Friday, January 31, 2014

Mixing worlds


The last few days here have been pretty chilly - not by Nebraska standards, of course, but there's still snow on the ground.  Temperatures today are forecast to soar into the 50's which is welcome relief.  On the news they said that the average temperature here for this time of year is 52 degrees.  I'll take that.

My first week at the new job is winding down.  So far so good.  This isn't the first time I've had to get into a new environment and become productive quickly so I'm soaking up as much as I can as quickly as I can.  I think the term for it is "drink through a fire hose", but so far I'm not feeling overwhelmed.

I'm making arrangements to get more settled.  Now that I've landed on my feed and I've got some confidence that things will work well here I'm more comfortable getting myself situated deeper than just a hotel room.

I mentioned in the past that I became friends with several of the people I worked with in Nebraska.  I really didn't make any effort to socialize outside work, so the only place I'd likely meet someone to build a friendship is at work.

I have also mentioned that I typically don't talk too much about my past at work.  It's just not important or relevant to the reason I'm there.  It's not even on my mind 99% of the time.  It's not that I'm actively trying to hide it - it's just that it's a non-thing.  I'd be happy to chat about it if the need (or the desire) arose.  But it never does, so I'm fine with that.

Several of my friends from Omaha have recently sent friend requests to me on Facebook.  My FB friends are a unique blend of LGBT folks, family, old friends, co-workers, and others I've met along the way.  I don't think I'd want to friend a co-worker while we're actually co-workers because that would be mixing two of my worlds in a way that would make me uneasy.  But adding them as friends when we don't see each other every day just seems to be logical and practical to me, so I have done that.

The interesting part is that my Facebook page is connected to my website.  One of my friends from Omaha wrote to tell me that she vissited my website and was impressed by all that I've achieved in life.  I thanked her.  She also said she wishes she had known about my history while I was there because she's got a good friend who was in the news a few years back for starting a Gay Straight Alliance at her high school.

I realize she said it as a positive thing, but that's one of the reasons I'm reluctant to share that aspect of myself.  I don't want to become one-dimensionalized, or otherwise categorized based on that single aspect of myself.  It's difficult to explain that to people sometimes, and perhaps it's part of my own insecurities.  But it's true.  Anyway - if you're a friend from Omaha who is just now finding my website this isn't meant to be bad in any way.  I wasn't hiding.  But I'm a very deep, complex person who just wants to be treated as the Donna you've always known.  That's all.

After work today I head to Charleston to complete the cross-country drive.  I'm very much looking forward to it.  It's a big sports weekend: Syracuse vs. Duke basketball on Saturday evening, and the Super Bowl on Sunday.  Good stuff.

Speaking of friends - several of my friends are "activists".  Many are attending the Creating Change conference in Houston at the moment.  I attended for a few years.  But frankly that's a chapter of my life that has been closed for a while now and I'd far rather be in Charleston than anywhere else.  That's the best part of reclaiming my focus and my time - being able to be where I'd rather be than where I'm supposed to be.  By tonight (Lord willing) both of those drivers will be aligned.  :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heaven to me

It's snowing outside.  It's been coming down steadily for 4 hours now.  There are at least a couple or three inches of the fluffy white stuff on the ground.

If I had written that a week ago it wouldn't have been odd.  The fact that I'm in Charlotte right now is what makes it unusual.  Winter Storm Leon hit here late afternoon, and thankfully I got from work to the hotel where I'm staying before things got too crazy.  They had a segment on the Weather Channel a little while ago showing how the highway system around Atlanta grinding to a halt inside of an hour around lunchtime.  I can't think of anyplace I'd rather NOT be than Atlanta right now....

Speaking of Atlanta - they cancelled 800 flights there today.  The hotel where I'm staying is right by the airport, and it hasn't been all that busy here since I arrived.  Well, I'm told that they're full tonight.  From the conversations I've heard in the lobby much of it is due to cancelled flights.  When Atlanta or Chicago closes down it reverberates around the country for a week.  I'm wondering how it will affect travelers trying to get to NYC for the Super Bowl.

