World mental health day / Nat’l coming out day 2017

These days occur consecutively every year – October 10th and 11th.  It’s a good chance to kind of look back and take stock.  And to see where I was at; here’s what I wrote last year:
World mental health day / Nat’l coming out day 2016

Before talking about this year, I just want to note that last year I said,  “I’d say within the next 6 months I’ll be out at work and everywhere else.  I look forward to the day that my driver’s license, signature, little plastic rectangle on the custodial office, Facebook page, the words out of teachers’ and co-workers’ mouths, and everything else, all say the same thing!”  I’ve reached that point!!!  Well, everything except that little plastic rectangle, but that is in-process (see below)!

This past year in my mental health landscape:  I thought I was stable in a way that couldn’t be rocked, but actually I ended up back in the hospital again with another manic / psychotic episode.  I know my loved ones went through a lot of stress and strife, but, in comparison to past episodes, this felt like a breeze, and it even felt healing in many ways.  I do want to try to write about this, but I’m not quite there yet.  Hopefully soon.  I spent two months out of work, I got raised to triple my prior dose of Seroquel (a drug I continue to like a lot – a first for me), and now I’m down to double my prior dose.  I’m off of any antidepressants right now.  I’m worried I will lapse into another depression, but so far, so good.  I’m starting to finally address the issues I’m having with oversleeping.  But, to be honest, if oversleeping is the worst thing to come out of being in a really good place mentally otherwise, then so be it, I guess…  For now at least.

In terms of National Coming Out Day, coming out is happening all the time, and I’m glad to be in a place where I’m neither invisible nor fearful of having to come out again and again and again.  I love every opportunity.  Take yesterday for example:  I didn’t realize it was National Coming Out Day until that night when I went on facebook after work.  And during that day, I had two instances of coming out.  While I was working in the cafeteria during lunch, a kid asked me, “Are you a boy?”  I replied, “I’m neither.  I’m a little bit of both.”  He replied, “Really?!”  And I said, “Yeah!”  I had a big smile on my face.  Then later in the afternoon, I realized that my new boss(?) got his plastic rectangle with his name “engraved” and it was now on the custodial door, and I’ve been waiting for mine since January, when I changed my name.  So instead of getting worked up about that, I just wrote down on a piece of paper what I wanted (so there’d be no confusion) and explained to the administrative assistant that Mr. [last name] has his on the door and I’ve been waiting for mine.  She apologized for forgetting to include mine in the order, and said she would go ahead and order mine.  I gave her the paper:  It said, “Mx. [last name].”  She verbalized that back to me to make sure it was right, and I said, “Yep.”  I should have that up hopefully within a couple of weeks, finally.  This feels like such a victory!

There’s one other thing I want to mention regarding mental health:  I started listening exclusively to a new-to-me podcast.  By this, I mean, I listen to podcasts every day while at work.  And previously, that would be somewhere between 5-8 different ones at any given time.  Right now, for whatever reason, I’m just listening to one, all day every day.  I’m sure I’ll get tired of it and get back to some of my other ones, but for now, it’s pretty mesmerizing.  If you’re interested in checking it out, it’s called the Mental Illness Happy Hour.  It is definitely not for the faint of heart.  The host jokes that he does not give advanced notice for triggers because he would have to stop every couple of minutes to announce another Trigger Warning.  And it is absolutely true.  There is a lot of stuff about abuse of all kinds, dark secrets and shame, both sexual in nature and just like, the kinds of stuff that randomly pops in your head and you hate yourself for thinking it.  The host lightens things up by being in turns uplifting and darkly humorous.  Each show is somewhere between 2-3 hours (!?!), and he’d read people’s surveys they’ve sent in anonymously, and he will also interview one person per show.  He’s doing all this seemingly on his own, and he’s making a living off of it.  I’m kinda obsessed right now.


A local doctor was fired for providing HRT

This actually happened a few months ago – she was fired from a nearby college on May 24th.  It’s only now hitting larger news outlets because there are now three state-level civil rights complaints, trying to get her re-instated.  I read about it in the newspaper while at work, yesterday.

She was treating transgender students who came to her with a previous diagnosis.  She was definitely qualified to do so, having gone through many hours of training in trans-health care, attending a conference sponsored by WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health), etc.  She was doing this at the college’s expense, which just makes it seem like it was condoned by the college, right?!!

WPATH’s stance is, “With appropriate training, …hormone therapy can be managed by a variety of providers, including nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and primary care physicians.”  Apparently, this was outside the scope of what the Student Health Center did, but this was never communicated to her.  The termination came from out of the blue.

