The Grey Area – Year 1 Retrospective

It’s been a year now since I posted my first blog here and it’s been rocky to say the least. The pledge to write regularly is a commitment and if you intend to keep readers it’s one you should endeavor to keep. However, as with the best of us, life gets in the way. To be honest this year has been one of the most difficult I’ve had in many years both personally and professionally. Despite that, I’ve done my best to continue contributing, and though there have been some major gaps, I am, at least, happy with the content if not the consistency.

When I originally began posting here, I had reached a major milestone in my professional life. Joking that I had become a “certifiable yuppie” I’d recently started a job that put me firmly in the “middle-class”. I purchased a newer model Prius and carried the latest iPhone, wore button-ups daily and often interacted with those that would be considered Orlando’s executive elite. At that point I had enough disposable income to pay all my bills without thinking or worrying about it, eat out often, buy small things that caught my eye on a whim and set a bit aside for whatever other goals I had.



So I wanted to write. I wanted to share with you how I see things and what I experienced on this tier of existence. As I mentioned and built into the website, I tend a bit toward the hedonist, especially as far as people and food go, and I expected that my lifestyle at that level would lead to some interesting stories. It did, and some of what I wrote about was well responded to. One of the first things I learned is that you’re all a bunch of dirty perverts (and that’s awesome.) Anytime I wrote about sex, my viewers spiked, especially when I was a little edgy about it. Women were also a popular topic and I got a lot of comments (both public and private) regarding my feminist views that I really consider to be a no-brainer.

After I got my stride I decided to mix things up a bit, I told a personal historical story using a semi-fantasy setting to keep things relatively anonymous. I enjoyed this and decided to continue it using the same medium to parallel my life as it happens now. Obviously in many cases I will simply write about things as they are, but I find this medium interesting because it gives me freedom to present the dilemmas in my head without bogging you down with needless explanations or being forced to keep certain details out (names, places.)   I’ve been feeling the itch to write some fiction lately, and will probably introduce a parallel blog in which I will write fictional short stories that may add up to a larger one. But first, I need to be sure I’m consistent here, and I’m sure you know that’s already been an issue.

Speaking of consistency, my biggest hit to that was around March of this year when my life took a major and unexpected turn. Within a matter of weeks, my routine as I knew it was thrown into to chaos, and from there a long, slow descent began that I have only recently began to rise from. As I scrambled to reestablish some kind of routine, I spent over a month away from my blog trying to figure out what my next step was. At first, the freedom I gained was indeed liberating, but as the cost of said freedom began to show itself I realized that reality was coming at me full speed. Even with that realization though, I had no idea exactly how far I would fall.

2015-08-11 07.17.14


This descent produced a few notable and lasting positives: New people, stronger connections with some existing friends and new perspectives on old experiences.. Ramadan was an entirely new experience due to my now flexible schedule, and my discovering Uber to stay afloat has provided me with a number of new connections and some fantastic stories (along with a very useful tool for extra income.) The depth of my support structure among my friends here in Orlando was/is severely tested and though some areas were far weaker than expected, others (some expected and some not…) have come through (and frankly saved my ass.)

To be honest, thus far (and omitting above positives), 2015 has been more or less shit. But the struggle has forced me to look at a lot of things, including my path, ask new questions and find new answers. It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention and that’s certainly been the case for me. As for what’s next, I’ve got a couple of posts in my head already, but as 2015 sails into it’s last quarter there’s a decent chance my course will be set and much of that will be worth talking about. If it doesn’t something else will have to give and it may not be pretty. Though I believe the worst is past, I’m not out of the storm yet and if I don’t find my way out, or come across better shelter I run the risk of ending up somewhere considerably darker. But those are stories to come, and some of which will be told through the journey of Kaska-Ta.

In the meantime though, I want to again say think you. While writing this past year I’ve seen some ridiculous traffic come through my site, had my posts shared and debated and gotten some really great comments and feedback from people that otherwise wouldn’t know anything about me. To me, that alone makes the time I spend writing worth it. In the beginning I said I wanted to make you think and every time you like, share and respond, I know that whether you agree or not, I did. So… thank you for reading, writing, responding and thinking! Hopefully this year was just the beginning.

Best Regards,

-Jordan in the Grey Area

Homecoming: A Long Epilogue

Coffee + Magical Sky Juice = Writing Fuel!

Coffee + Magical Sky Juice = Writing Fuel!