I don't mind the snow.  It's cold that really gets to me.  It's only the high 20's here this evening.  People who live hear are insane about it.  Where I came from makes this look balmy.  And, the fact that we'll be in the mid-60's again by the middle of the weekend makes it easier.  Of course, if my cross-country drive were happening right now I'd be screaming bloody murder.  But it's not, so it's all good.

I'm going to do something for the pups tomorrow.  They've been wonderful as I've schlepped them around the country - driving 2,500 miles last week, and keeping them cooped up here in the hotel while I've been at work all day.  I've made arrangements for them to go to "Doggie Day Care".  They typically get kinda worried that I'm not going to come back and pick them up but the good news is that they sleep well when the get home.  I hope they have a good time.

Part of the problem with moving is the disruption it causes in life.  I can't find anything.  I know it's packed and if I really need it I could probably dig it out.  But in the scheme of things I'm living out of a suitcase.  That's ok for short periods of time, but for extended periods it puts me out of balance.  As a result, I'm doing what I can to make the necessary arrangements to get as settled as I can soon as possible.

The good news - I'm enjoying the job so far.  Good thing, since it's what brought me back.  It's a long-term contract (2 years) so I'm expecting it to be a stabilizing element in my world.  That, and one other thing.  The thing is - I'm not ready to talk about that other thing right now....

In less than a month I have another birthday.  They seem to be coming faster and faster.  It seems like only yesterday that I turned 50, and here's another birthday divisible by 5.  I don't feel much different.  I suppose I've got a few more wrinkles and a few more miles on these tires but I'm still loving life.

Andrea James put something on Facebook saying that she recently passed the 75,000,000 pageview mark for her website since the late 1990's.  I remember finding it.  It single-handedly changed my world.  It opened my eyes to options I never knew existed.  It demonstrated to me that a fulfilling unlived life was out there but it required some faith and some courage to grab.  And it sparked a flame of hope that eventually came to burn bright.  Something as simple as a website became the key to a second chance at life.  That's the life that I'm living today.

As crazy as it may seem to anyone else, it's heaven to me.

Monday, January 27, 2014

All work

I did it.

This past week has been one of the craziest I can remember.  Last Monday I drove to Dallas.  Tuesday and Wednesday I had class there.  I drove back to Omaha Wednesday night into Thursday morning.  Friday was my last day at work, I packed up my stuff and began loading the U-Haul.  Saturday I finished packing it, ran some last minute errands, and drove 400 miles to St. Louis.  Yesterday I drove the remaining 750 miles, punctuated by an unplanned 90-minute break sitting by the side of the highway after one of the tires on the trailer blew out.  I arrived last night at 11.  Today I had my first day at the new job, followed by 3 hours of unloading my stuff.

So, here I sit.  For now, the daunting task of moving myself and my "stuff" across country is done and I can relax a bit.

We're supposed to bear the brunt of Winter Storm Leon here tomorrow.  Temperatures here today were near 70.  Tomorrow temperatures will be around freezing, and they're expecting snow.  You gotta be kidding me.  Anyway, that's one of the reasons I wanted to finish the unpacking tonight, before things get too crummy.

Now what?  I take it easy for a few days.  I'm here, in a hotel with the pups, and it's time to relax before the next jag hits.  All work and no know.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Today is a day of lasts.  It was my last day at work.  It was my last full day living here.  Tonight will be my last night here.  It was very likely the last time I will see most, if not all, of the people I've known day in and day out for the better part of the last year.  

As excited as I am about finally heading back home, there is also the realization that my life is in flux right now.  I have voluntarily separated myself from all that has been routine and stable recently, letting it go, with the faith that my landing will be a soft one.

