Mounting the Camel

Hasn’t it just been a TIME, lately?

Don’t worry though. The last thing I plan on doing is rehashing everything going in the world over the past several months as well as within my own ‘personal sphere’. I’ll keep it sweet and say that for me this time has been akin to riding the Tower of Terror except it’s broken, so you never exactly reach the top and might hang out a bit, but always drop dramatically without fail (is anyone surprised? probably not). For the time being though I’d say I’m taking the stairs back to the ground level…but I’m prepared for a Room 1408 twist at any moment.

In other news, I’d like to thank past me for scheduling re-posts from my old blog because seeing notifications pop on my screen was a cool surprise that brought real pep to my day- after initial confusion. I ended up spending my lunch reading through previous posts and was reinvigorated to- you guessed it! Mount the camel.

SIDE NOTE: I’m a huge fan of camels to the point where my partner surprised me with camel feeding…I’m about them.

Fear

It’s remarkable both how swift and unforgiving fear can be.

A solitary night enjoying YouTube videos shattering at the random outreach of another.

Slowly descending the stairs I make sure doors are locked and blinds shut. My feline lingers in my shadow, hesitating to follow, but rushing upstairs once I beckon.

A hesitant call to my partner temporarily eases my nerves- in minutes they are driving down. They keep me on the line.

I’m sitting in a corner of the office when they arrive. The house is dark and though I hear my partner’s voice…I say nothing.

As they enter the room, a dim computer screen reveals my spot in the corner.

For several moments we sit in silence. I can see them struggling to find words of comfort, but I don’t need them.

I’m just happy they came.

Results Are In: Back to Work I Go

Guess who’s test results came in today and were negative?!

That’s right! Me.

This means two things: a) I’m full time again {praise the gods} & b) I’m required to go into the office starting Monday.

While I am beyond grateful for remaining employed during all this and getting full time again…I’m a bit concerned about going back. I mean, as of now I’m the only one in the company who’s been tested meanwhile everyone else has been required to go into work like normal.

Back in March when I was first put on ‘work from home’ notice it made more sense since I’d just returned from Washington state and my area wasn’t on lock down yet. Fast forward almost two months though and we’re in an entirely different realm now. So for them to still have everyone coming in is…jarring? Bonkers? Confusing?

It’s strange how before my results came in I was looking at it from the perspective of: well, I don’t want to put anyone at risk; but now my perspective has become: aren’t they putting the entire staff- including themselves at risk by having everyone come in to such a small space?

Wary that I might be a bit biased, I spoke to my father and partner to get their opinions. My father was particularly annoyed, saying it didn’t make sense to have me be the only one tested under guise of “not knowing who I’ve been around” when the same could easily be said for the other employees. My partner also agreed, but added I should wear a mask into work.

So at the end of day there really is only one question: am I planning on going back into the office?

The answer? Of course I am because I need full time hours. Is the job something I could realistically continue to do from home? Yes and the past several weeks have proven that, but they want me in the office so into the office I go.

Photo by Damir Kopezhanov on Unsplash

Back to Work: Getting Tested

It’s finally happened.

After roughly a month and half spent working just over half-time from home; my boss’s boss has agreed to let me back full time! All I have to do is get tested for COVID-19 and show proof of a negative result. Easy enough, right? Well luckily I was able to both find a place willing to test asymptomatic subjects and schedule an appointment pretty quickly.

Fast forward to this morning and I was on the road for my swab test where things started to feel…pretty surreal as soon as I made it to the grounds.

