Monday, November 19, 2012

I work so hard to make my dreams come true but it seems one step forward two steps back is the name of my tune.

How I imagined my twenty-fourth birthday?

Well, I'd be sitting on my front porch in a comfy chair, and all my friends and family would surround me there. I'd be sippin on an apple martini with my two beautiful children sitting next to me. Maybe the youngest one in dad's arms as she lacked the motor skills to do it her own. I look out at the world there in front of me, taking in and enjoying all that I could see. A neighbor walks by says how do you do and I know them enough to wave and smile in return. I've got two cars in the drive way that run and drive, no issues in their motors, stickers just fine. I'd be polished and tight everything in line, hair done up not a flyaway in sight. My gorgeous husband would come over to me, whisper I'm the greatest thing he's ever seen. We'd sneak away to talk when the party lulled, muse on how our life had unfurled. Not some Greek tragedy all covered in knots, but comfort and warmth, and worrying for not. Bills are paid, and college funds made, and we've got enough stashed for a year of rainy days. Christmas plans are made for the south coast, simple sure, but we're not ones to boast. Happy and healthy and not a collection agency in site, as we tuck the kids in and whisper good night. Make love like we were newly discovered, hold each other hours after we're done. Wake up and ready myself, kiss the husband good bye, take the kids to the park.

How simple I thought life would be, when these fantasies came to me. So young, so naive, so sure of myself - before everything started plummeting south.

I don't know why I hold on to these ghosts, these never could have beens. It's the light at the end, it's the hope that unfurls, it's what keeps me afloat I suppose...

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

- Emily Dickinson 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Not scared, just not human

It's so hard to explain to people why John isn't being normal with Oliver. How do you tell someone "He's doing okay, considering he's not human." without sounding like a complete and utter nut job? Yes, he's least, I think he's something that would roughly translate to us as scared.Yes, that Oliver's frail and weak and he doesn't want to hurt him. But also because he's against humans. He doesn't like them (us?), their mucusy fragile existence. Everything he has an aversion to in normal humanity is amplified a hundred fold in babies. He won't eat or drink after you, and he doesn't want you to eat or drink after him -- and this translates into complete avoidance with Oliver. He has this 100 point allocation thing where he can only focus and be okay with one human at a time and that's me. So he can eat and drink and be around my human-ness and be okay - once his body adapted to mine and stopped breaking out when I touched him. "I don't like humans, but I like my tan."

Rereading that paragraph... it sounds crazy. It is crazy. In the most normal of terms I can think of, he's a germaphobe. But it's not a fear of germs that gets him. If you had to categorize it into normal, understandable, and socially semi-acceptable terms -- that's what you'd use. A closer, though mad, definition would be that he's a Vulcan, or a cyborg with an only semi-functional emotional interface.

Not that this is an excuse by any means, as we all have issues within our personalities that we have to overcome to live a normal life. To be accepted by society requires sacrifices in these personalities, to be loved, to have thriving long term relationships. We have to put away those parts of ourselves that surface from our deep dark id. So must he get over all his hang ups and just do it. Just be a father, just be the man I need him to be. Otherwise, everything will come crumbling down.

I got John to hold Oliver last night. He covered himself in a blanket to avoid the irritation from Oliver's skin on his own and sat in bed so he was fully supported. The movement of Oliver's head as he looked around, being able to feel the different valleys of his yet fully formed skull was too much though. So I moved Oliver around so he was laying against his chest, and this seemed to be okay. He was able to put his hands on Oliver's swaddled self without freaking out too bad, as long as Oliver didn't wiggle too much.

John gets upset - at the doctors who tell him he'll get used to it, to not be afraid - at the people that tell him he'll become more sure of himself. He wants to tell them he's not afraid, not unsure of himself, not worried about hurting Oliver... just extremely uncomfortable with his very existence. The burning sensation on his skin that happens when he comes into contact with Oliver's bare skin, the overload of synapses. But again... not only is it nearly impossible to voice the feeling for him in general, the way he feels he doesn't think can be recognized. I think he's right.

While I left the decision of when to have kids up to John as I was game from day one, and this decision we entered knowing the outcome would obviously be an Oliver or female counterpart... I don't think that John thought of the consequences or what having a newborn would actually mean. That is, until I was pregnant and he voiced that he didn't know how to be a dad. He couldn't handle the bodily functions in other people's kids, couldn't hold them, they bugged him... It would be the same for his own he assured me. Yet how many times has a man said that, they don't like babies, they don't get them - only to turn out to be a great father from day one? There's something about that tiny little bundle of half of them that melts the coldest of male hearts. Human ones, anyway.

That's what expected him to be, normal..human. To overcome his hangups likely caused from the years of physical/emotional/sexual abuse and to be a father. To see his son for the first time and look into his eyes and know that he was his and to do everything he could to be the best father. When that didn't happen I figured that maybe it was the hospital -- John's dislike of humanity causes him to dislike hospitals even more than babies -- so maybe once we were home, he would warm up to the little one. Then I figured that maybe when Oliver's umbilical cord came off, when his circumcision healed that would be the key. Then maybe when Oliver could hold his own head up. . . Yet none of these milestones yielded any result. They didn't even yield any attempts at getting used to him, of trying. Eventually John started talking to him, looking at him. Then letting Oliver wrap his fingers around  John's. He started playing with his feet, "My footie!". He was able to prepare a bottle of formula or heat up a bottle of breast milk. Still, he didn't like seeing or hearing Oliver feed - said he smelled disgusting..forget about feeding him himself, or holding or changing or getting up in the middle of the night. So all of these basic care things fall on to me. I am the single mother with a back up dancer.

I work full time, I parent full time, I have to be a mother, a wife, a search engine placement agent ... and none of these things seem to have the ability to overlap. So I'll vent, and I'll dwell on things, and I'll get upset and want to leave or I'll kick John out of our room and make him sleep on the couch. Some days I can deal, I understand that John is broken and not going to be fixed any time soon. Other days are much, much more difficult. John thinks he'll be okay by the time Oliver is old enough to communicate -- three or so. He believes that he and Oliver will be the best of buds once Oliver stops spitting up after every meal, once he's potty trained, once he's able to look at the world and voice his concerns however basic. So, I'm on my own until then...trying desperately to speed up the process, and hoping for the best.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

A month ago tomorrow.. my son, my love, my light was welcomed into this world. I'll be spending the day at work.

How did my first day back go, you might ask?

After doing the math on how much time I'd need with waking up Oliver, feeding him, getting a pump in, etc etc I was up at 5:30 am after about 3 hours of sleep.

Got Oliver fed, pumped some milk to give to Melissa, got us all ready and out the door. Shockingly, on time.

At Melissa's I had a tough time saying goodbye, but I had most of my composure held as I left and didn't break down until I was driving and glanced back to say something to Oliver and he wasn't there. 

At work I was actually okay, getting back into the swing of things - smile on my face and energy. Started to reorganize my thoughts for where I wanted my team to go. One of the managers was going to let me use his office to pump, schedule was all worked out. Things were okay besides the missing my baby... and then ...

I got asked to come into a meeting to sign paperwork and go over the organizational changes. I assumed this meant my promotion and $2.50 raise I was promised in the meeting I had a few days before Oliver was born. Turns out, it was to tell me that my position was being absolved by someone who was barely managing their own lead position and had to rely on her team to help her make decisions. So she gets a promotion (and raise, I assume) and I get a $0.25 we're sorry please don't leave consolation prize and do you have any questions? Oh no.. I don't have any questions. Exclamations, many, but no... no questions. Other than, as one of my should have been employees expressed "DAFUQ?!"

So I go back to work, clench my teeth, and try not to cry. Their pitiful raise gives me an extra $10 a week before taxes, where I was counting on $90. By counting on, I mean was going to be able to get caught up on my bills and now I'm not so sure. I'm already having to make these decisions like... gas for the car or diapers, how important is my car really, ramen is totally a balanced meal right...

I fail at trying not to cry and do my best to keep my mascara from running and try and hide the fact I'm crying at all. 

Then the guy who's supposed to let me use his office is all over the place and so I'm stressed about that. 

I'm trying to figure out scheduling with Melissa (Oliver's godmother) and trying to work and trying to forget how comfortable it is to be snuggled up with Oliver in my bed and trying to get some office time in to pump and trying to remember why I liked working at Linktech..but that's all gone and all of the sudden I'm eating my lunch and trying to keep tears out of my spaghetti. 

Then I have to call the lenders on my car and tell them I have no idea when I can pay them. That, surprisingly, went much better than expected.

I'm off work after what feels like years and traffic is crazy and I just want my baby. Finally I get to Josh & Melissa's get my love bug, hang out for a bit and get some milk & peanut butter & diapers and head home. Not sure how the day ended with gifts for me, but hey. 

Now I've got baby in my arms and ranting to the internet while John does the only thing he's good at these days, sleep.