Hormones are prescribed for other reasons at the health center, with no problem.  Birth control, ovarian disease, and low testosterone are all treated regularly.

Interestingly, the information on the Student Health Center’s website changed two months after her firing:  While it had said, “comprehensive primary care,” and “continuity of care,” it now says, “basic primary care” and has no mention of continuous care.  At least they’re being accurate about the downgrade???

This just angers me to no end because this doctor took it upon herself to step it up and become well versed in an area that, for whatever reason, makes so many medical professionals so squeamish and stand-offish.  And if this was something she did of her own volition, and it was well within the standards of care, then back it up!  What was the university afraid of?  There are standards in this field, despite the fact that the medical professions are grotesquely behind the curve with this, in general.  A bunch of transgender students were left in the lurch.

The college’s associate vice president of student wellness was quoted as saying, “We are fortunate to be situated in [city], where there is a strong medical community rich with resources.”  As if to say that students can just go elsewhere.  I’ve tried “elsewhere” around here, as an adult, and it was a super-frustrating process.  If I think back to who I was at age 18 or 19, disrupted care at the on-campus center in this regard would have definitely sent me into a tailspin and/or mental health crisis.  I would have felt like I didn’t have the means or psychic energy to find out another path.  I would have felt deeply cut, in a personal way, by my institution’s sudden change in policy.

It just seemed like this college was at the forefront – it could have laid the groundwork for other area places of higher education to follow.  And then it just took a huge leap back into the wrong direction.  One step forward, two steps back sometimes I guess, right?

I had a bunch of problems with getting continuous care.  I was first getting hormones from a sketchy-ass doctor.  I finally felt so disgusted with his practice that I sought out another path.  I went to one specifically because she was listed as being LGBT friendly and knowledgeable.  That ended up being wrong basically – she told me she didn’t know how she had gotten on that resource list.  I had to have a pretty heated conversation with her – her stance first was that I could come to her for primary care, but I should continue to get my hormone prescriptions through that other doctor.  I told her I wasn’t going to do that.  She told me this was beyond her scope and if she had a male patient with low-testosterone, she would not even monitor him for that reason.

We finally landed on a compromise.  She would continue to prescribe what I was already at, and she would monitor that.  If I wanted to make any changes though, I would have to do that through other means.

When I did want to make other changes, I first got on a long waiting list for an LGBT-specific clinic.  I kept hearing negative stories about the quality of care there, so I decided to also try another approach:  an endocrinologist.  I had to get on a long waiting list for that, as well.  I’ve been going there since January, and so far, I’m happy because I don’t have to deal with the PCP anymore.  Getting an endo was not like adding yet another medical professional and another series of appointments.  It was more like, instead.  Unless I get like, a rash or something, then I’d go back to my PCP.

All of this was hard enough, and I am an adult who has worked really hard at advocating for myself.  Thinking back to who I was as a student I would have withered under this kind of stress.  Students need to be able to access trans-specific care on their campuses.  Period.

A note about the lack of specifics in this post:  I left out the doctor’s name and the name of the college, city, etc. because that’s been the way I’ve always operated with this blog, in order to keep some anonymity.  I’m not sure anymore whether it’s all necessary, but I’m not about to try to figure that out here-and-now.  If you’d like specifics and the names of the sources I got a lot of this information from, just leave a comment, and I’ll get back to you!

 


3 ways I have asserted my gender identity, recently

As top surgery results and testosterone have been working their magic, I have felt less hung up on how I am perceived.  This is great news!  I feel less drained when I go out in public, generally.  I’ve taken things into my own hands when I feel like I’ve needed to, and this had not been psychically difficult, by any means!  Here are some ways I have been true to my non-binary identity:

1.  I Tampered With My Driver’s License.
Since I don’t live in Oregon or California, I still have to legally be either “Male” or “Female.”  Although I legally changed my name to something more masculine, I opted to remain “female,” legally.  This has led to feelings of dysphoria, but being “male” would have anyway, as well.  So, as of a few months ago, I decided to put a bright neon sticker over my “Sex” on my driver’s license.  At first it was neon orange.  Currently it’s neon green.  The color doesn’t make too much of a difference – just the fact that no one can see whether it’s “M” or “F” is huge for me.  I’ve shown it at the pharmacy, bought beer with it, gotten “carded” at restaurants, shown it to bouncers at bars and nightclubs.  No one has commented or had an issue with it – they just need to know how old I am, and that I am who I say I am!  That’s it.  (As an aside, when I traveled abroad, I did take the sticker off, because I didn’t think TSA agents would be too thrilled about that…)