So, my testing location was at a public park refitted for drive-thru testing. The moment you entered you were met with army personnel who instructed us to place our driver’s license and confirmation number on our dashboard. Once done we were allowed to join a single lane queue through the park. Eventually we hit the first checkpoint where more army personnel verified our names and appointments before writing “R” on the corner of our windshields. From there we continued along with personnel scattered about directing flow of traffic until we reached a big tent. Only about three cars were allowed underneath at a time where pairs of army and medical personnel were waiting. Here we put our cars in park while the pair determined our names, located our medical kits, each verified it, and then placed it under a windshield wiper. Next was the final checkpoint which consisted of three smaller tents. I was directed to the middle one where an army professional took my medical kit and read it over before checking if my phone number was accurate. After confirming, I was allowed to pull up a bit where a medical professional in full protective gear motioned me to park and roll down my window. They handed me a form explaining how to obtain my results then told me to sit back against the seat and look straight ahead.

For anyone who doesn’t know: the swab goes up your nose. And when I tell you I’ve never experienced anything like it…I’m not lying. It wasn’t necessarily a sharp pain, but it wasn’t a dull pain either which was mind boggling to me because I needed it to make up it’s mind. My eye was watering; I actually had to close my eyes at one point just to brace for it to be over, and when they took it out I kind of coughed/sputtered even. All around I’d just say it was pretty unpleasant (since I have no way to really describe it) and understandably so.

What made me feel bad was when they apologized for my (probably wild) reaction, meanwhile I just wanted to say, “No, thank you for testing me! Ignore me! I’d do it again!” Did I say this? Unfortunately, no. Instead I sort of laughed out of bewilderment which made them laugh a bit, so I’ve got that going for me.

Truthfully though, the most stressful part aside from securing an appointment was easily the forty minute drive there and back which is practically nothing. When it comes to things feeling surreal; however, it definitely had to do with all the army personnel. I mean, besides the maybe fifteen medical professionals I spotted- the rest were all army. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I just don’t think I’ve ever seen so many in one place not on a base (if that makes sense).

Everything ran super smoothly though. My appointment slot was 8:30. I arrived close to 8 and was on my way home closer to 9. Now I just have to wait a few days for my results and hope I’ll be able to work full time again.

Photo by vadim kaipov on Unsplash

A First: My Own Place

Sitting in my very first place having my first solo meal…I have to admit it’s kind of surreal.

I’ve had solo meals while living away from home in the past, but I was always in student housing which isn’t exactly ‘being on your own’ if you know what I mean. This time is an entirely different animal though. I’m on a lease, the internet is in my name, I have the numbers of both our landlord and handyman, AND I’m registered with the HOA.

It’s full on adulting time. Out of the nest. And it didn’t hit me until I started reheating my dinner.

My lovely partner’d found reasons to stay every night since the move in, but ultimately had to go, thus leaving me to my first night alone.

I keep looking back to my cat sleeping on a recliner I managed to snag and every time he’s still there- snoozing away. He’s not going anywhere because it’s just us. Even after I finish eating and cleaning he only perks up at the sound of dishes being put away. When I head to bed he trots along, hopping up to take my partner’s side. His head is snuggled against my side as I type with his little snores filling our space.

His first few days were a bit stressful, but he finally seems at ease. So at ease in fact, that he’s gone back to sleeping perpendicular (special thank you to the power of foresight for upgrading to a larger bed).

All in all it’s a new chapter and while it may not be starting in the best of global circumstances…it’s starting all the same and it’s mine.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Working from Home: Back to the Cave!

What. A. Day.

Where do I even begin on this…? I guess we’ll take it back twenty four hours when I got the amazing news that: my hours were being bumped up by four (I’m truly happy and not being sarcastic); my company is buying out my contract thus making me permanent; AND starting today I was allowed back in the office!

Side Note: I’d been working at home for almost three weeks at this point since returning from Washington State mid March.

Needless to say I was PUMPED this morning. I might have been a little slow to rise, but once I was up I kicked it into high gear. I put on some work clothes, took my cat to his veterinary appointment, then went off to work with my box of supplies and everything. When I got there my coworkers welcomed me back and caught me up to speed with the organized chaos which had become my desk. I met with one of head bosses to get an update on my employment; made sure my pay wouldn’t be taking a cut, then filled out the I-9 and W-4. I was able to fall right back in the groove while clearing the build up on my desk…the day was just flying by and I was feeling not only super productive, but also had peace of mind at being outside my house for a bit.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Without giving out too many details I’ll sum it up by saying the other head boss noticed my presence and immediately took issue with it. Within twenty minutes of him spotting me I was dismissed for the day to work from home until…who really knows. I said okay, let the other head boss know, then said my goodbyes before heading back on home.