Dinner, then bed, then all over again... for the rest of my life...dunno if I can do it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Stephanie: You know how we were going to do a Kickstarter thing to get some baby money and that wouldn't work since they don't do 'life events' and what not but there was another site I couldn't think of? I just remembered... Indiegogo.
Johnathan: Yeah...It was more of a novelty idea and curious as to what kind of response it would get. I don't really have a compelling reason for someone to just give me money. I'm awesome?
Stephanie Two smart kids from abusive backgrounds find each other across the cosmos and fall in love. They have ups, downs, laughs and tears and decide on an upswing to start a family. That upswing gets blown to bits and they scrape by for months with only $600 combined monthly income until they can both get jobs again but the baby's born before they're firmly back on their feet so they're back to ground zero as mom tries to heal as fast as she can and get back to work before dad's forced into male prostitution...
Johnathan: Right...But it's not something that the world would believe. I suppose we could make a "documentary" or something and we could label it something catchy/original like..."Slumdog Millionaire" or something...

Well, there are all kinds of things on Indiegogo so I decided to check it out and make a campaign. I figure, the worst that happens is no one donates, the best is that things pick up to the point we're able to get some funds to bring ourselves out of the paycheck to paycheck barely able to make it all work life we've been living. I would like to go grocery shopping and choose items based on health and flavor instead of what's the cheapest thing I can find. I would like to not have to worry about how I'm going to buy Oliver diapers or pay for his childcare or insurance.

The idea for the campaign came from us learning about the bus monitor who was made fun of by the kids on her bus, a campaign was started for her and because of internet word of mouth, she made $702,000 out of a $5,000 goal. Well, she didn't make the campaign, it was set up on her behalf...but still. Johnathan was the victim of every type of abuse you can think of growing up, and most of it too brutal to even think about writing about. I'd seen my fair share of hand-prints, flights of stairs, and ends of the barrel of a gun by the time I left home at 14. Stuff much worse than Karen the bus monitor went through (though don't get me wrong what she went through was awful). So we figured, hey, we've been through way worse than that and we're still going strong. We managed to find each other in the darkness and take our formally messed up lives and meld them into something better. We found our peace and just started getting our life on track and decided that it was a good of time as any to start a family...and then we both lost our jobs, and our optimism.

Now we've got a four week old son and we're struggling harder than we ever have had to before to make ends meet. That light at the end of the tunnel that once warmed us is now but a fading dream. There are diapers to buy, and food, and bills to pay. I'm terrified of getting that hospital bill for my delivery in the mail. We've sold so many things on Craigslist and still have more posted which doesn't seem to be going anywhere. It just never seems like enough. I'd be surprised greatly if we even raised $100. But, you never know. I'm sure when Max Sidorov created that page for Karen he never expected to make over 100 times what he set out to.

So... let's see what the internet will do.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{Girlytech on} Motherhood Week One

A week gone in the blink of an eye! I have no idea where the days went, though I imagine the sleep/wake cycle of 2-3 hours sleep, 1 hour up rinsing and repeating probably has something to do with that. I keep getting asked how I'm adjusting... I'm not really sure how to respond because it doesn't feel like I've adjusted at all. So, I guess well? It feels like Oliver has always been here. Although, on the other hand, it feels like I have so much to learn. Trying to get into some formation of a routine seems impossible, but I know that it'll be best for all involved if we're able to make that happen. I'm not too worried about it now though. My main concern is keeping Oliver happy and putting some meat on his scrawny little bones. He's up 4 oz from where he was on his first appointment - so doctor's aren't worried about that. He seems to have picked up his appetite as well as he's no longer sleeping as long as I'll let him but is up just about at 2.5 hours on the dot from when I put him down.

As for me, I'm healing up. There are a lot of gross things postpartum that no one really tells you about... I'm feeling good emotionally as well, minus a few set backs..but we'll get to that. Johnathan went all papa bear on the bedroom getting it cleaned up, and we've got Oliver established in his micro nursery. We need to get the video surveillance system... I mean, baby monitor set up in there, but that's about it. In the meantime he gets to hang out with us downstairs if we're down there for extended periods of time. It's great to be back in my bed and able to fall asleep quicker - helps me snag a few more of those zzzs that have been eluding me.

I really am feeling like I do not want to go back to work... although it's only be a week, so we'll see how we feel in six more I suppose. My return to work date is currently set at October 8th. I can't bear the thought of leaving Oliver for a second, maybe he'll have worn me out by then. Not like I have much choice in the matter anyway. Gotta work to pay bills and buy food and that good stuff. While it's close, we're marginally better with me at work even with the additional costs incurred with child care, etc than with me staying home. Just barely. But boy oh boy looking into that little man's face I'll do whatever I can to give him the best life possible.

It amazes me how people can be cruel to their children. I mean, it always has. I feel bad complaining or making reference to that abuse that happened in my home when I know that so many people, my husband of which included, had it so much, much, epically worse. But that's my reference point in my own life. As a child I failed to comprehend why these things were happening to me. I couldn't grasp it. Now it seems even more completely abstract. I don't know if people are born evil, maybe the stresses of the world get to them, maybe having a child is too much to bear... but there's no part of my being that could ever fathom hurting Oliver with the intention to do so. No way. He's precious and he's mine. I couldn't imagine beating him because he didn't want to finish his dinner or because he forgot to put a brush back in the bathroom when he was done using it, or holding him at gun point at the kitchen table. How those justifications, among the hundreds of others were made in my father's mind I'll never know.

Which brings us to a transition to add in the emotional low point of the past week. I was trolling around on Facebook and noticed my brother had commented on our relative's picture. Every once in a while I like to check in on the brother, make sure he's doing okay, etc. So I visited his page, and noticed a friend of his had commented he was going to be in Oregon soon. I thought that my brother was still doing is Air Force bit, so I hadn't let him know about Oliver or been in touch with him in a while. So I sent him a text letting him know that he was an uncle and that he could come visit whenever he'd like to. In response to that, I got a Facebook message from my "father" threatening me. It's so unfortunate that my little brother, though technically a man, is still controlled by such an abusive and hateful person. I guess I lost contact there with the brother while I was figuring out my own life. I saw him when he was a freshman in high school, we went to lunch a few times. He was going to come to the wedding, so everything was good there - although my "parents" intervened and prevented him from doing so. I'm not sure what happened in the last two years, but something must have because I received a response of "fuck you cunt" to my text the next day. So, either some major brainwashing activities occurred in the last couple of years, or my father has control of Alex's phone... either way that definitely struck a cord. My largest regret of my life was not fighting to take Alex with me when I was removed from my childhood home. I'm not sure why DHS found that I was okay to leave and he was not... but we were both getting beat around. My mother would generally step in front of blows for my brother and not for me, and perhaps that was why at the time, I didn't fight for him. I was a child, and hurt, and selfish. It is what is though, however unfortunate and there is no changing the past.

It's less confusing for Oliver this way anyway, I guess. He doesn't need to know about all that happened, although I'm sure one day I'll tell him. I imagine that we'll have to go over it, how our family tree double backs up over itself. Or why I call his aunts my aunts and some of his cousins my nephews and nieces and others my cousins. I'd like to have a giant family meeting and tell everyone that I am the daughter of William and Leona as much as anyone else... but old habits die hard and I keep calling them grandma and grandpa anyway. Which makes things really interesting like in the hospital they asked who they were and I said my parents & nephews and then I'm calling them grandma and grandpa. I guess it works out since that's what they were becoming all over again, but still weird. It's been almost a decade since I became their daughter. I think the adoption was finalized in April of 2003. Time flies. Maybe when I've been their daughter for longer than I was their granddaughter, I'll be accepted by all as such. That's still four and some years off though.

Well, that's about it for the past week. Pumping and feeding, burping and changing, finally understanding why all those moms I know are doing laundry constantly...

Till next time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

3 days in...

Things you never thought you'd say until you have a baby... "Woo! We have poop!"

Poor little Oliver is having some issues feeding. I wonder about what they did for such things 100 years ago. I guess hand expressed and funneled it on down? Now we've got nipple shields and pumps and all kinds of things to help babies get the good stuff. Not to mention formula if they can't for whatever reason do so. Stupid nipples. As he's having such trouble I'm under instruction to feed the hell out of him this weekend (meaning pump and bottle feed instead of trying to rely on nursing alone) and I'm scheduled for another appointment at noon on Monday to check on his status and make sure he's regained his weight.

Other than that which has caused quite the stress all around, everything seems to be going smoothly. He sleeps so much it's not like there's much to do but set an alarm for every few hours, check his diaper, try and get him to eat, cuddle him, back to bed. Sleep when I'm sleepy, internets when I'm not. I've been pretty exhausted, go figure, and very sore from head to foot. Almost like I did a lot of work or something.

John is reacting to things about the way he said he would. No one believed him, not even me, and I married him... So here we are with John holding him only when necessary and/or to fake being human. He doesn't want to hold him or rock him or even stroke his head or kiss his adorable cheeks. Essentially, as far as parenting goes, at this stage I'm on my own. I think John feels bad though, which I guess is a good thing. He's being extremely supportive of me, making sure I have plenty to eat/drink, running errands, cleaning the house, doing laundry and coming to the appointments with me... I'm actually pretty worried about Monday when he's back to work and I have to face things on my own.