I'm 80% packed.  I'll finish tomorrow and get on the road.  I'll write more a little later.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


These last couple of days, especially today, have been surreal.  As my time in Omaha winds down to it's final few days I can't help but think about the bigger picture.  If all goes according to plan, next week at this time I'll be in St. Louis on my way home.  It's going to be a crazy crazy couple of weeks.  It's one of those times when I just wish I could fall asleep tonight and wake up when it's all done.

This was quite the week, too.  Work here made a counter-offer to keep me here that included a rate increase to provide airfare to go home each weekend.  In some ways it's tempting, only because I feel like I've got unfinished business here.  But it's time for me to go, so I've spend most of today packing.

I've graduated from paper boxes to plastic tubs and my living room is full of them.  Big ones, medium ones, little ones.  Moving is a chaotic time and I'm doing my best to keep things as orderly as I can.  Still - things are in flux and I have a feeling they will be for a while.  In many ways.

I'm as ready as I'll ever be.  I'm going home.

Tonight I'm watching Oblivion on HBO.  I enjoy this movie for some reason.  It's got a great sound-track, full of deep booms that give my sub-woofer a little dog seems to think it's thunder.  It's kinda funny.

It's supposed to get up to 55 degrees here tomorrow.  It's a one-day-wonder though - it'll get down to zero by the middle of the week.  The more important forecast for me right now is next weekend.  So far it looks like good driving weather....not too cold, no precip forecast this week.  I hope it's accurate.

Tomorrow it'll be more packing, football, and perhaps some shooting with a friend.  It'll be my last down day for a while.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Miles to Go

Last Friday I was busily taking care of the odds and ends required to prepare for my trip home to Charleston.  I spent 4 days there over the weekend and into the early part of the week.  The excitement and joy of getting home fueled me thru flight delays that prevented me from arriving until well after 2am, 1,000 miles of various driving excursions, and other speed bumps that I'd do a hundred times over if needed.  It's worth it.

There are lots of moving parts in my world right now.  As good as I've become at the technical process of moving from place to place I remain the opposite of good at cutting ties of things I've become invested in and moving on.  I'm good at starting things, but not nearly so good at ending them.  I continue to struggle with that.

Over the past few days I've been asked to reconsider my decision, told I'm "a breath of fresh air" to my organization, and generally reminded that I do enjoy what I came here to do.  That's not to say I won't enjoy what comes next, but cutting those ties is deeper than simply the logistics involved.  Anyway - it's a process currently in motion.

I'm in a far different place right now than I was prior to the Holidays.  Several things have happened that have caused me to reconsider a number of potential options, have re-prioritized a number of things in my mind, and have been the impetus to generally lower a number of walls I've been building for quite a while.  I realize that this is vague, and purposefully so, as it crosses the boundary between my private world and the world I'm willing to share.

This weekend will be full of packing, tidying up some loose ends, and football.  I predict the winners of this weekends games will be the Seahawks and the Patriots - not because I particularly care (I don't overly like or dislike any of the teams) but because the Seahawks have been on that trajectory all season and the Patriots, well, they just seem to find a way to win in big games far more often than not.  Regardless, I'd be happy to be proven wrong on any of my predictions since my team dropped from the running a long time ago so now I'm simply a fan of the game.

That's it for today.  I've got a busy day ahead and need to get cracking.  Miles to go before I sleep.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Cliff

It is Friday.  The weekend is here!  Yee-haw.

I'm sitting at a gate in IAH airport in Houston waiting for my connecting flight.  Apparently, they had a bit of a maintenance issue so we're looking at a couple hour delay.  I can live with that, and hope it's not any longer.  I'm headed to Charlotte where I'll rent a car and drive to Charleston.  If all stays on this schedule we'll land in CLT at 10:15, I'll hope to have my luggage and rental car by 11, and I've got a 3+ hr drive.  I'll arrive between 2-2:30am.....makes for a long day but I'm ok with that.  After all - it's Charleston.

