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.