As for me, I feel... I'm not sure exactly. I love holding him and smelling him and cuddling and just looking at him. I get upset when he's upset, especially when it's due to someone else's intervention - like the doctors checking him out. I think I'm in a little over my head though, and no amount of knowledge can fix it. Perhaps that's the issue in the first place. For me, it's all very clinical almost. Step A, B, C. Everything you're supposed to do at this stage in development is pretty universally agreed upon (except for baby lotion, apparently) and so it's just following the guide books and calling it good. I imagine once there's play and choices in his upbringing and care it'll be different. What's best for Oliver, as opposed to what's best for baby.

I think that's what's led me to giving up the cats, knowing that it's best. The four of us in one small room isn't going to be healthy, especially when I'm sore and having issues just waddling around the house and putting on pants. Thank goodness our God mother's mom (God grandma?) is going to take them in. I'm not sure if she's doing it because she actually wants more kitties or as a favor to us, but...either way it works for me. She'll be able to provide them with a clean and safe home, take care of them, and give them plenty of love. Maybe if John turns into a real boy we can wiggle them back if she hasn't grown too attached. Here's hoping. Not likely unfortunately, but at least this way they're not going to some stranger on Craigslist or someone we'll never see.  Have I mentioned that along with being the best God mother ever, Melissa also comes with an awesome mom herself? Seriously, this family creation you's kind of unreal. Violet (Melissa & Josh's unborn daughter) is without a doubt going to be the most lucky kid out there.

Anyway, that's where we're at. Getting to know Oliver as he gets to know me. Hopefully he'll also get a chance soon to know his dad. You think the fact that Oliver is a John clone and so very his son (Mongolian spot and all) that there'd be something. . . Oh well, live and learn.

Thanks to all our visitors, and if anyone is planning on coming and wants to know what to bring us, we're pretty set on newborn clothes and the like. Dinners we can just reheat would be nice, and diapers are always in need :) Thanks for all the congratulations and support. I can't imagine trying to have done this all on our own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

{Girlytech feels} Blessed

Friday, Saturday, Sunday ... "fake" labor pains. Annoying, but nothing unusual.

Monday morning contractions were 10 minutes apart for 2 hours so I figured this was it as per my literature from my doctor but, they said to be at home, take a nap and wait until they were 5 minutes apart for an hour. So I took a nap, woke up and... no more contractions. I figured that 2.5 hours at work weren't really worth it so I ate some lunch and went back to sleep until I needed to leave for my regularly scheduled doctor's appointment. There, I had more protein in the urine (a reoccurring issue) and high blood pressure (noticed at the last appointment as well) so Dr. Lim suggested doing a 24 hour urine collection to make sure that there was no preeclampsia as those are the symptoms for that infection. Then she measured his heart rate and measured me and... 32cm when I was 36 the week before and should be at 38 or so. So, no good. She called in for an ultrasound machine and noticed that there was very little fluid surrounding him. No cushion for him = no good so... to the hospital you go! She scared me a bit with her saying there was no time to go home to get our go bags or anything just to go straight there.

We got to the hospital at about 2:30 or so and got checked in and shown our room. There were apparently a lot of babies being born and everyone was super busy so it took a while to get the order put in for the induction. They went with something to 'ripen' the cervix first before stimulating contractions. Once they got that in at 5:00 I started having contractions all on my own. At first I rated them at a .5 on the pain scale, and then an hour later they were at a 5 and they just went up from there. They were scheduled to give me another pill for cervix at 8pm, but as my contractions were 2 minutes apart at that point and I was 4cm dialated, they decided to wait another hour and see what was up. A bit before 9pm the contractions got very, very painful and I was having a hard time breathing through them, it was nearly impossible without John applying counter pressure. I got a dose of Fetenol, which took the edge off... for a while. The grandparents arrived as contractions were super painful and piling on top of each other. I was having a real issue with the pain and coping mechanisms... they just weren't working. I tried to hold out, but nope, I got an epidural and let me you tell you I would kiss the person on the mouth that invented that magical spinal contraption. It was a little uncomfortable at first and totally not pleasant going in, but oh my goodness that relief. I fell into a twilight from 4cm to 10cm over the next few hours as they gave me the Picotin to help stregnthen contractions (because apparently oh my God worst pain wasn't strong enough). The midwife came in to see how things were going at 2am or so and I was feeling a ton and a half of pressure... Turns out that what little water I had left had broken without me even knowing, I was fully dilated and effaced and it was time to get going on the pushing.

Yeah... that was an event. I don't remember screaming or crying...but apparently I did. All I remember is it was so much work and it felt like everything down there was both ripping apart and turning inside out. Yeah.... 28 minutes later, at 2:40am, I had my son in my arms. We had an hour of skin to skin goodness before they took him for analysis, Vitamin K, and a bath. And...noticed he had pooped all over me. Everything from the waist to breast was covered, my hands, arms.... it was a mess. But apparently a sterile one. Once everyone was cleaned up I got my hands on a sandwich and some OJ and we got transferred to our post partum room. Nothing much of note, he was running a bit cooler than he should have been so we did some more good time snuggling...but they did end up having to take him and stick him under the incubator.

Thank God for godparents! Melissa was there a lot during the time we were in the hospital. She brought me a robe and nursing top, additional bathroom supplies, presents, candy for the nurses, and kept Johnathan with food in his belly. I don't know how we would have carried on without her. Seriously not sure how I can repay her. I guess she gets the baby and the money if John and I die, lol. Josh and Melissa are seriously the best friends and most selfless people, we got lucky as all hell that we met them.

But yeah, that's about it.

Oliver Alexander Addison. 20.5" and 6lbs 7oz. with a 12.5" head was born 8/21/12 at 2:40 in the morning with his grandparents and papa to greet him.

All because two people fell in love.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Impending Labor

Oh yes, it's coming. There's nothing I can do about it either.

Birth plan has been written.

Still need to pack a bag...but...

My joints are softer. Oliver's head down and dropped. I'm dilated, effaced, and losing bits of mucus plug. Yes, it's gross. I can feel myself dilating more (I think...something scratchy is going on down there). I've got Braxton Hicks like there's no tomorrow, tiny twinges of cramping, tons of downward pressure, and the tummy of someone who just ate a pound of crazy Indian food. I'm irritable beyond belief, can't focus on anything other than all that's going on internally, and today I've started sweating like I'm sitting in the sun. All that's left is the "bloody show" and my water breaking to really seal the deal. I may need to try out all those old wive's tails of inducing if he doesn't make his way out soon, this is not a very comfortable predicament to be in.

So yeah....that's what's up in Stephanie Land.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I have the desire lately to do. To create something. I want to color and paint and scribble and sew and bake and make a mess of everything. I want to make something that will inspire, or cause reflection, or touch a heart, a mind. Yet everything I think I can do... it just seems empty. I could start a cooking blog...but I'm not great at that and there are a thousand. Fashion? Not enough money to support that - though with an unlimited budget I'd be pretty fierce I'm sure. Makeup? Kind of the same boat as fashion, that and ... you know, lacking in skill. Fitness? Bah!

You get the idea. So what do I write about, what do I create? Besides a baby in womb with hiccups you mean? Not a whole lot. I haven't written a poem in ages, a decent one in even longer. Old words feel stagnant on the page. I've simply lost the motivation, the drive, my muse. Even my day-to-day words fall flatter than they ever have. Even my most inspired work, just. isn't. there.

My biggest worry is that I'm not worried enough. That with everything so completely and utterly fucked, I'm not stressed. Not as I would normally be anyway. I'm not worried about how unprepared John and I are for our baby that'll be joining us in 1.5-4.5 weeks. Life, it'll just work itself out. Bills will get paid even if we continually overdraw our account (I think). Dinner will get made, cats will get fed, cars will get worked on. Somehow it'll all work out.

What's wrong with me?

I make lists for reminding myself of things, not to obsess over them.

It's this strange sort of apathy that really doesn't feel all that apathetic at all. It's not that I don't care, just that I'm not stressing. Oliver must be pumping some good hormones my way or something. It's ridiculous.

So maybe those hormones are inspiring me to do as opposed to think, to create instead of worry. I just don't know what to spin, what to etch from the nothingness of the world into something. I want my words to reach across the distance of space and time and bring legions together, but I have no common theme, no driving force, nothing to keep a reader around. I'm sure there will be weight loss blogs, health blogs, maybe even some baby blogs (I'd expect one or two...). But I don't have anything unique.

I'm not particularly clever, nor smart, nor funny. I don't have any earth shattering ideas, or revolutionary concepts. I'm simple, ordinary. The day to day of my earthly existence can be replicated a thousand times over. I'm the extra in the background with coffee in hand, never the main character. I haven't traveled, I'm not crafty nor do I support any large organization.

Stripped to my core - I'm a mediocre writer without an idea to draw upon who thinks that maybe, maybe someone will want to read all this nonsense. Maybe, maybe someone from the right place will think I have the right tone and I'll all my dreams will come showering down around me along with unlimited fountain pens.