I’ve been in the air for a little over an hour now (likely somewhere over Idaho) heading toward a short stop in Texas before the second leg of the trip back to Orlando. I think the most important thing I took from the short trip in Seattle is that I like it there. I like the weather, I like culture, I like the city and I like the people (My friends, arguably more so than I used to.) My path and the place I belong now is Orlando, but if and when the opportunity to return to Seattle made itself know, I would follow it happily. Granted there are many places that I would be willing to go in order to take the next step, but Seattle previously carried a stigma to it that no longer exists. In fact, because of my familiarity and the people I have there (friends and family both) it carries a specific appeal for sure. I have a hometown.

Shortly after my last post I was picked up and spent the evening (after all too iconic Seattle traffic) in Bellevue catching up with three young ladies from my high school days (all three of whom I’ve had a crush of some sort on at some point or another.) We began at a Mexican restaurant, three of use with appetizers and shots of tequila while we waited for our fourth to arrive. We told many stories of our classmates, and ourselves, went through some 16 total margaritas (combined), took many selfies and laughed about our misadventures in high school and since.



What was fascinating about these discussions is that each of them knew me in a different way. One hadn’t really kept up with me over the years (in fairness neither had I kept up with her…) but was the fortunate enough one to be stuck in traffic with me, allowing us to get a head start on catching up. We’d covered some relatively deep subjects, so when I began telling stories to the group she had a contextual reference the others did not. Another is a regular follower of my blog, so she had a great deal of background information both recent and historical. The third has been keeping up with me on Facebook and through regular messages for some time and was probably the most knowledgeable on my current life status.

I told them one thing I was quite jealous of was their children. As of now, two of them are married (one to her high school sweetheart) and the other is an amazing single mother (as evidenced by the stories of her children.) For the longest time I’ve wanted a child (preferably legitimately) but obviously I have to find the right person first and so far not a lot of headway has been made. In the car ride (traffic) over I had mentioned that we always want what we can’t have. So (especially in our thirties) some that have long established families and routines look at my lifestyle and see it as adventurous and free (I do my best anyway…) while I listen to the stories of their children, families and well-established careers and can’t help but wonder if I’m falling behind. Of course, as it stands, I don’t think any of us would trade, and though all three have two children (ideal in my mind), they are each in pretty different set of circumstances (perhaps I will elaborate on them a bit more in a future blog.)

As the night carried on we wandered the mall called Bellevue Square that we had spent a great deal of time at as high school kids. One had promised a friend she would pick up nifty scented bath soaps/oils of some sort and then we (predictably) found ourselves in Sephora (a makeup store) at which point one of the girls who hardly wears makeup and I slipped away to find more drinks. This was an education for me as I was introduced to Nordstrom’s having a full bar dead center in the middle of it’s store. Prices were surprisingly reasonable considering what the clothing usually runs. Eventually the other two caught up to us and after more discussion/selfies we made a quick stop to see my car (Tesla!!) and moved on to our final destination.

It was a Dark and Stormy night..

It was a Dark and Stormy night..

One of the girls had promised her friend she would take a photo of a huge blown glass chandelier that was crafted by a famous local Seattle artist (kicking myself at the moment for not having a photo to include in the blog.) When that mission was accomplished we moved upstairs to a pool hall I had talked to them about called “The Parlor”. Shortly before I left for Orlando I had spent a fair amount of time there. It had an upscale vibe (because Bellevue…) but was reasonable on prices and had pretty good happy hour specials. With fifteen minutes until happy hour we settled in for our last round.

Perhaps it was the drinks adding up or the hours getting later (in truth it was only 11:00 PM but people have families now and it was a Tuesday…) but the conversation turned to sex and was primarily based on me. As it happens I have a number of entertaining stories (don’t worry to some of you reading this… probably not THAT one… probably…) that had reactions ranging from laughter to a great deal of eye rolling (a not uncommon reaction.)  We finished off our drinks that accompanied some really great happy hour appetizers and decided to call it a night.   (I should point out that those who were driving had moderated their drinking responsibly as the night went on… and those that weren’t… probably felt it the next day.)

Addiction Manifested.

Addiction Manifested.

The following day I slept in and then took the Sounder (Seattle’s rail system) to go and visit my father. It was my first time on the train and I enjoyed the random local conversation along with my ability to plug in my electronics. The ride was quick and easy and before long my father picked my up in Lakeland where he now lives. After a quick stop to show off his new place, we headed out to Potlach (Hood Canal) to the house on the water to visit with his girlfriend and her son whom have become a part of his/our family throughout the years. Naturally as I lounged fireside I was fed and fed well. Meat, cheese and wine precluded my father’s amazing signature buffalo wings of which I ate entirely too many (as usual.) Feeling fat and comfortable I retired to my room for the evening, caught up on some shows and drifted off to sleep with an early morning and a day of flying ahead of me.

