Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New Support Group for Trailing Spouses - Sioux Falls, SD Edition

Though I don't blog on this site anymore, I would like to keep it open to others looking for resources. Any time you find a group (online or IRL) who is discussing these issues and lending support, please contact me and I'll put it up here.

Jaime (artist, mother, wife to an academic) recently made her first big move for her partner's career and founded a Facebook Group for working mother transplants in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Even if you aren't from that area (or a parent), you may still find common ground. Check it out: Sioux Falls Working Moms/Transplants Support Group. Remember-- men move for their spouses careers also, so please make sure you check this out despite the title's emphasis on mothers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What they don't know

When I was in high school drama, I learned an important lesson: don't let the audience know you messed up, and they may not notice.  Don't let them know you're nervous and they'll assume you're a pro.  Once you break that wall and show you're vulnerability, there's no going back.

So when you're meeting people in your new town, and maybe you haven't gotten a job yet or have anything newsworthy going on, don't talk about that.  When the inevitable question comes up, "So what do you do?" don't bury yourself under your spouse's job or belittle your circumstances.  Be proud of what you used to do, say what you want to do.  Be confident!  No one is going to ask probing questions about your job status or choice to follow someone you love (and if they do, they are an ass and you don't need them.)

You're an adult, and life changes.  Be the confident person you were before you may have been shaken up by this move.  It's just one more change life throws at you, except you're catching that ball while running.

You've got nothing to be ashamed of.

No one is "just" a wife.

You may not be making your own money for a while, but that doesn't make you less of a citizen.

Doing something crazy and new? Own it.  Do you think people cared about the fact that my business was really fledgling and I wasn't sure if it was a good idea?  No, they were interested in what the business was and how I got it started.

Find something you're proud of and don't belittle it by pretending you aren't proud.

I hope anyone who is currently in the anticipation stage of moving for a spouse's job is going alright, and it's ok if you aren't doing alright.  It's a weird time, and you'll have to find your way of dealing. Just know there's people that understand, and I'm one you can talk to if you need to vent.  Click on the "Contact Me" button, and dish away.

Bathroom selfie!

This is real, and it will change.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Progress Report

So, if you haven't moseyed over to Jumbo Jibbles you are missing a TON of non-mopey posts.  I'm doing great in San Jose and have some mini-art up at a gallery next week.  Ok, not actually "up", but there's a once-a-month thing where artists submit tiny pieces of drawing, painting, whatnot that people can buy for $2.  But who cares- I'm up!

I'm updating about five days a week, so come on!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oh! Whoa! I'm back!

Well, lucky for me, this move has been pretty awesome. So awesome, I haven't updated in over two months. I've met people, gotten scads of volunteering time in AND made some cool-ass stuff. The "trailing" angst is pretty much gone since I'm in it, and it feels a lot different when you're not just fretting about it.

A unicorn and Hyperbole and a Half
I'm going to start doing some major craft stuff in the next few weeks, and attempt to keep better track so I can do tutorials (I hear you, Heidi).  But-- I am moving my blog to Wordpress, in order to change the URL and because Google can suck my yarn balls.  Very soon, you will be able to read/see my stuff at Jumbo Jibbles.  That is, if anyone still reads this.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

MUST CRAFT - Cranes and Pinwheels

We've been in the new apartment for two full weeks now with none of our stuff. Other than getting tired of wearing the same pair of shoes every day, this hasn't been bad at all.  It's clean and open, and we don't have to mess with tidying much.  But the one thing that has been driving me nuts is having no access to my craft supplies.

Instead of being impatient and wasting money buying things that would soon arrive, I bought a pack of 50mm origami sheets in Japantown (one of the three surviving in the country) and learned how to make paper cranes.  I got pretty ok at it, but it just wasn't enough.  

I've been keeping a list of fun craft projects to decorate the house with, and they are mostly paper crafts like lanterns and pom-poms.  I was really inspired this week by a tip from Hands Occupied on how some crafters are repurposing wedding or shower decorations.  That's all and well for when the moving truck finally arrives (tomorrow!) but what do I do now, when my need is so great?  Oh, hello pinwheels!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Met People! Didn't Die!

I rode with four strangers to San Francisco last night, to attent an "after hours" event at the California Academy of Sciences museum.  Let me tell you-- being in a museum when it's usually closed it awesome, turning down the lights and giving people alcohol is awesomer.  The lines were long and the drinks were $9, so I didn't imbibe, but I imagine it was enhancing.  The main event (for me) was Adam Savage of MythBusters doing stand-up with some other SF comedians.  Here are some clips from the youtubes of the fabulous talent (no sarcasm, I laughed til I cried):

Alex Cole

Dave Thomason

Emily Heller

Emily Heller, Dave Thomason and Janine Brito (didn't see her, but I'd like to)

There were a few stinkers, tired old gender war jokes and one unfortunate (and likely accidental) date rape reference*, but all in all it was a great evening.  A reference to feminism was all it took for me and another of the participants to figure we were on the same foot, and when Adam Savage explained to his teenage sons that "The internet hates women" we both applauded.  I was also surprised how much San Franciscan comedians leaned on the "everyone in SF is gay" stand-by, especially since none of them were.