Yet here we are. Dark outside, almost nine months pregnant, with no real accomplishments to show my unborn son. No real goals other than inspiring Johnathan to provide for the son he hasn't met yet and doesn't feel an emotional tie to.

How does one create something, out of nothing?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

2 years!

Lord help us to remember when
We first met and the strong
love that grew between us.
To work that love into
practical things so that nothing
can divide us.
We ask for words both kind
and loving and hearts always
ready to ask forgiveness
as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our
marriage into your hands 

35 weeks, 2 days pregnant. Two years married. I don't really have a whole lot to write about today then I did yesterday, or on my last post. It seems like just another day in the John and Stephanie story. Last year we were able to go to Lincoln City, spend a couple nights, enjoy an amazing dinner at the Blackfish Cafe. This year... things are a little bit different to say the least. Baby talk rules the airwaves, negative bank account numbers are the norm. We get these little moments to cling to one another, these tiny brief pauses in day to day life, and boy do I try and cling to them. I've been trying to be part of his world more, to go rafting and tromping through the woods... but I find it difficult to really enjoy these things when I'm so limited in my range of motion / balance. We capsized the raft we were on and I got all beat up by rocks, and couldn't pull myself on shore because of how big the belly is. So I just laid there, someone else pulled me up by my life jacket and then I just remained immobilized until Marcus came and hefted me to my feet. I can't go up and down hills with a whole lot of ease not pregnant, but with my balance all wonky, I opted to remain on as flat ground as possible rather than follow the crowd down.

Not that I mind a whole lot, I'm kind of used to it these days. It just doesn't leave John and I on a very equal playing ground. I imagine that it'll even itself out soon enough once Oliver's here, although probably more towards my side of not being able to do anything.

It's so strange to me, how far different we are than we were two years ago, and how very much the same. The more things change the more they stay the same, right? We've had high points and low points. In just the past year we've seen our highest point, and we're now at our lowest. Through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer... yeah, we've been there. We got pregnant in a high point, and will be having Oliver in our lowest. It all builds character, I suppose. I guess the important thing here is though we've seen the light at the end of the tunnel only to get blasted back with earth shattering force once we neared it, we're still holding hands and laughing together as we trudge through the darkness back towards where we think we remember the light. As long as we keep fighting for that light, though we can no longer remember what it feels like, we'll be okay. While Oliver will bring a light of his own, I'm sure he'll also cause a back peddle of his own right. Yet we'll all have to just bunch together and hunker down against the cold. We'll either make it, or we won't, and as long as we try that's all we can do. I am determined to keep on trying, to keep on holding on to our love above all else and the knowledge that if we were there once, we can get there again. Somehow, someway, though it may be more difficult than it was initially, though there may be a whole lot more sacrifice. We can get there. We have to.

So now, on our second anniversary  I can promise you the same thing I did on our first, and since I pledged my heart and life to yours.

Everything that makes me who I am
was yours before this moment
it shall be yours always

You are my soul mate
my best friend
my ally against the world
my moment outside of time
you are my fondest memory
my fiercest desire
my strongest wish

It is because of you
I laugh
I smile
I dream

I will love you
respect you
and be honest with you

When life is easy
or when it is a struggle
when our love is simple
and when it is an effort
I will live with you
and laugh with you.

From this day forward,
you will never walk alone.

I will rejoice in your delights
and fight your battles by your side

I will support what you strive to accomplish
and encourage you intellectually, emotionally and spiritually
I will try to see the world as you see it
or at the very least, respect your unique perspective

I will be the shoulder on which you lean
the rock on which you rest
the joy of your heart

I will comfort your body with mine
mirror your soul with my own
and share with you all that I have and will have

I promise not only to give these things
but to receive them from you as well
to speak and to listen
to be both friend, and lover

You have my body
my mind
my heart
my soul

Everything that makes me who I am
was yours before this moment
it shall be yours always

♥ 19 months ♥ 24 months ♥ 40 months ♥ Eternity to go 

Friday, July 13, 2012

I got to thinking about the past and how defined it is by places. For instance Buckman Heights and Buckman Field (and really that whole little area) will forever define the golden months of John and my relationship. Whenever I go by that area I'm struck with nostalgia. Staying up all hours of the night, John saying how he didn't hate cats like he thought he would. Baked mac and cheese, blackberry merlot, walking everywhere. The first night we spent together when Az still lived there. Our first 'kiss" on Az's bed. Hanging out drinking after bowling, get power bracelets. So many amazing memories in such a short span of time. I look back on that place and I think if only we could get back here, life would be as it was. We were broke, we were living there illegally, but it was so sweet and it remains the pinnacle of perfection. How we didn't accidentally make an Oliver way back then is beyond me, guess it just wasn't meant to be.

While living there we frequented Montage quite a lot. It was open late, great for that late night hunger that hit after... rolling in the hay. It was there that our relationship grew, it was there that I realized that John was the person that I wanted to without doubt spend the rest of my life with. It was there John planned on proposing... though he didn't because I knew he was going to propose and he got all huffy about it. I imagine it will be included perhaps in his round two proposal down the line some time. Montage to me is Portland. It feels like home, and overly pretentious all in one. The food is phenomenal, the atmosphere slightly odd, the service hit and miss. It's where we make sure everyone we know has been, just so they can have that slice of uniqueness in their memories. It always feels like it's our off the beaten path location, even when we have to wait an hour and half for a spot. It's flaming cake and stinky kitties, and ross islands. It's everything I love about the city I call home... even though I'm definitely a west sider.

Arbor Creek served its purpose. A place to live, to get past the rough spots. There are plenty of memories, but it's kind of where things stopped having a golden hue and became real. We fought, John decided that he really did hate cats, we went through bankruptcy and emotional turbulence. I suppose there were good times of Final Fantasy and reversed sleep cycles, and it was in a shower there that he proposed, but all in all it was very mundane.

Portlandia house is our current home. Though all the issues we thought we moved past in Arbor Creek came piled on back with a fury we could have never imagined. It'll be here we raise our child. Hopefully this is the home we're able to buy. To say yes, we've made it. Though... for now it is a place of filth and annoyance at roommates and nothing more than a pretty box we store ourselves in every night. There is no golden hue, but I have hope that there will be some day. Hopefully soon. It is this place more than any other thus far that makes me long for Portland. For walking to Powell's in the rain. For sweet simplicity. For somehow everything falling into place. I wonder if we'll ever feel that way again. In our gorgeous house with the BMW out front, I guess we seem together. But we've never been stretched this thin, never been this close to drowning completely. I've never been this close to calling it quits on everything. So, there's a bit of brutal honesty for you. I just can't take this very much longer. I know that I have to, though. Things are going to get much, much worse before they get better. I only hope that love is enough to carry us through. Often times we've seen, it isn't. Perhaps we will be the exception. Perhaps we'll see what we're made of. Perhaps we'll have a guardian angel or a fairy godmother or something of the sort like we've picked up in the past. Or, we'll crumble into nothing and the house on Portlandia will not be remembered with fondness but with regret. As is the house of my youth, and the whole damn city of North Plains. It all has taken on a bitter taste, a putrid color. I hope we regain what Portlandia meant in the first place. A house, a garage, a celebration of us doing well. Our child's conception, life. The dreams of our youth realized. It can be all these things, and more, if only we make it through...

I got a bit sidetracked there. You get the idea though, yes? That for each place we travel we hold a wealth of memories, a general feeling, an aura of being. It's so strange and wonderful. If a picture is worth a thousand words, just being in a space you've been before is worth billions. Each frame of your life tumbling around you, recreating moments lost in time. The way the street light hit his face, that ice cold pool, ceiling fans in the dark, they're all tied to places that will out last our lives. Perhaps our memories will linger on there, as ghosts of the past. Let's make them good ones, shall we?

Monday, July 9, 2012

{Girlytech on} Fixing America

I'm a bit of an oddity, I know. I don't make a whole lot of sense in the scope of things, and there's not really a clearly defined niche that I fit into. Whether it's the fact that I'm a semi-educated mom to be with tattoos and red hair that wants more tattoos and purple hair.... or the fact that I'm a loosely affiliated Christian that believes all religious beliefs / spirituality serve the higher, and highest good. Or... my political beliefs, which is what I wanted to discuss for this particular blog entry. Because, I'm not really sure that any candidate will do well enough on what I'd like to see happen for me to even worry about the election this year.

A teacher I greatly admire started a blog, How to Fix the America! -- I thought I'd give a run down in far less detail than he's started doing (although I don't know if he's ever going to 'finish')


The tax system in our country is flawed, and quite obviously. The rich can get away with being taxed as much as those in poverty due to the numerous loopholes in the system. Corporations can get away with paying no taxes what so ever. It doesn't make sense, nor is it fair. So, how do we fix this? There's no perfect system, and everything has a loophole and a way of abuse. However, the closest thing to fair that I've seen is the aptly named Fair Tax. None of the money you make either as an individual or as a business is taxed. The taxes fall onto each and every new good and service. If you're poor you pay less taxes, if you're rich you pay more. There's a prebate system which helps further instill this progressive system. I've been a believer in this system since I first heard about it - read more about it here.