The morning went smoothly, I did my best to capture a few images of the water in the dim foggy morning light and we were off to the bus station. I arrived just in time to say goodbye and walk onto the airport bus. Upon arrival, I easily made my way through security with plenty of time to attend some business, pick up my new book (Prince Lestat!) and do a bit of shopping. The plane is completely full, and I’m in a middle seat, but I’m fortunate enough to have relatively small people on either side of me who seem to have good personal hygiene (the girl sitting next to me is also pretty cute. Bonus!)

The house on the coast.

The house on the coast.

As I near my landing in Texas I just keep thinking about the combination of familiarity and newness that Seattle has now that I carry a fresh perspective on it. It’s easy to see why people who travel there fall in love and never leave. Additionally, with the disappointing recent results of the Florida elections, it’s also easy to see why living in such a liberal state would be appealing. Seattle has culture, food and a specific vibe that is hard to find anywhere else. My father tells me every time I return that I need to move back and go back to school, he will be going for his Master’s soon and thinks I should follow suit. I might. But as much as I would like to say that my goal is to move back and live there indefinitely, I cannot. The truth is I will go wherever it takes to take the next step, to “make it”. When I do, I can visit, and catch up as I did this time whenever I like. It may or may not be home again someday, but it will always be my hometown.

Homecoming: In the City of Seattle

I always told myself that when I returned here I would return triumphant.  As if I had gone off on some journey to find a great treasure (The Alchemist?) and would storm the city, riches in hand to show everyone that I had “made it.”  Granted that I have not really returned, I’m just visiting, and on some levels I HAVE “made it” compared to many who struggle on a regular basis. Regardless, maybe it’s a good place to check-in and gauge my development.

No seriously, It's pretty cool.

No seriously, It’s pretty cool.

I’ve spent the last two days putting in nearly thirty-five hours of work.  My current employer specializes in live productions from concept to the show itself and every element in between.  It’s very cool, hip, artistic work and it takes a lot of skilled individuals to bring it all together.  Any of you that have ever worked any sort of production already know that the last few days coming up to the show have to potential to eat your sleep time.  Thankfully a good final result, happy clients and cool people on your team (Along with a LOT of coffee) really help you pull through when you’re on hour 17 after three hours of sleep the night before.

It’s both cool and ironic where our event was this round.  When I lived in Seattle I often thought of how cool it would be to stay in the twin towers of the Westin Hotel.  I used to come here (I’m at the Westin as I write this) with my parents every year to eat at the Japanese restaurant that served my all-time favorite food: Shabu-shabu.   It’s no longer here, but the burger bar that they added is seriously fantastic (I JUST finished it)!  This time I was on the 35th floor out of 40.  It afforded a great view and a comfortable bed.  It’s not the penthouse suite yet, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

3rd and Bell.

3rd and Bell.

The logistics also proved as a reminder for me.  The first night we alked a ways for a team dinner at a restaurant on 2nd and Bell in downtown Seattle.  The relevance in this is that we walked, and it took is right by a building I used to live in (3rd and Bell.)  While it wasn’t the ultimate end to that version of me, I was in one of my much darker phases while I lived there.  My ex and I were estranged, and I made a lot of very questionable choices that would be unthinkable now.  That place is another gauge for me to measure my growth since then, and it makes me grateful.

Now that my work is done I have the opportunity to spend a couple of days catching up.  Tonight is drinks with some lovely ladies I went to high school with, and tomorrow evening I will see my father (I spoke to him earlier, he’s quite excited.)  I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I like this city a lot more this time than the last time I visited.  Granted I was in Hood Canal, and not in the city except briefly, to visit.  But the city itself appeals to me more (even the solid grey sky that has re-appeared since the unusually good weather that heralded my arrival.)  I could live here again I think, the way it feels now.  That’s not to say I’m going to just yet, I will go where my path takes me and right now my place is still firmly in Orlando.  But when I’ve “made it” perhaps I will return triumphant and survey the city from my penthouse.  If I like it as much as I do right now, that’s all I would need.

Homecoming: A Historical Prologue

This post isn’t about Halloween (I did a “fear” post a little over a week and a half ago, that’s all you get.)

For those of you that are still with me, as I write this (I’ll likely post it after we land…) I’m now 38,000 feet above middle-America (Nebraska at the moment I believe) on my way to Seattle for work and then a little play.



The extent of my Halloween celebrations this year involved dressing like a pirate (which I do a few times a year anyway…) and going to work.  This is partially because I always wait until last min and fail to get super excited about my costume, but this year I also had to be at my office by 6:30 AM in order to catch my flight.