2.  School Pictures
I am an elementary school janitor – every year, I go through the same routines:  first day of school, winter concerts, spring concerts, curriculum nights, open house, book fair, the 5th grade breakfast, last day of school, etc.  No one can forget school pictures!  They happen within the first weeks of school – this year, it was a week ago, today.  As a staff member, I have to participate, and then I get some free photos, and I get a sheet of all the faculty and staff, every year.  In the past, I have gone by the initials that I used to go by, which was “KT” and then [last name].  Unless I wasn’t feeling like speaking up (which was the case on a couple of occasions) I made sure the picture company had me down as “KT” instead of “Mrs.,” “Ms.,” or “Mr.”  This year, surprisingly, I “passed” as male, as I saw the picture lady write down, “Mr.” and then ask me what my last name is.  Without hesitating, I gave her my last name (new, legally changed), and then said, “Can you change that ‘Mr.’ to ‘Mx.’?  It’s neither ‘Mr.’ nor ‘Ms.’ ”  She replied, “I guess I can,” and I watched her cross out what she had and re-write “Mx.”  It was awesome!  I kinda can’t wait to get my sheet of faculty and staff photos this year.

3.  Playing It By Ear, As I Go
This last one is a bit of a contradiction -I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I cannot assert my non-binary identity in every and all cases, so, if people are given a heads-up that I’ve changed my name and pronouns, in some situations, that is good enough.  Especially at work.  Teachers have been great about switching over.  And I honestly don’t know how many of them get the nuances I’ve tried to convey.  A couple of them for sure, because they asked me questions, and I had some really satisfying conversations.  But in addition to this, there’s a larger group of people who are slowly hearing about it (or not) by word of mouth – mainly buildings and grounds workers.  Electricians, plumbers, HVAC specialists, people I see now and then, but certainly not every day.  If they get that I am a trans-person, and they are respectful, then, that is good enough.  There’s this one guy who is over at our school a lot.  A few weeks ago, he took me aside, and, obviously nervous about the exchange, he said, “So, I just want to know, because we are friends… It’s Kameron now?”  He was just verifying something he wanted to make sure he was getting right, and, in my eyes, I was really psyched about this because he’s a guy that I think other workers look up to.  So, the more positivity around it, the better.  The less nasty gossip behind my back, the better.  And, to that end, I just went to a union meeting two days ago, and the secretary addressed me by my old moniker, “KT.”  I almost didn’t correct her, because… I don’t know… the picking your battles thing, I guess.  BUT!  Someone else corrected her, someone that I didn’t know knew yet!  And so, I riffed off of that, asserting, “Yep, it’s Kameron now.  I changed my name.”  She shrunk into herself at hearing that, but, whatever.  Another buildings and grounds guy took it from there, telling me loudly that his “niece” just transitioned recently into his “nephew.”  We sat down and continued to converse so that anyone and everyone could hear, if they tuned in.  He was just overjoyed to be accepting “Shane,” his middle-school-aged family member.   At no point did I try to assert that I was neither male nor female.  If he got the gist that I am trans, and he spreads the word with a positive attitude, then that is better than good enough.  Acceptance, even if limited in understanding, is still worth it!


I was in Turkey and Greece!

So I went on a really big trip this summer – I visited my brother!  I flew into Istanbul, stayed with him there for two nights, and then we rented a car and went up to Sile on the Black Sea, Yalova on the Marmara Sea, the city of Bursa, and Ayvalik on the Aegean Sea.  We took a ferry to the Greek island of Lesbos / Midilli.  We also saw ancient ruins in Bergama and went to a Turkish bath with natural hot springs in Inegol.  We crammed a lot into 10 days!  This was my first time overseas since 11th grade, when I took a class trip to England and Scotland.  It was the first time I’d seen my brother in three years – it was pretty great to reconnect.  We did lots of swimming and hiking and we also went to a Whirling Dervishes festival, which was going on continuously for 114 days of summer.

If you wanna read more, I wrote about this trip, through the lens of someone who is non-binary, here!  I wrote about TSA stuff, but more excitingly, I wrote about feeling more comfortable in a “male” role in a way that I am not, in America.  I even swam without a shirt on, in front of others – something that I didn’t plan on ever doing!
Traveling Non-Binary:  Gender Perceptions in Two Cultures

The website is called Transgender Universe, and I’ve written for them before (this is my 4th piece).  I like switching it up with blog writing every now and then.