As advertised in my last post I did as I said.  I gave my notice at work on Monday.  I can't emphasize enough how much I enjoy this job.  The people are great, my manager rocks, the work is interesting, it could potentially last for as long as I'd like it to, and if I could find a way to have my cake and eat it too I'd be all set.  But life is about balance and right now I'm out of it and need to get it back.

So, as illogical or emotional as the decision may seem to other, it's done.  I've got a position lined up back in South Carolina that I'd like to enjoy even half as much as this one.  But in the "nothing ventured, nothing gained" department - sometimes you need to close your eyes, take a big step forward, and have faith that you're not stepping off a cliff.

I'll keep details to myself for a while until I actually start it and get myself into the saddle.  But for now the main thing will be to close down my life in Omaha, get myself across country, and get on my feet again back home over the next 2 weeks.  Add in a 2-day trip to Dallas for a class (I'll probably drive) and a weekend trip to Denver and back to see my son and there really aren't that many days left.  I've been at this point before - not knowing how on earth I'd fit everything that needs to get done into the time period available.  But somehow it always works out.  One way or another - it will this time, too.

I'm almost giddy over it.  This trip is a trip of the heart.  Calm before the storm.  A chance to reconnect.  There's a lot going on right now and thankfully most of it is good.

Charleston Restaurant Week happens over the next 10 days.  The good news is that I plan to overindulge on some of the wonderful culinary delights that Charleston has to offer.  The downside (not sure it it's a downside - it's just a thing) is that I plan to run two or three times over the weekend to keep my weight down.  I weighed myself at the Field House on base last week and right now I weigh the same as I did when I transitioned 15 years ago.  I'm happy about that.

Weather is always a topic worth mentioning - it has been cold for the last couple of weeks in Omaha.  Today we finally peeked above the freezing mark and it's supposed to last into next week.  All good.  I just hope it lasts for the driving I'll be doing.

Anyway - I'm going to keep this short and hope I don't get stuck in Houston tonight.  Fingers crossed....

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Homeward Bound

If you live in the north you're about to get blasted.  Record cold is forecast to affect haft the country.  Here in Omaha the low tomorrow is supposed to be ~15 below zero.  The high Monday might reach zero.  Wind chills will push the end result colder than -35...they're already looking at canceling school for local students.  It's too cold to be outside.

I'll share something here.  I'll be giving my notice at work on Monday.  Unless something unforeseen happens I'll be back home in the Carolina's by the end of the month., and I couldn't be happier.  As I've alluded to in recent weeks a courtship has been going on that finally seems to have been consummated.  I've accepted an offer so I suspect my days here are down to a precious few.

There's more going on - but that's the news I'm willing to share right now.  Changing jobs is a fairly vulnerable time for a person since it requires a person to trust that the jump from one job to another will go well.  As I've said before I have very much enjoyed both the work and the people here.  Giving this news on Monday will indeed be somewhat bittersweet.  But the reality that I'm headed back home again is both energizing and exciting.

I like to think that my life is testament to the notion that if you want something to happen (a) you need to take active steps to make it happen rather than simply wait for it to happen and (b) you need to have the courage and the faith to jump on opportunities when they arise.

The next few weeks will be a flurry of activity.  As often happens in my world I have no idea how it will all come together.  But I've learned from experience that it always does so I don't really worry to much about it.  It's not like this is my first time doing this.

This a big deal.  It turns another page in my life in more ways than one.

New Years this past week passed quietly in my world.  It's not that big a deal for me - I was in bed by 10:30.  The excitement of watching the ball drop ended a few years ago.

One thing I've noted over these past Holidays is the significant number of my friends have announced significant changes in their relationships on Facebook.  Several have gotten engaged, or married.  Others are in some flavor of committed relationship.  It is wonderful to see this kind of thing - especially at the Holidays.  If you're one of these people - congratulations!