Some of you already know,  but I spent a little under the first quarter-century of my life in the Seattle/Washington area.  Though I left when I was around 27, I also moved around a lot when I was young, so stints in Montana, South Dakota (when I was very young,) California, and even Japan are included in that time period.  Regardless, Washington state was my base, where I was born and the closest thing I have to a hometown.

When my logistical situation stabilized a bit as a kid, I was finally able to stick with the same class from 6th grade through high school graduation.  However, I didn’t have the elementary history a lot of those kids did, so it left me feeling awkward and outcast.  Most of middle-school was trying to find the individuals with whom I had common ground but by high school I started to get my social footing.  I was never a part of the popular crowd, but especially by sophomore/junior year, I had a solid group of people that I spent my time with.


I mean… I had my reasons… (I’m in the middle…)

Early in my high school career, when my family went through a particular low point, my father and I found ourselves homeless.  To his credit, despite our difficulties, my father made it his top priority to get me to school every day as he tried to earn enough money to get us back on our feet.  Eventually some family friends in the Mill Creek area (roughly and hour away from my High School) took us in, but I refused to change schools.  Again my father was gracious enough to make the commute every morning and evening so that I could have some level of regularity.  When we finally got back into an apartment, it was still a distance away in a town called Juanita.  Again I refused to change schools, but memorized the bus routes and spent over an hour on the bus before and after school in order to remain with the group of people I had spent years attempting to connect with

Ironically, I graduated in 1997 and lost touch with a large majority of those people.  Over the years (as often happens) I grew apart from most of my high school friends and went on to develop my life that eventually landed me in Florida.  But then, even more years later (getting into our thirties!) through the wonder of social media, we began to reconnect.  It’s very interesting to see how people change and grow over the years.  Some have changed to the point very little is left of who they were back then (that probably applies to me…) and others very much remind me of the kids I knew in High School.


Homecoming 1997

This trip, I’ll have the pleasure of meeting up with three of the ladies from my past (including my Senior Homecoming date AND my Senior Prom date.)  It’s literally been over fifteen years since I’ve seen these people in the flesh (I had little interest in my ten year reunion.)  I’m looking forward to both reminiscing and stories of the years in-between.  It really is mind-blowing to think about how your life grows into something completely different than you could’ve imagined back then. Perhaps it is not like that for everyone (I’ve known some to do exactly as they said they would do… and others that are still trying) but I believe for the majority, people develop in ways and directions they never could’ve imagined.  Perhaps they’ll allow me to share a small bit of their stories here after we catch up.

I also plan to visit my father while I’m in the area.  As you have probably gathered, my childhood was (all too typically these days) rocky and difficult.  We were always relatively poor and my parents did the best they could while battling their demons, but those demons and a number of factors contributed to my growing up too quickly and learning to be independent at an early age.  Years later, I am estranged from most of my family and I am more or less friends with my mother and father.  I (obviously) owe them my life and will do what I can to support them as they age, but I don’t remember the last time I felt a close family bond with any member of my biological family.


Dad – This man knows how to feed me.

That said, especially the last decade or so my father has made great progress.  He went back to school, graduated from the University of Washington with a Computer Science degree, and has a very zen-like low stress philosophy (very much the opposite of his younger days.)  This particular philosophy might’ve been some of the best “advice” he ever gave me (other then my sex talk: “Use a condom.”) he said something along the lines of: “I remember when I was younger I would stress about everything I had to do. I held on to all this stress… it would just ball up inside me and every time the smallest thing would go wrong, I would instantly get angry and explode, causing more problems and making me feel physically sick.  But one day I just realized how pointless it was.  Stress never fixes anything or makes anything better, so I decided I’m just not going to stress anymore.”  Such a simple concept, but it made a huge difference in his approach to life and also impacted me early in my adulthood.  It wasn’t the first or last time I would hear such an outlook, but I saw the transformation in my father for the better and it convinced me.

On a random, semi-related side note, my father is the reason I’m such a hardcore carnivore.  When we could afford it, the man grilled/broiled up a mean steak (he can even prepare a cheap chuck steak to be tender and tasty!)  But the one thing I will always crave from him are his Franks’s hot sauce buffalo wings.  He has a mixture of Franks, butter, and some random spices that make a high calorie, highly addictive and ridiculously delicious buffalo sauce.  I eat way too much and pay for it later.  It’s totally worth it, every time.

Before I get to all those festivities though, there is work to be done.  I’m fortunate to be flying out on the company’s money, but the flip side to that is that we have a major show to put on that will involve over 32 hours of work for our team in just two days. Today is the calm before the storm, I’ll write again when I survive it.