Summer of t-shirts #10

This is the latest in a series of posts I’ve been making, after top-surgery, to show off some of my favorite t-shirts I never got to wear!

I got this t-shirt at a thrift store, but I can’t remember when or where.  I’m gonna venture a guess that it was at the Goodwill, somewhere from 2004-2007.  I’ve never seen Mad Max, and it was only through other people telling me what it was, when I would layer this shirt under a hoodie or flannel, that I knew!  Here’s a film still for comparison:

I mostly like this shirt fits, more than anything else.  I love the line across the top, disregarding the human form completely, just a turquoise line designating a box, a square fit, as if we were all Mad Max muscle men.  That’s about all I have to say about this shirt!  If I ever see the movie, maybe I’ll update this post with more information!


Happy pride weekend, much belated

So, our city celebrates Pride long after the anniversary of Stonewall, for some strange reason.  It is always the 2nd full week in July, with the parade and festival and picnic landing right in the middle of July.  I was overly busy at that time, and kept stalling on writing a re-cap.  But I feel motivated, largely because it’s something I’ve kept up with every year, thus far.  Here are posts about past Prides!

Happy pride weekend, and The People
Happy pride weekend and BRAWL
Happy pride weekend

This year, I had ideas for what to do in the parade, but had zero time for prep-work.  Good thing I had a lot of stuff on hand!  I woke up at 9am and needed to meet my spouse’s employer’s group (a Food Co-op) by 12:45, about 2.5 miles from our house.  This proved difficult because I had a funky ride I was trying to pedal (see below!)  The store had no cohesion – it was a total free for all.  In the past, we’ve handed out coupons, or people have walked with a shopping cart, dressed as vegetables.  But there was nothing like that this time ’round.

PARTY BIKE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I tricked out a clown bike I got from a friend with balloons and signs that said, “WAYO 104.3” and “Kryptic Pop Thrills” (just because I wanted to do some self promotion for the fact that I am a radio DJ!) plus I made a sign for my spouse that said, “Summer of Love Trumps Hate.”  The theme of the parade was Summer of Love.  I brought a boombox for my sister-in-law (actually, she gave me the boombox for xmas one year), and we played an old mix tape entitled “Pride Parade Jamz” – a remnant of a parade of yore, in which my drag buddy and I marched to the beat of our own drum.  I was dressed as a snazzy mis-matched dandy bicyclist, and my spouse was dressed in some sort of psychedelic fashion.  It was us, 3 friends, two shareholders with their kid / toddler, sister-in-law, and a former employee with his wife and baby.  I was sometimes pedaling / sometimes walking, straddling the bike.  I was alternately shouting about WAYO, the Co-op, and Pride.  I handed out pop rocks to like 5 kids, and a whole movie-theatre-sized spree to a group of teenagers, and sweet tarts to an unsuspecting woman who was wearing a t-shirt that said, “Vagetarian.”  I told her I liked her shirt because I am a “Sagittarius.”  I realize this doesn’t make total sense, but if you say the words out loud, they sound close enough!  I also told an audience participant that he “looks just like Boy George,” and I got my pic taken a lot and I hugged a lot of friends on the sidelines, if I was fortunate enough to spot them.

 

Afterwards, we skipped the festival and just hung out at home.  Later, I texted my friend who had given me the bike, and they had vague plans to go to a gay bar, but he quickly changed his mind and said they’d meet at this new bowling alley, etc. which is what I suggested.  This place is insane.  It is a warehouse turned bowling alley / ping pong, ski ball, shuffleboard, astroturf lawn games / restaurant / whiskey bar / cocktail bar.  The four of us chatted in a super animated way for about an hour, and I was in bed by 9:30.

I also participated in an event at our local art gallery, the following day, which was new for me.  I got roped in, last minute, to set up a table to show some historical / archival gay stuff from our city over the years (I just got connected to do this based on some old photos and things I had been posting on facebook to gear up for Pride!)  The event was not super well attended or anything (people were probably busy day drinking and picnicking) but I had a lot of fun anyway.  I got to meet some people and explore the art gallery (there was a specific video installation of a drag queen which was sooooo amazing!)

My spouse’s family met us down there, and we then went out to eat and then to a movie.

I loved the fact that I saw every one of my spouse’s immediate family members over the course of the Pride Weekend!


Summer of t-shirts #9

This post is a continuation I started last summer, basically in celebration of the fact that I can now wear t-shirts without feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious.  Hooray for top-surgery, which was now a year and two months ago.