Health Care

It makes absolutely no sense to me the way the current health care system is set up in our country. Less than no sense, it's bat shit craziness. Those too poor to afford health insurance cannot afford to pay for their health care out of pocket, and state/federal programs are so ridiculous to qualify for it leads those who are poorer to either not getting the health care they need, or claiming bankruptcy every seven years due to medical bills. Those who can afford health care either on their own or through their employer often end up spending far more than if they had neglected to pay for health insurance in the first place. What we have is a corrupted system aimed at making money rather than a productive system aimed at keeping people healthy. With a universal health care system, the money raised from our taxes actually goes to something that serves the greater good, the intention of taxes in the first place. Everyone is eligible for the care they need, our bodies are healthier, our workforce is healthier and more productive, we live longer and support the tax base longer by purchasing goods/services, everyone wins. The health care initiative requiring everyone to have insurance is treating a symptom but not the real issue. The issue isn't that too few people have health insurance, it's that health insurance is needed in the first place. Having a market based system would help to drive down the price of medical care, but for some - any cost is too great. We don't necessarily need to go all the way free, adopting a system similar to Canada in which most is covered would be a great start.


Our entire education system from the ground up needs to be reworked. Essentially, we should copy Finland's system of education, as they have proven to have the highest statistics in the world in regards to graduation, college attendance, and performance. The adopt a policy of learning at one's own pace, learning through play, and all of it is universal beginning with day care at age 8 months. They also cover a mother to stay home with her child and provide in home education for the first three years of the child's life. Teacher's have more discretion with their classes, and everyone receives equal levels of treatment and education. It is not a society where those rich enough can afford private school and have their children excel where poor people in impoverished areas receive lower education and are forced into a downward spiral or at the very least complacency. Free school lunches, free field trips, free educational materials, ,minimal homework, focus on the arts, physical activity, the list really just goes on and on.

Secondary education, all education, should be universal for all citizens. This again goes into the same logic as the health care reform. All men are created equal, and therefore should be afforded equal opportunities. The higher education allowed by the entire reworked system produces bright and capable individuals who not only are versed within their particular field but have confidence and the ability and willingness to learn. We have a higher educated and adaptable workforce who produces better products and innovations, which then along with the Fair Tax creates a demand internationally, raises our intake of funds and feeds back into the economy.

The War On Drugs

I haven't quite decided my opinion on whether or not all drugs should be made legal, whether we should only outlaw those "unnatural" concoctions (meth, ecstasy, anything made in a bathtub...), or only allow select drugs which meet certain safety guidelines. Of course, with any instance any action which has the potential to cause harm would not be allowed. For instance, driving or watching children while under the influence. Marijuana is perhaps the most debated and nonsensically so in our current state. The effects have been widely documented as negligible for health, far less than legal substances (alcohol, tobacco), and the benefits as well. Hemp can be used in everything from fuel to plastic, clothes to building material. A huge crop with the potential to stabilize our economy without much if any reform on the current system. Creating jobs, generating revenue, and making us less dependent on outsourced materials. Let's not forget about the massive amount of tax payer money that goes into the ban of marijuana, prevention, corrective action, etc. Oregon alone spends 61.5 million dollars a year in measures related to prevention/punishment of cannabis. Let's take that money and instead put it into reforming our education system instead! I strongly suggest all my Oregonian readers (if you've made it this far!) to check out OCTA.

Personal Liberties

Keep it to yourself and do what you like. That's the gist of my belief anyway.

Speech, religion, and media should be censored only when harm to another individual or their property is potential or imminent. Parents should be the censor on what their children can hear/see not the government. Love and marry who you'd like. Have free control over your own body - what goes in it, on it, what you remove from it. If you don't believe in abortions, don't have one. Same goes for gay marriage, drugs, alcohol, guns, or birth control. If you believe that every person that has an abortion, likes someone of the same gender, etc. is going straight to hell - that's fine, and you can say it all you'd like as you have the freedom to do so. But there should be no law which provides validation to your beliefs on the matter one way or the other. Just because abortions, gay marriage, drug use, and owning a firearm is legal doesn't make it mandatory. However, a ban implies restriction over your rights. If I want to smoke a joint and have sex with my girlfriend I should be allowed to do so. If I want to abstain from drug use and have heterosexual relations, I should have that same right. What my neighbor wants to do is none of my business, as long as (s)he keeps it within the confines of his/her property.

The Environment

We should follow the basic rule that applies when you borrow an item from someone - return it in the same or better condition. Just as you wouldn't borrow a friend's car and return it dented and empty on fuel, we shouldn't rape our planet and hand it to the next generation to deal with. We don't own the planet, we're just renting it. When we die, the next generations will take over and so on. It's our duty to make sure that we leave it just as good as when we came into it, and hey, let's be the nice friend that details the car before they return it, shall we? The air we breathe and water we drink should be clean, there should be plants and trees, bunnies and streams. We should focus on renewable, 'green', energy. Actual green energy, your hybrid/electric car isn't the solution when it needs to be plugged in to an electric source fueled by coal, or when it's battery manufacturing and shipment causes a huge environmental toll as well. Though, the hybrid/electric car path is a step in the right direction. However, let's say we get marijuana legalized. We now have a huge, renewable fuel source in hemp fuel. Granted, car engine manufacturers would need to modify engine design to run on this fuel, but in the long run - we're thinking for future generations here - it would completely negate our reliance on foreign oil supplies. More money in the United States, more jobs, more people buying more things feeding into the tax pool, better environment. It all ties together you see :)

Jobs and the Economy

I pretty much covered the solutions to boosting the economy up where it should be and creating a plethora of new jobs, a healthier & more productive workforce, etc. We need to bring in more money than we spend, and by eliminating /simplifying the tax code, investing into hemp and other green energy sources (wind farms, solar panels, efficient engines, etc), and focusing on the people rather than the end result, we can do just that. Oh, and stop meddling into everybody else's business.

Immigration / Illegal Aliens

The Fair Tax stops the benefit of being paid "under the table" and ensures that everyone pays their fair share of taxes, whether or not they are here illegally. Granted, there are those that currently have legitimate jobs and pay taxes but find it difficult or impossible to get benefits (social security, welfare,etc) due to their citizenship status which in the end helps citizens by adding to the pool without subtracting. I find this to be a subject I'm on the fence about. No pun intended. I don't think that non-citizens should be able to get aide, and I don't believe we should offer immunity. However, I also am aware that a huge portion of our workforce is here illegally, and often doing jobs that most people feel are beneath them. If someone wishes to become a citizen, I think we should honor our "Give me your tired, your poor,your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" and give them the opportunity. Obviously there have to be guidelines to this, and there will be plenty who will be eligible for a visa that may not desire citizenship. I don't think though, that people should be allowed to live, work, raise their families, etc and not become citizens if they don't plan on returning home. Whether that be Mexico, Cuba, Canada, Russia, Bulgaria, wherever.

Affirmative Action / Race

In our current day and age, we need to get over the past and accept fully and with open arms that all men are created equal. You are not special or more privileged than anyone else because you are white, yellow, brown, black, or red. So, why should companies/colleges be required to judge based on that alone? Why are there scholarships for these "minority" groups? One may argue that there is this "hand up" mentality because there is inequality. Certain races tend to make less money, they can't afford the health care and education needed to raise to the occasion like other races can. Well, see above - problem solved. We now all have the same access to education and health care, it only makes sense that we have the same access to work and other privileges. There should be no legislature, no codes or laws which even make mention to a persons race in the slightest except for the generic statement we see, "without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, the presence of a medical condition or disability, or genetic information."

A brief answer to the other topics:

Women: same pay as men, same rights, full control over their bodies.
Social Security/Elderly: livable wages should be allowed, minimized ageism within policy (policies above accomplish)
War: undecided. the American people should have a clear voice/vote for international affairs - but are going to be too uneducated / lazy to make informed decisions. We should stick to ourselves as much as possible unless a threat is immediate or unavoidable, while keeping to allied agreements and UN practices to avoid more trouble. Spending to the extent we have been needs to stop in a hurry.
Foreign Affairs: Let the world sort out it's own trouble. Charitable donations would be tax free under Fair Tax, let Charities do the good work and the government focus on making the country better.
Death Penalty: Decided by individual states.'
Euthanasia: Allowed provided clear mental state can be shown.
Campaign Reform: Corporations/heads of corporations should stay far away from politics. Also, someone find me a politician who will do all of the above please?

So, there you have it, Stephanie's perfect government system. Seems like perfect common sense to me. This ended up being much, much longer than intended. It is True Blood and ice cream time now.

Friday, July 6, 2012

49 days to go!