Do I understand the concern? Of course I do which is why I wasn’t trying to plant my feet and say “I feel fine and should be allowed to stay“. Have I already quarantined for well past the recommended fourteen days? Yes. Has anyone who lives with me shown any symptoms? No. Does any of that really matter? I don’t necessarily think so.

Things are hectic right now and to me it would not only be selfish to argue, but unnecessary since I already have everything I need to work from home. If anything I think I was just kind of bewildered by the situation because of the spike in tension when I thought it had been a communal decision.

Weeelp. Back to working from home and listening to deep dive videos on YouTube!

Photo by Djurdjica Boskovic on Unsplash
P.S. I don’t drink coffee, BUT I couldn’t pass up the cool coaster in this picture!

Dungeons & Dragons: A First

Disclaimer: Technically, this is not my first crack at DnD. A few years back I tried with a couple friends who I’m sure would be very quick to agree when I say I wasn’t that into it. I created the character and everything, but when it came time to sit down I just didn’t have the confidence to really roleplay…BUT fast forward to being on quarantine and when my partner asked if I wanted to join his friends’ campaign- I thought: why the hell not?

And with that out of the way let’s jump right in!


PREPARATION

So the first step was to create a character. We used DnD Beyond to get it sorted which was perfect for a beginner since it really takes you through the steps and explains everything while also offering links, so you can open a bunch of tabs on the lore (i may or may not have done this). For those of you don’t know; there are so many freaking combinations you can do in this game it’s insane, but I eventually decided on an Air Genasi Rogue. If you were to ask why I chose that particular race and class then you’d be waiting a while because I haven’t a clue, haha.

For some reason I guess I thought we created our character’s backstory as we went through the campaign (don’t ask me why I thought this) and I was dead wrong. The DM informed us we needed to have the backstory fleshed out before game play which meant I went RIGHT back to DnD Beyond to learn more about the Air Genasi!

Side Note: just because you’ve selected your items does not mean they are equipped! make sure to equip!!!


GAME PLAY

In my experience, things tend to be slow to start when everyone is trying to find their groove and I’d say it was certainly true in this instance on my part. It was really cool to hear how everyone was getting into their characters to the point where I was so enthralled I actually forgot to introduce myself!

We played for roughly three and half hours which is far more than I was expecting, but now I can see how one session can go on for way longer. I mean, you just get so caught up in what’s going on that unless you experience burnout then what’s to stop you? Now I for one DO experience burnout (as I learned this past Saturday), so when the DM felt we reached a good stopping point I was internally grateful. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy myself though. We killed some orcs; I was able to negotiate for more gold; everyone was hilarious…It was solid.

My only real concern is I’m not as up to par as the others with verbal role playing which I already saw coming and am confident will kind of dissipate the longer we go. The other thing I think held it back a bit was; we’re using a group audio to chat and there are some minor bugs which can make it difficult to catch everything someone says/hear those who talk a bit quietly/the cutting out when more than one person talks at once. None of these things are that big a deal in my opinion since we managed pretty well, but I would say if anyone is doing a remote campaign then those would be the audio bugs to lookout for.

All in all though I’m really curious to see how things progress in the campaign since the DM said we’d already wildly flipped the script of what he expected us to do!

P.S. The way the dice determine everything in the game is honestly my favorite part. I don’t know if it’s because we’re using a virtual dice roller and I’m having to “beseech” the algorithm or what- but I love it.

Photo by Alperen Yazgı on Unsplash

Quarantine Revelations:Toxicity

With the way things are right now I don’t really see a point in talking about my personal day to day. I mean, plenty of us are experiencing variations of the same thing, so what more can I possibly add. Right?