This beautiful specimen of a shirt was uncovered in a thrift store in Spencer, MA, just outside of Worchester, last summer while my spouse and I were visiting one of my friends from high school, and her husband and toddler.  In case it’s hard to make out the print, this says,

 

“THE MORAL MAJORITY IS NEITHER.”

What does that mean???  At first, I didn’t know, and I don’t have a smart phone to “gooooogle” the phrase ASAP, so I just bought it an forgot about it.  I did know I needed to have it, but I wasn’t going to start flaunting it until I found out what it was all about.  I had a vague recollection of the term “moral majority” and that it was bad according to me (It really does just sound bad!!!), but that was about it.

I’m sure there’s more to the story, but according to wikipedia, the Moral Majority was a political organization started by Jerry Fallwell (The New Christian Right), mostly active in the 1980s.  Critics started stating that “The Moral Majority is neither,” meaning the organization was neither moral nor a majority, and the slogan spread to bumper stickers, and other “swag” items.

This appears to be a homemade t-shirt from that time period (I’m following clues from the tag of the shirt.  I could be mistaken), and it seems like it’s iron-on letters that are slightly felted.  This added to me falling in love with this shirt.  I feel that it is a good time and place to be wearing this t-shirt out and about, frequently, and proudly!


6 months on testosterone

Today is 6 months on 50ml injections / week.  I didn’t know I would end up liking it as much as I am.  At this rate, I may be on it for a while, whereas previously I was thinking roughly 6-8 months.

I have not noticed anything major since the 3 month mark, except for probably just my voice, and also some psychological changes, which can be chalked up to any number of different things, first and foremost my “mood disorder” and the tweaking of my psychotropic meds.  (All for the better, thankfully!)

I also just celebrated 4 years with wordpress (got a notification from the company haha)!  That’s pretty cool – I’ve been writing roughly once a week this entire time.  I have over 200 posts “published.”

Also, locally, we just celebrated pride in our mid-sized city.  We’re always a month behind everywhere else with that.  Why?  I have no idea!  But I definitely do love the fact that it’s in mid-July as opposed to June.  It makes it all the more easier for me to be involved, with work and everything else going on with the end of the school year.  I’ll be making a post about that, as I do every year, for sure!

Speaking of work, I will be going back to work tomorrow, finally.  I’m neither nervous, worried, or anxious.  I’ll just see what’s what when I get there.  I have been out for 2 months.  Since my hospitalization in mid-May.  That is a long time to be out.  It has been relaxing, exciting, productive, and eye-opening.  I hope I can keep that feeling with me as I go back to the drudgery of a 40hr / week routine.

Hey, my T shot is also tomorrow, so I can have that to look forward to, at the same time.  And, the fact that I’ll be working again does not negate all the awesome things I’ve been up to.  Gonna try being more social and friendly and network-y.  Wish me luck!

Also, here’s my face:

6 months!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

before injections

 

 

 

 

 


We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology

A few days ago, I found out about an upcoming project called We’re Still Here:  An All-Trans Comics Anthology, edited by Tara Avery and Jeanne Thornton.  It is slated to be released in January, pending enough funding through their kickstarter campaign.  When I first checked it out, it had been “live” for one day, and had already reached $15,000 of it’s $17,000 goal. Today, a mere 5 days later?!!!  It’s at $35,126 – more than double of that goal!!!

That means, I’m assuming, that the artists are going to get paid even more $$.  They were going to be getting paid $25 per page – I wonder if that’ll get raised to $50 / page.  Hopefully!

I pre-ordered my copy and cannot wait to get to read it in its entirety!

In the meantime, I asked one of the authors, whom I met online through a Facebook group, how they got started / how they found out about contributing.

Me: How did you get into graphic arts? Do you have formal training or are you mostly self-taught?

Kyri:I have been drawing since I was old enough to have motor control to move a crayon around, and telling stories for almost as long as that. My early focus was on animals, but I branched out to people, stories, and comics in late elementary school when I discovered manga. That’s held on for the long haul. I went to a liberal arts school instead of a traditional art school, which turned out better for comics anyway because I could minor in creative writing. I focused mostly on printmaking in college, which translates really well to comics – a lot of thinking in sharp black and whites and the graphic quality of lines, and how a reproduced image reaches large audiences.

Me:  How did you first hear about this project?

