As some of you Projectors may or may not be aware of, with Polar's help I recently moved back to my birth state and my hometown of Houston after spending eight years in Louisville.
While some things changed, such as my hometown continuing to be ably run by our second female Mayor Annise Parker, some things didn't.
Unfortunately Governor Goodhair, aka Rick Perry, is still occupying the Governor's mansion. Hopefully we Texas voters will take care of that problem on November 2 and get our former mayor Bill White in there. If that happens, he would be the first Democratic governor in that chair since the late Ann Richards.
Last week's State Board of Indoctrination (oops, Education) meeting in Austin proved that Texas Republicans will do whatever it takes to ensconce their batshit and racist right-wing agenda, "will of the people" they routinely quote be damned.
Welcome home, Moni.
I've spent the first two weeks since my May 8-9 move hanging out in his hotel room and playing tour guide to Polar, rolling on a day trip to Galveston, unloading the moving van at my new undisclosed location in Southeast Houston, getting reacquainted with my cis, TBLG friends and family in the area, impatiently waiting to get back online, catching up on my backlogged e-mail, writing blog posts, writing a few chapters for a trans themed novel, and getting up to speed on Texas, Houston, Harris County and GLBT politics.
I've been busy changing locations from Louisville to Houston on many of the websites I'm on, but that's the easy part. I still had to pack stuff from an eight year life in Da Ville and load it onto the truck that I picked up May 6.
BTW, to do my part in protesting Arizona's unjust anti-Latino laws; I refused to use a U-Haul for this move, since it's an Arizona-based company.
Picking up the truck signaled the beginning of my thousand mile journey back home. It was an emotional week that encompassed a lot of goodbyes from people in the activist and liberal-progressive community in Louisville, and a tearful goodbye while attending my last Sunday service at Edenside Christian, my open and affirming church. I had long conversations with various people I'd gotten to know over my time there, and observed my last Thunder over Louisville, Derby Week and attended my last GLBT themed derby party for a while.
Friday arrived with me spending much of the day getting the truck loaded. I took some time to get cleaned up and have my farewell dinner at Impellizzeri's, a fave pizza place in Da Ville that has special significance for Dawn, Polar, and me. It also didn't help that I celebrated another May 4 birthday during this emotional exit from Da Ville week.
The road trip symbolically began Saturday morning with me behind the wheel taking my last run for a while down I-65 south through Kentucky's cave country toward Nashville. When we arrived two hours later we noted the Cumberland River was still abnormally high when we crossed it because we were traveling a week after the floods that devastated parts of the city.
We saw evidence as we motored westward along I-40 towards Memphis that those now placid creeks in the area had been swollen with water with grass and other debris still impacted along many of the bridges we crossed. We got passed during our Tennessee run by a heavy wrecker hauling a flood damaged 18-wheeler truck cab that had a mud mark halfway up its door.
As Polar and I tend to do during these long road trips, we talked about every issue under the sun from the state of GLBT and national politics to race relations and sports. I even got the surprise of discovering once we crossed the Tennessee-Mississippi border near Graceland we were driving a dual signed portion of I-69 that may eventually extend to Texas through Houston.
Polar and I also got to witness the quarter mile of dead, broken and dying trees along the section of I-55 where the tornado that struck Yazoo City, MS, skipped over.
After motoring past the massive Nissan plant near Jackson and through southern Mississippi, we eventually reached our planned stopping point of Hammond, LA, around 10PM Central. We went out to eat for dinner near the motel and could smell at times as we walked to the restaurant on US 190 when the wind was blowing from the Gulf the burning oil from the slick continuing to grow from the blown out well.
We got rolling the next morning on I-12 west to the merge with I-10, crossed the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge, rolled through the Atchafalaya Swamp, zipped past Lafayette, the rice fields and crawfish farms en route to Lake Charles, the riverboat casinos parked near the Old Lake Charles Bridge and as we finally crossed the Sabine River into the Lone Star State, Polar dryly remarked, "Welcome home. Do you have your passport?
We stopped in Orange, TX, for my first Whataburger in 8 years, continued my road trip tradition of flipping the bird when passing through Vidor, TX (home of the Klan), and smelled the refineries near Beaumont and the San Jacinto monument.
I finally got a glimpse of the Houston skyline off in the distance as I exited onto Loop 610 south to go over the Sidney Sherman Ship Channel bridge and get to the south side of town and Hobby Airport where Polar's rental car awaited.
The first morning back home I awakened to the sight of Reliant Stadium with its roof open and a huge flagpole with a ginormous Texas flag fluttering in the warm breeze.
There was also another tearful goodbye on Wednesday afternoon when Polar hugged me and zipped off to catch his flight back to his life and the rest of his vacation in Da Ville.
I'm getting readjusted back to living in the central time zone and living in a city with a estimated 2 million residents. That number should become official when the 2010 census count is completed. Ironically I'll be counted in the Louisville population numbers for this decade since I was living there on April 1. The reverse was true when I moved in 2001.
METRO is now expanding the light rail system they were starting when I left with that project due to be completed by 2012. The Texas Medical Center continues to expand eastward and southward. Toyota Center is now open along with a ten lane Katy Freeway and the old six lane elevated section of the Southwest Freeway is now depressed as it runs through the Montrose-Museum District area.
My old far southwest Houston neighborhood has become more Asian and developed. There were changes.in the Montrose gayborhood as well. I visited Cristan and the gang at the new TG Center. I noted that Charlie's, a gay-owned 24-hour diner on Westheimer Rd. that was one of my fave and very entertaining places to eat back in the day is now closed along with a Black GLBT club then called Studio 13 when I first started visiting it in 1980.
Sadly, Cookie LaCook, a friend and the legendary "f-ing great" hostess of the FI shows at Studio 13 and the Houston Splash Black Pride event has passed away.
Moves are not only physical adjustments, they are emotional ones as well. You are leaving people and parts of your life behind to begin a new one somewhere else. Even if it is your hometown you're moving back to, there is still an adjustment period to take in all of the changes before you get settled in.
I'm a different person than the one who left in 2001. Even though I didn't think so at times, my contributions to the GLBT and Louisville community were valued. I grew as an activist, a person and a writer there, and to be honest, I needed the time living in a different part of the country to additionally broaden my horizons.
It's tough transitioning in your home town, and it was nice to not have that baggage for a while and for people to get to know Moni.
So while the chapter of my life in Louisville has closed, another one has opened here in my hometown. It's up to me to be the author of it and ensure there is a happy ending to the story.