Sometime between 4 and 9 weeks from right now, Oliver will be born. I feel ... terrified. I thought that the birth wouldn't be a big deal, I mean I've got the basics of breathing down, I've researched for hours... Now as we're closing in I'm thinking holy shit I should have taken a real class, not just an online class but a real practice and ask questions and learn more class. So I go to find one and they're pretty much all full and the ones that are available will be ending right at D-Day and so who knows if I'll even get to finish. So, I'm worried about the actual physical having him.

Then I've got 6 weeks or so off of work, unpaid. Which means that only the most essential of things will be able to be paid. Let's hope we're at least caught up by then. Then we've got $400 a month in child care, $100 in diapers+wipes, thank God breastfeeding is healthier than formula! One of our roommates is moving out, which is a good thing, but it also will up our rent. Then there's the actual medical bills... oi! And our food stamps expire this month and we make too much to renew.

I have to figure out how to breastfeed, pump at work and store the milk, get a sleeping cycle down, manage the finances... I think the weight issue will either just shed away like nothing... or go no where as I down twelve pounds of chocolate a day to keep the stress at bay. Then there's the John gets freaked out by babies and can't stand the crying issue... which is a whole other thing on it's own. Although from talking with other gents on the subject, apparently it's a D-day miracle that turns them from scared boys into fathers. We shall see.

I've never had a child, so I can't say whether or not I'll want another one. I can say that I don't really think I'd want to go through this again. I think if I get that idea in my head maybe I'll come back and read through this and go "oh, let's just adopt." I mean, with the giant-ness, swollen feet, nausea, heartburn, constipation&diarrhea, hemorrhoids, complete loss of sex drive, having to pee every five seconds, missing so much work with doctor's appointments, being exhausted all the time, stretch marks surrounding my entire torso, and having to keep reminding everyone "slow and steady wins the race" when walking in groups, when we all know that's not true. So there...future self contemplating making more babies, take that into consideration. Nine months of it.

There of course, is the other side of the coin. The I can't wait to meet my little angel side. The I've wanted a child since I was a child and here so soon I can taste it I'll have one. Each week seems to be shorter and shorter than the last, though I've heard the last few take ages. I can imagine that. I'm already become anxious to see him, to hold him. I want to set up everything, wash his clothes and bottles and get everything in its right place but I'm postponing because I know as soon as it's totally ready for him I'll want him to show up. As long as everything is still boxed and bagged and ready but not quite then it still feels like it's a ways off, like he's still brewing. He very much so is, of course.

He's only four pounds and seventeen inches. Not quite plump enough yet, as he'll be about 6.3 pounds when first considered full term and around 7.5 pounds and 20 inches on his due date. My own birth came at the 35 week mark, so I'm slightly nervous of that date, only two weeks away. Every contraction I feel now makes me wonder if it's time - though they've just been painless and very inconsistent thus far.

Hopefully everything will go smoothly and I'll start having real contractions at 5pm Friday the 24th and I'll go home and hang out until they're 5 minutes apart and then drive on over to the hospital and call my grandparents and maybe do a Facebook post and then I'll hang out for a bit and then squat and he'll pop right out and that will be that. If only life worked on our desires.

Well, that's it for now I suppose. I've got a breastfeeding class on the 10th, which hopefully will help alleviate some of my concerns in that regard. As for the rest, we can only take it one day at a time.

Monday, June 25, 2012

{Girlytech on} Sexuality & Discrimination

I overheard a conversation between colleagues today... "Everyone's partying this weekend - my son was partying and kept sending me pictures, look here's him and one of his lady friends..."

And everyone chuckled like oh what a player...or something.'s the thing. I know that the party was pride and that yes, that lady was a friend - but she was most assuredly not a "lady friend"" unless something has changed dramatically. In fact, the son in question was the first openly gay man I met. (Is coming out so much easier for females everywhere or just in the NW?)

I don't think the misdirection was on purpose even, or perhaps even noticed by the speaker. Maybe it's just built in defense. There are so many people in this world that would turn up their noses and that would be judgmental had it not occurred. Yet, I see no reason for it. For me, it doesn't matter - and I guess that leads me to feel like it shouldn't matter to anyone. Because, well, it shouldn't. I'm not sure where the difference is drawn. I came from a house where, my father especially, was very anti-homosexual... well, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Hispanic.... it would be far more surprising for him to not be part of some skin head group than for him to be part of it, honestly. He's one of the most universally hateful men I've ever encountered. But... I digress.... That hatred should have seeped into me, right - I mean, that's the general consensus - hate begates hate.

Perhaps it was being surrounded by the love of the pacific Northwest. Perhaps it was meeting amazing people who were gay, perhaps it was my own love and desire of the female form... who knows. Whatever the cause for me, love is love regardless. I am a firm believer that labels shouldn't even exist - that love should be able to flow freely from all to all without a definitive border. I think that labeling oneself straight or gay tends to set expectations that if later broken can lead the person ostracized from their social circle. I've known too many people who were "straight" all their lives and then ended up with a same-gender partner, or those who were "gay" and ended up falling in love with opposite. Or "bisexuals" who very obviously had a preference one way or the other. For me, I've never been past 2nd base with a female, and I probably never will be. I'm in a committed relationship with a man, and I plan to honor that relationship and all its boundaries... even though I would like to be able to explore the female form, I'm not sure I'd go much further even with husband's permission. For me... I'm...
|                    |            x       |
gay             bi               straight

there-ish. But again, I think that varies depending on my mindset and has fluctuated much over the course of my life.

With the laws and society the way they are, it is safer to be part of the group, I suppose than outside of it. Safer to be "gay" and in that community than be "unaffiliated" and with someone same-gender. I  hope that within our lifetimes we can see the removal of labels of any kind - race, gender, sexual orientation. . . and just be. That we can remove affirmative action, remove scholarships from schools that are based on anything other than scholastic/extra curricular achievements. That wages will be equal across the board, that a middle-class white male will have the same chance to get into the school of his dreams as a poor black woman. Yeah... pipe dream, I'm sure. Though it's not without merit, not without possibility. Not so very far out of reach, is it? I suppose it is.

I've been thinking a lot about discrimination these days, about the way of the world in which we live. Oliver won't find it of much note if a black man is elected president in his life, as one will be serving when he's born. I can only hope that by the time he's ready to fall in love and form a real relationship that he doesn't have to worry whether the person he loves is socially acceptable or not. If he falls in love with a man, and wants to marry him, I can only hope that by that point it won't be a question of which state they'll have to go to for the marriage to have legal standing. If he falls in love with a woman, I can only hope that we'll live in a world where she has full control over her body, and can stand on an even ground in her career, or be a housewife, or whatever it is she chooses to be without judgement.

A wiser man than myself once told me advice to live by "where my toes end, another's begin" It's a good start. Realize that what someone else does, who they love, who they are... it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect you. If that person tried to step on your toes, to change what you do, who you love, who you are -- then isn't within our rights to fight back? But as long as no one's getting hurt or being imposed upon, then what's the difference to the world at large? What does it matter if your neighbors are gay, or smoke weed, or have guns? As long as they're not smoking and driving, or shooting folks, or hating on you because you're not like them?

Just some of my thoughts & ramblings of the moment....

Friday, June 22, 2012

23 months and 31 weeks

At 31 weeks pregnant, I feel like I'm more baby than woman. I cannot only just feel Oliver when he's trying to test his ninja skills, but all the time as a sort of pressure wherever he's laying. I can only imagine what this is going to be like when he's 7.5lbs instead of 3.3... I can't believe he's really going to over double in weight. I feel so giant already and like I'm growing inches per day. It's definitely going to take a while to lose all this... baby, I bet. Although if it took nine months to put it on, it should probably take nine months to take it off. Unfortunately.

While Oliver's due date is in nine weeks, full term is six to eleven weeks from now. Six tiny, little weeks and I could have my baby boy with me in the real world. I should probably get on getting a car seat, stroller, breast pump, nursing clothes/bra, bottles, & milk storage.

Yeah.... babies.

What else is in Stephanie's life lately? Not much, really. I don't feel like doing much other than putting my feet up and relaxing. I want to go out and do something on occasion, but have been too broke to really do anything about it. Which... really worries me. We'll make it all work somehow I suppose. At least for the first few months Oliver will have clothes to wear and, as long as I get a breast pump and milk storage, food to eat without us having to buy much more than diapers.

I'm mostly just feeling blessed these days. Amazing friends who are there to help us out even when we tell them not to. Family that is there to throw an awesome baby shower and help Oliver get what he needs before he's born. A husband that will meticulously paint my toe nails because I can't reach them anymore. A job that's cool with me taking however long I want off with the baby and is giving me a promotion when I get back (if only I could get that raise now!). My only concerns are financial - like how on Earth am I going to afford the $300 /month health insurance while I'm not working, not to mention all the other bills...


In other news, Johnathan and I have been "married" 23 months today! This past year has flown by in less than the blink of an eye. Two years isn't that terribly long (my aunt/sister Melissa is celebrating 10 years today with my uncle/broinlaw Steve!) to be married - it feels like we just got married... but also like we've been married as long as I can remember. Like John's always been there. It seems the older I get, the quicker time moves. Being married for ten years with an eight year old son seems a life-time away, but it's right there on the horizon.

