Feb. 4th, 2013

and you may find yourself in another part of the world

2012 Was definitely the year for Transition and Change.

I moved to Austin, Texas and left behind my beloved Northern California, cherished friends, my life partner of 10 years, and much more.

"Left behind" can only really be applied in a physical sense. I've lived life online so fully for the past 20 years that most of my friendships have carried on even with my move. Some are harder to keep up than others but we all try even when we're sucky correspondents.

In return I experienced a lot of changes, a lot of "AFGO"s (Another FUCKING "growth opportunity") and now, a year later, the smoke is beginning to clear.


2012 GOALS:
GET MOVED without losing all of my sanity (short trip), none of my pets, none of my personal effects, and without completely alienating my cousin and her household by moving in.

I managed all of those (although 'sanity'; is a relative term.)
By New Years I was snug in a 3 bedroom house in Northern Austin and the pets were getting used to much more room and a back yard! The pups had been down to visit with me several times--in fact they both started their life with me in this same house--so this was familiar territory for them. I was very worried about the cats during the transition. I need not have worried. Our first morning there, I stagger out onto the back patio with coffee in hand to watch the sunrise and watch the pups explore and slowly realize there are six bodies stalking across the yard; Sammy and Dharma were both exploring their new surroundings with curiosity and they've been more or less happily settled since!


Get EMPLOYED. My last oh, three months, in California, my client could not afford to pay me. I'd been without reliable salary for nearly 6 months. I'd been working at 1/5th of my market rate for 8 years, nearly 9. I needed to land well and get gainful employment, at good wage and benefits. Many of you know exactly HOW difficult that is in the current economy. I gave myself a 3-6 month window to achieve that and I started applying the second day I arrived.

With luck and relief I landed a job in South Austin working for a Software Technology company in their inside marketing agency. It's a really good company, a growing company, publicly held, excellent benefits, nice perks, lovely people. I am very relieved to have made it. It was nerve wracking for it to take six months--but looking back now, I think it was worth it. It will take me a few years to make a dent in debts wracked up, but I'm on it!


GET LICENSED. Yeah, well DMV is DMV, is DMV. I'm still working on that one.

GET A CAR. I'm actively working on that one (see above which has to happen first) But Carol and I commute together. Our schedules are compatible and we enjoy each other's company. That said, I still feel the need for my own personal transport for flexibility. There's plenty I won't go off and do by myself because it would mean inconveniencing Carol by borrowing her car more than is necessary for work and essentials. This includes, dating, running off to Dallas to deal with my Mother, exploring when I'm restless and antsy, or going to work at 4am when I have insomnia.

GET INVOLVED. I'm working on that too!

Politics: I got my voters registration swapped long before anything else and survived my first election cycle in Texas since 1991.

Music: Austin is a MUSIC town and that is one of many reasons I really do love it here. In March I was at the Austin Music Awards and watching really wonderful live music, local and national acts such as Quiet Company, Caroline Wonderland, Alejandro Escovedo, and Bruce Springsteen (Keynote). In July I was at the Backyard for Joe Cocker and Huey Lewis and the News. In February I'm seeing Suzanne Vega, and in March Eric Clapton with the Wallflowers as the opening act. I am LOVING Austin as a music city; love love LOVING IT!

Food: Austin is also a foodie's heaven. It's not just TexMex and BBQ here. Later I'll list some of my favorite venues. Carol and I have a goal to eat our way through the entire region, one restaurant at a time. Every time she takes me someplace new, I'm staggering out well fed and teasing her "you've been holding out on me!"

Community: This has been a bit more difficult for me. I'm stuck in the hinterlands of suburbia and I need to get more in tune with this place. Slowly but surely I'm increasing my awareness of what is happening in Austin. Part of this challenge is I do not live in Austin proper or even Travis county. So we don't get to vote on things like a new state-of-the-art teaching hospital for UT.



2012 WINS:

I survived my first summer in Texas in 20 years without killing anyone, including myself. 100+ degree days SUCK, but hey, at least there's AC.

The allergies haven't killed me either.

I landed a great job, great pay, great people.

I am living with and near family I truly love and adore--many of them who have access to this blog now: Carol, my Sister, my Aunt Sarah, a variety of Second Cousins and more.

Other than allergies, I am HEALTHY (over fed, but healthy)! I have full medical coverage for the first time in nearly 6 years and have been through the full panel of check ups. All systems are go.


2012 CHALLENGES:

Mother
Mother
and um, MOTHER

Good God but she remains a piece of work. I've been playing bad-cop to my sister's good-cop and spent much of the year counter-acting her selfish and childish behavior by giving support to my sister and to stay in touch with my dad. This will remain a challenge with a unique twist as January of 2013 saw my sister transferred to Chicago, IL with a big promotion for her work, and now my parents are threatening to move to Las Vegas, near my uncle (her brother). Which means I'm here in Austin--having moved to be closer to family (at my sister's pleading/request) and now she's in Illinois and my parents are moving to Nevada! Yippy fuckin SKIPPY....

But you know what? This move has been good for so many other reasons then just nearer my parents. I'm happy in our hippy-empty-nester household: 3 adults, 6 animals, lots of laughter and sharing. I am near family I really DO love and that's good too.

Other Challenges: rebuilding a personal life with local connections, loves, and friends. Not many of those. I'm 10-20 years older than most of the girls I work with here. I do have a few friends at my new job, but we live far flung from each other, so very little socializing after work. While at the Backyard in July I spent a lot of the pre-concert time sitting on the lawn, scoping out the sample of Austin ages 30-60. After about an hour I turned to Carol and said "If this is my dating pool, I'm gonna become a nun!" I mean it jokingly, but um... not entirely :D

Kink: The Kink community in Austin--isn't really... it's mostly private, and one to one. What clubs there were, were mostly LGBT focused--which is fine, but I'm not seeking LGBT as a predominate life choice for myself right now.

Creative: I'd let this blog lapse because I felt tired, dry, dull, and voiceless. Too many other things were pulling me in other directions. Lately--the past 3 or 4 months or so--I've felt far more vocal and had far more volume of words spinning in my head ready to get out. I plan to continue this trend and look to you all to keep me on the "straight and narrow"; (or is that "crooked and bent";) path of engaging, writing, speaking, and continuing to live my life outloud.

And so going forward, I have a plan. Having a plan is a great thing for many people. For me having a plan is guaranteed to mean that life will slap me upside the head on a regular business saying "yeah fuck your plan!";

Just sayin!

~Meri

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