I'm proud of myself for getting out and hanging with complete strangers. Even happier that a few of them seemed like people I could genuinely be friends with some day.  Making friends is not effortless at this stage of life.

*To be fair, it was something a parent said to a child when they got flustered by a sex question.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friend Dating

I just posted a "strictly platonic" ad in the personals section of Craigslist. Horror of horrors, what have I gotten myself into?  It's been almost two weeks in the new town, and I'm getting lonely.  I had a good morning yesterday, was very productive, but then I started convincing myself that it would be possible to be ok if I never made another friend in my life. This is so incredibly wrong, and once I convinced myself, I was despondent for a little bit.  I've made a few friends, but since I've met them through other people, I don't want to make them feel put-upon by me wanting to hang out too much. So, I need to embiggen the pool of people.

Damn my extroversion!

So, this ad.  I hope it didn't sound too dorky, but I wanted to be more specific than all the "Looking for a BFF! I like to have fun!" because that's how most of them read.  That, or it is obvious that the ad shouldn't be in the "strictly platonic" section.  Who wouldn't go for this gal:

Well, we'll find out.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

California Trail

It's been long enough since I've written that I can't completely find my way back to where I was. Things happened really fast-- giving notice, selling off our possessions, finding a home for our dog, finding a home for us. My family was certainly not satisfied with the amount of time I could spend with them, and the pressure they put on me didn't help me very much. At the end, I had to keep telling myself that in this particular situation, yes, this is about me. About me and J, and the big thing we were about to do. I had to focus on getting us through it.

And we did. We've been in San Jose for over a week now, still no belongings, and J started his first day at Intel on Monday. It took us three days driving 1,800 miles on I-40, six tanks of gas, and half of the audiobook version of A Storm of Swords. The book made the time go by really quickly, and don't believe anybody when they say that drive isn't beautiful. I'd never driven through Arizona or New Mexico, or Texas for that matter, and it was fun to look at. J didn't seem to be as intent about power-driving, but I kept wanting to drive more once he called it a day. I really wanted to get to my new home.

So, here I am, a week later with no furniture, no job, and no husband around. A person could get very stagnant, so I'm trying to keep busy. It's hard when there's nothing in the house. I have a craft commission, but I don't have any supplies. I want to decorate, but I don't have any furniture. Really, things could be worse.

The best news is, is that I love it here. I love walking everywhere, biking is easy, driving is easy, the food is great and the weather really is quite beautiful. I'm sure I'll start to miss rain soon. I'm going to take about a month before I start to look for a job, and in that time I plan to volunteer, get my commission done and start a class at the local TechShop.  I have a California drivers license, a library card and a few friends.  Really, I'm all set.

There will be a time when I may whine about feeling guilty about not working, but it is not today. Today I have a very positive outlook that this time will be well-spent, and I will have better direction for myself.  

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lucy Knisley in my Brain

One of my favorite comic artists, Lucy Knisley, just posted a moving comic! So perfect.  We jam out of here in less than one week.

I hope people come to our going-away party at the bar tonight.  I hope I don't cry.

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Would you talk candidly about your boss's management style?"

It is my last day at work, and in an attempt to keep myself here until my two week's was officially up, I volunteered to do two presentations. Today.  Simple things, but requiring two full hours.  One down, one to go, and the only people who came to the morning session were those that obviously wanted my position.  It was hilarious when I realized their interested faces were more like hungry hyena smiles.  I took the time to answer lots of questions.  But then came what I had been dreading: tell us what your boss is really like.

I don't write about it much in case this blog was ever linked to the real me, but our working relationship has been rather toxic.  We get things done, but I wouldn't say things ever worked well.  So, here I am on my last day, in a big open room with my boss across the hall, and someone asks me to describe her management style, candidly, and gives me a knowing smile. WTF, lady? I said, "You know, this may be my last day, but I still work here."  Despite myself, I described my boss's style in very professional terms and listed her visible cons in a more positive light than I've ever been able to talk about them.  Because that's what you do.  I didn't say, "Oh, she's great!" I said she was difficult, but got a lot done and there were lots of opportunities to excel.  Not to expect praise, even think you may be doing things wrong until you get a GREAT eval-- because she will tell you when you're effing up, but not when you're doing something right.  These are things that would have been great to know when I started, so I think I did the right thing.

The same woman emailed me later to wheedle out more details, but I will not oblige.  I don't really know her, and wouldn't want anything more candid coming back to my boss.

I think Allison Green would be proud of how I'm leaving my job: clean office, tour of the files, handbook, farewell email to all staff and patrons I've dealt with.  Tied up all loose ends, fixed things that needed fixing.  People are finally telling me what I needed to hear all along: you did a great job.  Why can't they tell you that before you leave?

Bonus: told to me by my boss, a faculty member worriedly asked her what was happening now that I was leaving, and asked, "Are you the new her?"