For instance, in my case there are only three important (if we can even call them that) points: I was put on a ‘work from home’ order two week ago after returning from Washington state; with budget cuts I’m now working part time; everyone will be moving out of my home in a few weeks.

See my point? None of that is very worth noting aside from my privilege/luck of having a boss who fought and succeeded in keeping me employed (thank you *****!).


With all that out of the way I wanted to talk about something I’ve come to realize in these times of deep “self reflection” or what I like to call: I now have no distraction from self reflection and over thinking. So, what is this thing I’ve discovered about myself? Well, I’m pretty sure I’m a toxic friend and it’s put me in a position where I think maybe all this social distancing would do me good in kind of stepping away from things and out of tropes…if that makes sense?

I guess given all the added stress on everyone right now I’d rather not add unnecessary fuel to the fire.

If you’re wondering how I know I’m a toxic friend; such as if I was told in some way or snooped or something… I suppose the answer is no. It’s more: I was having a conversation with a friend about an issue we had and certain verbiage they used kind of struck a cord in me. Think of a light bulb moment, but instead of discovering Shirokuma Cafe you get hit with a wave of ‘I really must be trash‘ & ‘I’m surprised they haven’t chucked me‘.


On a completely unrelated note I was told I may or may not be adjusting well to quarantine and lack of human contact. Do I agree with this? No idea. I’ve been viewing it as a lesser issue in the grand scheme of everything happening right now. Is this the best stance to take? Who knows.

Anyway, this was my attempt at articulating my current thoughts and feelings in a way which hopefully made sense. I went back and forth on how to possibly close out the post for a while, but I think I’m going to have to just end it here.

Dragon Con!!!

It’s official people! As of last week I’m going to be experiencing Dragon Con for the first time!

I’d definitely heard about this convention before, but…I guess I took the name literally and just assumed it was a “dragon convention”. Don’t know what that means? Don’t worry because no one else did either! So in my mind I was picturing scale armor and everything related to dragons be it shows, movies, books, comics, games, etc.

Turns out I was partially right since it has those things, but I also missed the bar because it pretty much has everything. I didn’t realize this until I met my partner who goes every year and summed it up as, “five days of nonstop convention and partying“. I’m not going to front as if I’m a big partier, but the idea of going to the largest convention in my region for five days… Let’s just say it’s time to get these cosplays ready!

So far I’ve decided on Shego (just ordered the wig), Princess Kida (the costume is in process), Miles Morales (my partner gave me the site they use for full body suits), and my favorite of Dracula’s brides (gotta save one as a secret).

I know the convention is a little under seven months away, but I’m so excited! I’m definitely planning on taking pictures and possibly a video…well we’ll have to see about the video, but why not?

Photo by eniko kis on Unsplash

Disagreements

It’s very rare my mom and I have a disagreement. Maybe once every one to three years we have a blow out, then after a few days we reconcile. Since our last blow out; at least two years ago now, I made an effort to not bottle things up and effectively voice my opinions with her without freaking out- specifically if she threw out the tried and true “you’re too sensitive” comment or some variation of it.

Now putting aside the dismissive everything about that phrase and how it makes me go from 15 to 70…I’ll get back on track.

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Vasilopita!!!

If you have no idea what the title of this post means then do not fear because the first time I heard it I didn’t either.

Vasilopita is a Greek tradition celebrated on New Year’s Day where a family or group cut a loaf of bread or cake to see who managed to get the single coin baked inside. Whoever has the coin has luck for the whole year.

In my family it’s my step-father who cuts the cake, then everyone selects a piece for themselves. For anyone who isn’t present at the time; we wrap a slice and set it aside.

In 2019 I wasn’t around for the cutting, so a few days later I opened my saved slice and guess what I found…That’s right! I found the coin!