Kyri: I’m part of a comic creator’s group in Boston, the Boston Comics Roundtable, and someone there signal boosted the open call for submissions – I can’t for the life of me remember who. I almost didn’t send in a submission packet, and actually ended up submitting something a week late, because I was a little intimidated by the people in charge and the people who were already part of the project. I’m so glad I pushed past my fears, though, and I’m really excited to be published alongside all these fantastic trans artists

Me:How did you narrow down the story that you wanted to tell? Is it your “quintessential” coming-out story, of sorts, or something more tangential?

Kyri:I knew when I first saw the open call and the concept for the anthology that I wanted to do something about my bodily experience with both gender dysphoria and chronic illness. I have fibromyalgia and hypermobile joints, and it really affects how I’m able to present on any given day. Binding can really hurt my ribcage if I’m not careful, and sometimes the compression just ends up hurting my muscles because of the constant contact, even if I’m binding correctly. Being chronically ill also means I’m not as fit as I once was, and the extra weight means I get misgendered constantly, even when I am attempting to present androgynous/masculine. I think that most people tend to think of the thin attractive model of androgyny when they think of what it means to be agender or demigender, and there’s just not enough discussion around diversity of trans bodies outside of our community. There’s also this pervasive and weird idea that you can only be “one thing” so convincing people I’m both trans AND have an invisible disability is an ordeal sometimes. I wanted to do something to touch on all of that, and ended up with an autobio comic in which my body is compared to a house.

Kyri Lorenz:  Hailing from the mountains of Northern Colorado, Kyri Lorenz is an agender jack-of-all-trades creator with a long history of meddling with concepts of nature and identity. If it involves creation and inspiration, Kyri is there, getting their mitts all over it and learning how best to make it serve their whims. Most of the time, this is easy and the technique or medium is more than happy to comply. Sometimes, it takes a little more finagling, but there’s always something to show for it at the end.

They got their BA in Visual Arts from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, and are currently living and working in Cambridge, MA. See more of their work at kyrianne.com.

There is still roughly one month left to pre-order your copy, and to get additional perks if you’re into that.  Just click on this donate link!  DONATE NOW.


Summer of t-shirts #9

One year ago today, take or leave a day or two, I was at an incredible record store in Concord, NH.  I was still recuperating from top surgery, but the worst of it was over, so my spouse and I went on vacation for a week.  (OK, for her it was only a partial vacation – she was scheduled to attend a conference for work in Concord for 2 days.

We first went to Greenfield, Northampton, and Worcester, MA to visit friends.  We went hiking, swimming (well, for me, it was only up to my torso cuz of surgery), blueberry picking, and shopping.  We visited a botanical garden at Smith College, and when we got rained out, we ended up on the semi-precious gemstone wing of the science building.  We also tried a Gose-style beer for the first time, and we watched Straight Outta Compton one night after the baby / toddler went to bed.

After all that fun stuff, we headed up to New Hampshire, and pretty much parted ways for the next two days because my spouse had work to do.  It was awesome!  We first went to the local co-op together to load up on snacks and drinks.  After that, we just crashed at this hotel that was getting paid for by her employer.  I hadn’t stayed at a hotel in roughly 10 years at that point, so the novelty factor was HUGE!  I just kept getting ice from the ice machine, checking out other places my key card gave me access to (like the gym and pool, even though I could barely utilize these perks).

On the one day, I basically walked up and down the main street and did whatever I could do, for a full morning and afternoon.  This involved spending many many hours in this old-time-y record store.  I even bought a t-shirt from them, to commemorate the experience:

I liked it because it is an iconic image that literally has a pitchfork in it.  And often, “pitchfork” and music are synonymous in this way:  pitchfork.com

But I strongly feel that this record store preceded the website by many many years.  OK, so I just had to follow through and look it up:  The store launched in 1973, while pitchfork.com launched in 1995.

It appears as if not much has changed in this store since 1973, which is why I was so happy to just go treasure hunting in there for hours- I got a bunch of cassette tapes that had never been opened, for like a dollar each.  And I got soooooo many records for under $3.  I had a blast.  I wanted to get this shirt in a gold color, but they were out of that color in my size.  So I settled for yellow.  Not my favorite color, but not a bad one either!

Some of my favorite things to do, ever, are:  try new beverages, hunt for records in new towns and cities, and go swimming!  And I’m so glad that I can swim again now – so far this summer, I’ve gone 3 times!

Oh, also big news on the traveling / swimming front:  I finally solidified plans to visit my brother in Turkey, next month!  We are going to explore ancient ruins and go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.  Can’t wait!!!