busy for a few months.  I'm thinking after June actually.  I can't complain though.  Things have been pretty good lately.  I'd like to eventually get on a weekly blogging schedule though.  It'd be easier in the long run.

Straight Women

Ah the title of the post...Straight women are the bane of my most recent existence.  I've been actively seeking out love lately, and things have been a bit rough going.  About two and a half weeks ago, I went to hang out with a friend of mine for the first time.  We went to a nearby restaurant and had this adorable waitress. For some reason, I actually had the courage to flirt with her.  I was giving her eyes and a lot of attention every time she came by.  Oddly, she seemed to be returning it.  Then, I made mention in passing about my fencing, and she got really interested and started asking questions.  I answered what I could, and then I told her it was free.  I started explaining when practices are, but explained that there were some disruptions coming up.  So I asked if I could just call her with info...which got me her number.  When she gave it to me, she said I could call her with info.  I then laid it on thick and was like..."Can I call you anyway?" to which she responded very distinctly and with a smile "Yes".  There were plenty of clear messages going back and forth, or so it seemed to me and my friend.

I called her a few days later, and I got her voice mail.  I left a message that was cutesy saying who I was and if we'd like to talk fencing or...other stuff...as I put it.  She called back and left a message that said she was interested in both.  Again...to me clear messages going back and forth...  The next night I called her, and her boyfriend answered the phone.  I then got to talk to her, and it was a pleasant conversation.  She explained a bit about herself and I myself, and it became very clear very quickly that she had no clue that I was flirting with her at the restaurant.  She just thought I was a cool girl that was all about making new friends.  So...I just let her think that.  It was pretty disappointing for me, not going to lie.  I believe it was that night that I posted on twitter "My new motto is 'Expect Disappointment and you'll never be disappointed'.  As pessimistic as that may be, it surely seems true.  At least I made a new friend, right?

Enter part two... I'm on okcupid, and I have been chatting it up with this girl.  We're connecting.  Our conversations are stimulating.  I'm really liking her and I'm thinking she likes me.  I have noticed her profile says straight, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.  There's a whole slew of reasons why someone might post their profile as straight while being not straight.  I assume nothing.  Well...I decided to ask just to be sure, and sure enough...she's straight.  She's just looking for friends.  That's cool...again, just disappointing.  We've actually become fast friends and are chatting a lot.  So good has come out of it, but doesn't change the fact that it was hard to hear that another person I'm attracted to isn't interested.  Twice in one week.

So yeah...straight girls...

Loneliness

A lot of things have impacted my emotional state lately.  The straight girl situation is one of them.  All in all though, my desires to find someone have pushed forward, and now I'm just starting to feel incredibly lonely.  I have great friends, but I have no one I can cuddle up next to.  I've been dealing with some highs and lows lately because of it.  I'll get through it, but it's been a bit rough lately.

OkCupid

Like I said, I'm on OkCupid now, and at first my expectations were good.  I thought with it being free, there'd be a lot more people on there.  Unfortunately, the actuality has been a bit disappointing.  I've had some responses here and there, but what's happened is the women I'm attracted to aren't responding back to me, the people I don't want to talk to are contacting me a lot, and I've also had the aforementioned straight girl situation.  So the reality is that it hasn't really improved my outlook.

I have had lots of luck in the past with Yahoo Personals.  So this morning, I signed up for a month.  I will see how that goes.  There's also the possibility of www.plentyoffish.com, which has been recommended by several people.  So we'll see.  I usually hate that phrase though.  My mother always said that to me after a breakup.  I don't get fishing analogies.

New Friends

The upside to okcupid and the straight girl scenario is that I've made a new friend or two.  I've also randomly come across some really cool people that have now become fast friends with  me.  What's that old phrase...if you can't beat em? Assimilate them? Shit...I don't think that's right.  Oh well.  Anyway, it's nice to have people to hang out with though.  It feels like I'm really settling into this area, which is cool.  I hope this trend continues.  In fact, I'm considering having a grand party with all of my friends this summer.  I think it'll be a blast.  I'll probably announce it on here when it's going to happen.  So watch for it.

Taxes

I did my taxes finally.  I thought that this year was going to suck as far as taxes are concerned.  After all the freelance, the unemployment, and the lack of business purchases to offset costs, I thought I'd be paying in the thousands.  I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was not the case.  I ended up fairing quite well after all the expenses I had.  The only big one was the laptop I bought for editing and web work.  It ended up making the biggest difference.  In the end, I made out with a net positive.  So, with that, one of my new years resolutions is on the brink of coming true.  I will be paying off all my furniture debt this coming week.  I'm looking forward to it.  One less bill a month.

Camera

In other good news, one of my long standing goals is about to come true.  I'm going to buy a shiny new camera.  I've wanted something to shoot high quality video with.  With the advent of the latest Canon cameras being able to do really nice still photos as well as full 1080p high definition video, it's a great option for me.  I've been working extra at work, which is brining in some extra money.  Along with a few other financial improvements of late, I actually am in a great position to buy this camera, and perfect timing too.  I have a wedding for a family member to shoot in a month or so, and I want a secondary camera to shoot stuff at Pridefest with.   So this will serve so many uses.  I'm going to be selling my original camera, and I've already got a buyer.  So, it's going to be awesome.  I'll be sure to post stuff on here for all to see.

Speaking in Audrey's class

I got the opportunity to speak in my favorite professor's class again recently.  If you recall in a previous post, I didn't think it went as well the last time I did this.  So I was a bit more nervous about this presentation.  I changed up the format again.  Audrey (the professor) always asks her students to look at my website and come up with questions to ask me prior to my visit.  I get access to those questions.  What I decided to do was actually structure the discussion around the questions asked.  It actually worked quite well.  This was perhaps the best presentation I've ever given.  I think the response was fantastic!  I had a lot of fun.

There were a couple of students that wrote very religious comments that I decided to just skip over.  I do not feel that I need to or should read comments that are hurtful and prejudiced, despite the perhaps good intentions they were written with.  Religious intolerance is probably the biggest issue that affects the LGBT community, and because of that, I didn't hold back as far as that part of my story is concerned.  I talked about how I do not identify as Christian anymore.  I told the story of the pastor basically kicking me out of the church and God's people turning their back on me.  I explained that I never felt that God hated me, made a mistake with me, or ever did anything other than love me.  Hopefully those words didn't fall on deaf ears.

Dentist Visit

Chris and my good friend, Chris (yes, I know that's confusing), is also our dentist.  I haven't gone in about a year or more.  It was time.  So I made an appointment and went in.  I knew something was wrong and that I most likely had a cavity.  As it happens, I had three...maybe even four.  I had no idea.  I've mentioned in the past that I have a high pain tolerance.  When I was shown which teeth had problems, I was surprised.  I felt no pain or discomfort.

So this past week, I went in to get half of them taken care of.  Apparently they only do one half of the mouth at a time.  Personally, I'd rather just get them all done at once, but I wasn't given that choice.  I doubt they had that much time open anyway.  I have to say...the dental hygienist / assistant to the dentist was quite attractive.  She's, of course, quite straight, but attractive nonetheless.  In a few weeks I get the rest taken care of.  Then I can move on to making an appointment with my eye doctor.  Hooray!

Youth Group

The youth group has been a lot of fun so far.  I feel a lot more confident now than when I was a mentor the first time.  Maybe it's because I've matured a lot since then.  I think it helps that I'm past all the transition stuff.  Anyway, I've really enjoyed working with the kids.  I think this group will soak up a lot of my energies in the future, which is good.  It doesn't feel draining in the slightest.  Maybe that says a lot about what I should be devoting my time to in life.

Question of the blog

What is your most disappointing story when it comes to finding love?