♥ 18 months ♥ 23 months ♥ 39 months ♥ Eternity to go 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Oh baby!

This weekend my grandma-ma and auntsters hosted a lovely baby shower for me. I neglected to bring my camera, but there were a few floating around, I'll be sure to add some pictures when they're uploaded.

We had a candy bar, cake, cupcakes, all kinds of fruits and veggies and juice drinks. I somehow felt busy and overwhelmed and yet completely removed. It was strange. I feel like I spoke to no-one, I ate a handful of carrots and that was it out of all the tasty goodness. Although afterwords I did nom the heck out of some candy and red pepper hummus. Which, by the way, I am in love with.

Oliver received a whole plethora of presents over the past couple weeks and yesterday. Our total haul thus far:

642 Diaper Wipes - Woo!
40 Diapers
31 onesies
11 blankets (1 swaddle, 1 hand crocheted)
9 bibs
9 washcloths
7 pairs of socks
6 burp cloths
6 pacifiers (1 with clip and 1 with stuffed animal attached)
4 books
3 care/grooming sets
3 towels (2 hooded)
3 boxes cotton swabs
2 diaper rash ointments (1 called butt paste! :P)
2 containers of bath soap
2 containers of baby powder
2 track suit outfits
2 button up shirts
2 "monster footies" (slippers w/ dragons on them)
2 sets silverware & travel case
1 sweater
1 no scratch mittens
1 bottle brush
1 bottle baby lotion
1 bottle baby oil
1 security blanket/rattle
1 carrier
1 diaper bag
1 portable crib
1 portable crib mattress

My unborn son now has more clothing, care products, blankets, and washcloths than I do. The vast majority is for 0-3 months, so I'll definitely have some shopping ahead of me (yay and boo in the same breath) - but it will be able to wait a while. All that's really left is breast pump/storage/nursing bras, a car-seat, and bottles. I have not a clue as to who got me what (beyond those who went through the registry) because there was some miscommunication about how you're supposed to write down gifts received. However, it doesn't really matter. I want all those that helped prepare me for Oliver's arrival, decorated a onesie for him, or just supported us with love and well wishes to know how very deeply thankful I am to have you in my life and to have your love/support as we go into this 18+ year adventure guns blazing.

Johnathan's face during opening some of the gifts - his confusion at diaper rash ointment and hooded towels made the whole room laugh... and me think I should probably find a new parents class for him to become acquainted with everything. He's never changed a diaper, for example.

Oliver put on a show for some of the guests that stayed later. I found their reactions pretty entertaining. Amazement, slight horror... ah, yes. I found a mix of both in myself the first time I saw him dancing around. Now it's just amusement, and a good feeling knowing that he's getting stronger and bigger and is still healthy enough to pack a punch. I can't believe I've only got 74 days to go! Just ~2.5 months until we'll officially be parents. Craziness.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

All of this, everything I know and take for granted and cherish - it's all about to change.

Will I still be able to sleep in until 9, snuggle cats and John for an hour and then go downstairs to think about breakfast? Probably not.

Right now I'm just laying in bed with my netbook, smelling the new barkdust from outside, watching Murr play with her mouse toy - flipping it high into the air and catching it. I haven't gotten dressed for the day yet, and it's almost half past noon. I haven't done much of anything. I went to the club house to "help" set up for the baby shower. Really, I just organized some candy jars and sat on a couch. Hard knock life, right?

I'm so uncertain as to how things will be over the next few months, it's hard to do anything but take it one day at a time. We've got baby stuff in the garage that needs to be cleaned and assembled into it's rightful location, but it seems like we have all the time in the world to get that done. What's the rush? I need to deep clean our room to get it all shiny for the baby, but again...what's the hurry? It seems like Oliver is still years away... Yet, here I am in  month seven having a baby shower. Gathering friends and family to celebrate the soon approaching new life that will be joining us here on this earth.

I am so excited to meet Oliver, to wrap him in my arms and cover him with kisses. To learn all about him, and how to be a mom and to find out just how much my life is going to get flip turned upside down. The hardest part is going to be taking the six+ weeks off of work. Without my income, I'm not sure how all of our bills will get paid. I guess we'll just do our best to pay everything in as much advance as possible. I'll just have to take the shortest time I can off of work and leave Oliver with....

Right, there's another thing we haven't figured out yet. Where Oliver is going to go when I go back to work. Who will he stay with, who will take care of him? There are daycares in the area, but I really don't want to leave him with a mess of other babies and with someone I don't know. Which narrows down the field quite a bit. I think that former coworker of mine's wife is still doing daycare for a reasonable rate - and I know them enough to feel safe-ish with leaving Oliver with them. There's always my grandma too, which I would prefer - but she's already got so much on her plate. Although I'm sure it'd be nice for her to have some extra cash on hand.

For now, I'm going to continue cherishing these quiet moments I have to myself. Love on my kitties, spend time one on one with my dear husband - and be thankful for the sweet moments. I don't know how my life will change once Oliver's here, but I know it will be busier, more chaotic, and more full of love than I can know.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ready and able?

Two questions I've been thinking about a lot lately, or more so that have been haunting me lately...

Is it worth it?


Am I ready?

The first question I imagine will be answered once Oliver is actually here, in my arms. I imagine, from the fact that people still continue to plan to have children and most that have one have more than one... the answer will be yes. He will be worth the sleepless nights, the stretch marks, the pain and annoyance and uncomfortable situation I've been in for the last six months and will continue to be in for the foreseeable future. There are far too many people who have told me they loved being pregnant... I just can't see it. Can't imagine someone who would enter into this knowing full well what it was going to be. Then again, I imagine he's worth it. And if he is, I imagine that his siblings very well may be as well. Still... without knowing him, if someone had given me a preview of what it would be like... I think I would have decided against having children or at the very least waited until ... I don't know. Until I didn't care about what I looked like, until I didn't have to work, until... something. Probably wouldn't have happened though. I have hope I will have changed my opinion on the matter once Oliver is actually here. Hoping it's just a in the moment thing.'

But, am I ready? This I can most assuredly answer no. Not at all. I think when we decided to take this journey we thought we were ready. We must have, right? This pregnancy wasn't an oopsy daisy kind of thing. We planned it, wanted it. Decided we had our ducks in a row enough to add another member to our family. And then all our ducks died. Which probably is the main reason why we are not ready. We essentially depend on the baby shower to provide us everything we need for Oliver for at least the first month or so of his life. Though, really, I'm going to be out of commission, so... who knows. I hope that John gets the pay initially promised to him - that will help. But, the company seems to be severely back tracking. We couldn't afford for me to take off two months without a baby... so no, we're not ready.

Finances aside, am I ready? Am I ready to change diapers, breast feed, be spit up / pooped / peed on? Am I ready to have this living, breathing, learning, human being depend 100% on me for his very survival? I don't know. I've always assumed that this would be the easy part. That finances might be rough, but that taking care of the baby - that would be easy. But now as we're quickly approaching D-Day... I'm having second thoughts. We can't afford any of these childbirth preparation classes, which has me nervous - but I have faith in the internet and my own pain tolerance management to make it through. But then after? I can't count how many diapers I've changed, how many bottles I've made, how many stories read, and time outs issued. And yet... I am terrified to my very core that I won't know what I'm doing. That as soon as Oliver emerges into this world every child I've previously taken care of, every memory will vanish. I'll be left with a micro-human that may as well be an alien species. Then what? I love Johnathan but my faith in him to step up and be super dad is ... limited. He's never had the child experiences, so everything to him will be totally brand new. I can't just expect him to step in and do everything while I stare at Oliver like he's from Mars and I'm a paralytic robot.  I don't have a nesting instinct, everything continues on the way it was. The baby stuff we've gotten so far remains packaged up and out of site as if we're trying to delay the inevitable, as if we can't accept what's knocking at our door.

So, you know, there's that. I've just adjusted to being pregnant. Granted, it hasn't been the easiest or most graceful of transitions, but I'm at the point where I can't really remember what it was like to not have life inside of me. I'm worried that the transition from pregnant to mother is going to be just as rough. And I can't exactly take six months to get used to the idea. It has to happen immediately, like flipping a light switch. Civilian to Officer with no training in an instant. I'm scared that I just won't be able to cut it. That I'll be shot out of the sky before I even earn my wings.

I've never really heard anyone else voice these things. So I wonder, am I the only one who feels this way? Johnathan seems to voice the same concerns. I know we can't be the only expectant parents in a planned pregnancy to be so completely and totally unprepared and terrified. Yet, does it make us bad people, does it predicate an awful parenthood? I'm not sure, and I really hope not. I hope that when Oliver comes into this world that right switches are flipped, the maternal instinct I've always had so strongly is reignited and instinct and love take over. They've gotten me this far, let's see what else they can do.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Okay, well.... I've gotten in touch with Craigslist, the humane society/pet finder, and posted on a neighborhood site. Thus far, no word on the fluff known as Murr. I'm crying, Mitter's crying... but I haven't heard any murrs in response. I've walked the streets, but with so many houses, so many back yards, it's impossible to look everywhere, and even if you did you still might not find her/him.