Looking back on 2019 I can truly say there were some not too great moments (which are always going to happen) and there were a lot of really awesome moments: I found a job with an amazing work environment. I’m in a relationship with someone who loves me and trash T.V. I went to New York City for the first time. I went back to Chicago for New Years. I got to experience snow. I met my savings goal for the year. My skin cleared up a lot…It was great.

But 2019 is over and you know what that means? Time for VASILOPITA!!!

This time we waited until my siblings and I were all back together to cut the cake and do you know who won? ME. AGAIN. Reigning champion over here and I was one of the last to pick a slice!

Anyway, I know this is a super late New Year’s post, but here’s to 2020!

P.S. the uproar from my siblings when i found it again was hilarious

Photo by Matt Hoffman on Unsplash

Holiday Matsuri 2019!

The holiday season is here and what’s a better way to kick it off than going to a convention!?

Now if there’s anyone who hasn’t heard of Holiday Matsuri; never fear- because I only heard about it a few weeks beforehand and can sum it up pretty cleanly. So as the name suggests it’s holiday themed convention held in Orlando every December. A lot of cosplayers go as “holiday” versions of characters and just as many more simply go as their character of choice.

I went as a Star Fleet cadet and a certain Disney princess that I’ve been wanting to cosplay for YEARS. I honestly didn’t think it would happen, but thanks to my partner and his cosplay savvy crew I had a costume AND a staff! All I had to figure out was where to get the wig (Etsy).

To be honest I didn’t think anyone would really pay me any mind at Holmat. After all, I arrived late the first night and threw on a Star Fleet cadet uniform to hang out in the lobby. The way I saw it: I was neither holiday themed or Anime, so I’d just fall into the background.

Turns out I was wrong. Within fifteen minutes of hanging out I was approached by a videographer asking if he could take a video of me. ME. As in someone who had never done a video for ANYONE EVER IN MY LIFE. Did I do the video? Of course! Did I ask a lot of questions about what they wanted? Most definitely. I was even complimented for walking ‘regally’ which is something I’d never heard before- it warmed my heart so much though.

Being back in an environment where so many people are wearing what they please and having fun without a care in the world really helped me start to come out of my shell for the first time in a while. I hadn’t been to a convention since Summer and had all but accepted it would probably be my last. None of my local friends were really interested in conventions and my remote friends were never in town when they happened (I’m not the type to go by myself). This is why I really owe a huge thanks to my partner for not only inviting me and bringing me into his amazing friend group, but also for reigniting the convention spark in me!

By the time we left I’d already confirmed I was going to Dragon Con 2020 as well as at least two other conventions. Not to mention I already have cosplay ideas in the works!

I guess all that’s left would be for me to share a picture, but not only did I not take any pictures of myself…I also didn’t take any pictures of anything else…Oops. Maybe next time though.

[the amazing picture above is not of me]

And…We’re Back!

I know this post is BEYOND late (since I got back from New York City a little over two weeks ago– my bad!), but I said I’d do an update so I’m doing the dang update because accountability is key, folks!

I’ll get this started by being upfront in saying I unfortunately didn’t end up going to any of the bug restaurants…Was it the only thing I said I really wanted to do while in the city? Why yes it was and thanks for remembering. In the end though the timing just didn’t work out with everyone else arriving from out of town and group dinner plans before the party, so it has been shelved for next time.

Side Note: I may or may not be looking into bug restaurants in Chicago for our New Years trip.

Anyway, we did go to Times Square and Central Park which was way different from what I was expecting as someone who’s only ever seen it on the screen.

Let’s start with Times Square which is somehow both smaller and larger than I expected. I’d say it’s smaller in the sense that I always thought it was one slab of concrete encompassing everything with cars only driving on the very edges. Turns out there are multiple intersections/roads running through it which definitely made it feel larger walking-wise.

To be completely transparent though; I wasn’t even fully sure when it actually started, so my perception could be off one hundred percent.

Now as for Central Park…I mean, you know it’s big and then you’re in it and you’re just thinking: Yeah, there’s no way we’re seeing all of this today or even half of this.

