The theme of this particular missive is that I really like the area around Boulder. I had a wonderful day here - almost perfect, in fact. The thing I'm most surprised about is that it just "feels" so good.
The damage from last week's storms is still evident everywhere. But it's not as though it brought the entire area to a standstill. There was amazing damage all around my son's house south of town, but his house never even lost power. The storage facility across the street, tho...well...not as lucky.
My son lives in a house that's part of a little "compound" that reminds me of something out of the 60's. From the way he explained it the property was owned by someone who owned/managed a mine here a long time ago and there are other buildings where he lived, for the mine workers, and storage.
We walked along the park path behind the his house that had been flooded the week before. It was pretty crazy. I put some photos on FB about it.
My son is sharing the first floor of a house with another guy. Someone else has the upstairs. Someone is living in one of the other buildings on the property. One guy is living in a camper/trailer. The one I found most intriguing is inhabited by someone aptly referred to as "School Bus Chuck". And yes - he lives in a school bus parked on the property. Anyway - everyone I met was cool, the area is beautiful, and I'm glad to be here.
I did have a couple of interesting experiences/observations.
My son and I were driving and I noticed that we were passing an REI. I love, love, love REI. Unfortunately, there isn't one within 200 miles or more of me back in Nebraska. There are none in Nebraska, or Iowa. The closest, I think, is in Kansas City.
Anyway...what I needed most was a pair of boots "just in case" I'm around for the winter. I'm fairly particular about my boots, and as luck would have it there was a pair just my size on the Clearance rack (last year's model - but fine by me). They're mine now.
Second - I stopped at Costco. It's amazing how different the stuff here is from the stuff I'd find in Charleston, or Scottsdale. There was winter stuff I've never seen in a Costco. Helmets and goggles for snow boarding. Lots of jackets and warm clothes. Even the Christmas stuff is out. I had a blast there, but controlled myself.
Change of Topic...
Zoey Sloane wrote an interesting article on FaceBook posing the question "Do Trans Conferences Do More Harm Than Good?" (link here) I think it's a question many of us ask as we see the double-edged sword for ourselves. But the fact of the matter is that trans conferences don't just happen....you have to pay and make the effort to attend (I'm told that ~550 people registered for SCC this year). I never attended one during my transition - it was only afterwards that I attended my first conference. I've thought for a long time that's probably a good thing, as I don't know that I would have been ready for everything that happens at these things.
Obviously, there is no one right answer, and each conference is different. One of my dearest friends who hasn't been to a conference in probably ten years showed up at SCC - she had just gotten tired of them as she had moved on in life. But one of the true conundrums is that these conferences try to offer something for all the various elements in our community and in the process the question is whether they will, or can, succeed in pleasing anyone.
I've seen all kinds of people say all kinds of things about conferences. I outgrew them. I don't need them anymore. They're not my thing. Etc etc etc. All are equally valid. My experiences have been positive ones, but I limit myself to one a year.
I have nothing bad to say about conferences - you make of them what you will. I've met some of my best friends there, at key points in their journeys. That continued this year as I met a couple of people I've come to know via Facebook and through email and I hope/expect those friendships to continue. When I do go I rarely attend any of the programming - I have too much time visiting with friends from around the country. This year - Chloe, Lana, Maria and Steph, Mel, Sophie, I met up for dinner with my friend from CNN, as I mentioned my friend Sally made a surprise appearance, it was great to catch up with Kristin, Dr. O and Dr. Meltzer...the list is a long one. I went to the mall. I even tried to take nap.
BUT - and this is a big BUT - I don't know that immersing yourself into the trans world for any extended period of time is generally healthy in any context. In my day to day life talking about trans stuff, and general trans "energy", is a rarity. There's good balance, and dosages are relatively small. But at these conferences, some element of it becomes the subject of most if not all conversations/interactions/events. It can be exhausting. On Saturday at SCC I was tired all day - I just was - and that's what I attribute it to. I believe in energy transfer between people who have some to share and those who need some (or take some) and that happens like crazy at these events.
I approach conferences the same way I approach Las Vegas. I have a blast when I'm there because I shape it to fit my own needs, but after two or three days it's time to go home. I need to get back to my life.
I think the most important thing, though, is that I've got what I feel is a generally positive life to get back to. I've got a job. My career is going well. I'm close with my family. I get to do cool stuff from time to time. I'm past the emotional turmoil of it all. I think it could be pretty depressing otherwise. So, I can see both sides.
It's 6:30am as I write this and I'm up early. Time to shower, pack, and get the day going. I'm meeting a friend for coffee before heading over to see my son for a few hours. It's an 8 hour drive and I'd like to get home, unpacked, and relax a bit before going to bed so I want to get on the road by early afternoon.
Oh - one more thing - tickets for John Mayer just went on sale and I got one. He's an artist I've been following for a long time and have been wanting to see. He's not touring for a couple of months yet, but I'm already looking forward to it.
Back to today. As I said at the outset, I'm having a wonderful visit. I wish it could be longer, but I'm willing to settle for the short time I've got here. I'm happy to be back with my son - it reminds me of how much I miss him. That alone makes it well worth the trip. Good Vibrations here...all 'round.