I just hope that wherever she is, he's happy. That this was her chance to live the feral life that she wanted. Why she's always stayed close to home before when he's escaped, and this time seemingly vanished... I don't know. Perhaps it is that the weather is more fair and the area more explorable.

I have her picture on my "this is why you work" board... a piece of paper I keep above my computer monitor at work with pictures of John and the kitties... motivation when work gets me down. Today, I looked at it and started bawling at my desk. I'm sure hormones don't help the case any...

Can you get any cuter than that‽
I mean, this one tries.....

I guess he does a pretty good job when he wants to. I've kind of lost hope... but it hasn't been too long, not yet a week.. so maybe we'll get to see her again soon.

Until then, sleep well wherever your head lies....

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Woo Insurance!

Because I am beyond broke, pregnant, and don't currently have any other offerings on the table, I was able to qualify for the Oregon Health Plan. So, since February all of my doctor's appointments, ultrasounds, etc. have been totally covered. As I started my new job in February, I'll be eligible to start getting insurance through them in May. Which very well may leave me fending for myself by paying for insurance and a deductible I can't afford. I'm hoping I'll still qualify for some sort of help in the matter...

Since I know I won't probably have it for very long, I went to the dentist (it'd been 5 years) and eye doctor (it had been 4 years) along with my normal baby check up. The dentists has always been a calming place for me, though I'm sure that makes me some kind of freak, and it was nice to get everything all tidied up. Teeth looked great, no cavities - which was a surprise given my oral hygiene over the last 3 or so years has consisted of quickly brushing my teeth in the morning before work and nothing else. I do, however, show signs of pregnancy gingivitis, so Listerine was recommended. Hopefully that clears up and I'm able to keep everything shiny. I also got floss threader things to clean out my permanent retainer since it's a pain in the ass. Yay!

At the eye doctor's, I learned that my prescription just needed slight adjusting. Although, I'm not sure how slight since I feel my vision is far worse and I'm not being able to see anything even with my, we'll see. However, I also learned that OHP while great for doctor's appointments and pretty good for dentist appointments, is not so great for glasses. The cover the exam, which is amazing - but then only the cheapest of cheap products. Which, essentially boils down to them covering $75 and you covering the rest. Luckily John sold his bike and we had a small amount of extra cash left over from that after paying bills.

At the prenatal check up I learned that everything is right in the middle of where it should be. So even though apparently I look way bigger than 21 weeks according to family...and the lady at the DMV... I'm actually totally average. That, and seeing some other pregnant ladies that look just as/more pregnant than me that are less along helped my confidence a bit. Though, I still feel giant! Oliver is growing perfectly proportionally and we got more negative results back from genetic screening (a good thing). It was last appointment with Dr. Brown's office since she's decided that in June she's going to stop delivering babies. So I've got to make an appointment with another office in the area. If they don't work out, I may end up delivering at St. Vincent's instead of Tuality. Which wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing ever, but - I don't know, for some reason Tuality feels more safe and less corporate, even though they're way more into making money than St. Vincent's is. Also, I'm a little worried about the insurance change over in May. I have no idea who the insurance provider is, and what doctor's they'll support... which could change something again and I might only get one appointment at my new place before I have to switch. I hope it's not Kieser or something which doesn't give me much choice in the matter.

I feel much better though, that I've taken care of myself, and although I had to pay quite a bit for the glasses/lenses - I've still saved five times as much over the last few months by having OHP in the first place.

So, yay insurance! Yay being healthy! Looking forward to having a perfect baby boy here in (OMG!) four months.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy birthday/Easter!

Happy Birthday Johnathan!
Happy Easter everyone!

This weekend we're saying "whoops" to the diet and eating what's...there, I guess. We did semi-okay yesterday with veggie pizzas but... there were chips and cake and soda... the kind of noms that beg for me and leave you feeling less than pristine the next morning. And soon we'll be heading off to a family BBQ for Easter, which I'm sure will be full of burgers, franks, and all other kinds of animal protein goodness.

Oh well, for dinner we'll be back to the wholesome goodness, and we'll continue it - so I guess it's not *that* bad to have an average American's diet for two days.

John's birthday party was actually quite nice, hanging out with friends new and old - just conversating. So much so that I lost my voice from talking and laughing by the end of the night. Never a bad thing in my opinion.

Reached out to Tiffany the other day. Seems like John wants to know my agenda. I don't have one, really. I just want her to know that she's still loved, I guess. That even though there are bad things happening in her life that it's okay... I don't know. That and now that she's not with James she won't have that... evil? breathing down her neck. Maybe she'll get back to what she once was. Or, at least something more that than what she's been of late. We all change, grow up, have families so... I guess hoping for high school is a little more than silly.

Oliver is getting bigger and bigger by the day it seems, and that means so am I! I don't know how I'm supposed to contain him when he's twice as long and seven times as heavy. I feel like I'm bursting at the seams already. I guess we'll stay tuned on that note. I made a new blog as well ( that's not exactly going to be entertaining to anyone - but is a journal of sorts from me to my son. I think it'll help me bond before he's born, and something to keep going throughout his years - to maybe bind into a book once he's an adult or something.

Happy Easter to one and all. Let's take a moment to celebrate new beginnings, spring air, and - most importantly recognizing that "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Have a safe, fun, and happy holiday!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Going vegan...ish

Idly flipping through Netflix one weekend I came across the documentary Forks Over Knives.

With John's heart problems, weird tumor things, and previous exposure to all kinds of cancer making things it seemed kind of no-brainer that a vegan diet is the way to go.

So I did a ton of research and discovered that all of what they say in that documentary is fact... and that it's kind of scary.

After depleting our store of non-happy food in the house, John and I did our first grocery shopping trip. Two days in, and so far so good.

Here are the strict guidelines as laid out in the film/research:
- Vegan diet (no animal protein of any kind).
- Low sodium diet (the caloric intake must be equal or more than the sodium mg)
- No oil
- No sugar
- No refined foods.

That's pretty extreme, but ... so is cancer and heart disease. However, I just don't think that diet's realistic to jump into - especially whilst almost 5 months pregnant. So I'm doing something a bit different...

- Lacto Vegetarian (cutting down but still trying to get enough servings as recommended for preggers. No fish, no chicken, no eggs, the only animal anything will be from dairy)
- Low sodium (1:1 calories:sodium mg)
- Minimal oils (No oil for instance, in the hummus I made, but a drizzle while sauteing veggies)
- No "fake" sugars. No HFCS, no corn syrup, no aspartame, etc. Cane sugar / organic sugar / honey is preferred, but plain old sugar in moderation allowed.
- No MSG, or anything on the label you don't know what it is.

John is a bit harder to win over to the dark side... so he's changing things up by doing the above with the below modifications:
- No red meat. Limited land animal protein, most protein from seafood.
- Reduced sodium intake (1.5:1 calories:sodium mg)

We'll see how it goes. It's been two days so far and it's not that big of a deal for me. I've found the texture/taste of meat pretty gross in the last several months. If baby wants to be a vegetarian, I'm okay with that. I have a pretty large need for cheese though, which I'm trying to cut back on...we'll see.

I'm just as content with grapenuts as fruit loops, with apples instead of pop-tarts, with hummus and veggie wraps instead of chicken and pasta, as mushrooms and rice with low sodium soy sauce instead teriyaki beef.

We've also decided that one day a week we'll allow ourselves the indulgence we've been craving. Whether that's chicken wings (Wing Tuesdays anyone?) or a steak or a bag of potato chips... who knows. So far I am content knowing I'm putting good food in, getting good nutrients, and making myself healthy (and by proxy the baby healthy). I want John to be old enough to see his kids get married and have kids on their own and there's no way that's going to happen if it's all steaks and cheeseburgers.'s written down, now I can hold myself accountable. :) Wish me luck on my healthier trails!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3 Years

March 22nd, 2009 is when it all began....

Three years together.
Just about as long living together... (shhh we don't break social norms!)
One year, eight months since forever I do.

Eighteen weeks into "Oh my goodness, what ever shall we do?!"

Growing, learning, loving. Praying, hoping, wishing. 

It's been a wild ride, this love. Everything seems to always be happening, yet never at the right time. Or... things seem to happen at the right time, then everything else falls apart. 

Hand in hand, we remain. Two heartbeats against the world....three heartbeats against the world. 

Here in a few months hopefully I'll be able to write about all the joy I have for something else as well.

I get to find out the sex of the bell-pepper sized acrobat growing inside of me. Then we'll be able to formulate and scheme just a little bit better, be able to narrow our gaze to just a few names, and finally know whether 'it' is a he or a she. Whether we're into tiny little suit vests or big ol' tutus. 

Three years we started this... and here's to three more... and so on, and so on.

♥ 15 months ♥ 20 months ♥ 36 months ♥ Eternity to go