This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy seeing the sites because I did and I would love to go back with a few days to really explore; it’s just that wild feeling when you finally see something in person and get that reality check.

Back to the most important thing though: food.

Let me just say that my partner’s friends really knew what they were doing when it came to feeding us and I was SO appreciative. We went to an amazing Yakitori spot, Hot Pot, HIDDEN FOOD COURT, and random snack spots that were just so spot on. For being there less than 48 hours I still don’t know how we managed to fit in so much eating, but I’m definitely not complaining. I mean, I got to try macaroni and cheese pizza!

I honestly left New York City realizing just how few options there are where I currently live. Do we have good food? Yes, but we hands down don’t have the range or creativity New York City has.

The Halloween party was also the first house party I think I’ve ever truly enjoyed. Everyone really took the costume theme to heart, there was good food (the pizza!), the drink selection was vast (I found out I’m a Yogurt Soju fan!), the drinking games were wild and intense, people who couldn’t make it in person were on video call with the party…

It was a really fun time. My partner’s friends are awesome. I plan on going back to New York City at some point. I can’t wait to meet the full group next month and I apologize for taking so long to write this because now I’ve forgotten all the names of the food places (once again, my bad!).

Unemployment: The Waiting Game

As of today I have been unemployed for 18 days.

In that time I’ve gone on two interviews; one last Wednesday and another yesterday morning. Ideally, I’ll receive a call back by the end of this week. Cynically, I’ll remain on the grind of job searching.

It’s strange. In the past my jobs always overlapped with exceptions being when I returned from abroad. This time; however, the business simply closed and I’m not sure if it makes sense to say, but: it feels like a bleak right of passage into adulthood.

Obviously, I don’t want to make it seem “rad” as if it’s a box on the ‘adulthood check list‘ or something, but I’d be lying if I said I’ve never met an adult who hadn’t been unemployed for an extended period.

Now since my current stint is pretty new/short, I want to instead highlight a conversation had with a friend. Turns out she’d been unemployed for six months, found a job, and was then fired a month and a half into it. She explained how she began to feel useless because she wasn’t ‘contributing to society’ and fell into a depression. Being fired was understandably a huge blow after everything and it had taken a lot for her to get to a good place again. Even with all the self progress though, there was still the looming knowledge of her savings running low and her still being unemployed.

So what do you do in that situation? I’m sure there are countless different answers and thankfully she wasn’t asking for advice.

Listening to her purge frustrations and feelings helped put a lot in perspective for me. Truthfully, there was a small voice in the back of my mind asking: is this where I’m headed in the long run? But mainly it reinforced the reality of what a fortunate spot I’m in with my current living situation.

Do I feel like a loser because I’m not working? Yes, but I’m luckily in a spot where I can wait for a job of equal or higher value to my last position. So long as I’m doing my due diligence in applying to jobs and going to interviews then I should be content…right?

Side Note: There’s this other voice in my head saying, “if you really need a job then get a lower paying one. get a part time one.” and I’m torn.

It’s Time for a Vacation!

Full disclosure it probably isn’t the best time for a vacation given the recent unemployment situation and all, BUT…I already paid for the flights well in advance and considering it’s only a weekend trip- it won’t interfere with possible interview dates.

Anyway! Now that we’ve covered the responsible adult take; we can now look at the fun stuff. such as the main question: Where am I going? Well, it’s none other than The Big Apple also known as; Empire City, The City That Never Sleeps, The Capital of The World, and…uh…New York City!

It’s going to be my first time (whoop whoop!) and I’m literally flying up tonight for a party tomorrow to then fly back Sunday.

My boyfriend told me we’re going out with friends once we land, so I’m honestly not sure how much of NYC I’m about to see in the daytime, but…I’m really all about the food. In fact, I really want to to go to one of the restaurants that serve bugs (I can thank Adam Conover for that!).

Now let’s get this show on the road because I just got my final paycheck and have an interview on Monday!

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash