The people asked and I cannot refuse them

23 01 2008

I’ve been finding it hard to organize my thoughts when I consider posting, so eventually I just don’t, but I do want to keep this thing up.  I was reminded the other night by Megan that there are more people who like to keep up with me this way than I sometimes remember.  So I’ll attempt to make some sense of all the things that have been rattling around in my head these days.

First off, some news.  Most of you know, but that’s ok.  I’m moving back to Goshen.  Mike and I have decided it will be best for us to start out married life there.  I applied for a job as an admission counselor at the college.  I still need to get all of my letters of reference in, but other than that I’m just waiting for them to get back to me.  We’re interviewing for a replacement with the kids.  So far we have found one candidate that we like, but are going to do a couple more interviews to give us some options.  I think we’ll probably hire in the next week or so.  At this rate I’ll probably move back in the first few weeks of March sometime.  Possibly the last weekend of February.

I had been struggling with the decision to stay in Evanston vs. going back to Goshen for several months, but two events over Christmas break played a large role in changing my mind.  The first was a game night with a few of Mike and my friends.  The key here is that last phrase- Mike AND my friends- not Mike’s friends, not my friends, but our friends.  We have mutual friends in Goshen, something that would be completely lacking in Evanston.  The second was Christmas eve with my family we went around and talked about something that had happened this last year that was a high point, and all of my sister’s kids mentioned sports that they were involved in, and I realized that I was really sad to be missing out on all of those events.  Being around both our families is a wonderful opportunity.

I’m really excited about the transition and some of the wonderful things that moving to Goshen means in my life.  I auditioned for several shows at New World last weekend including the musical Urinetown which would be a blast to be part of.  I’m really excited about attending Assembly again and plugging back into a small group.  But I’m also so very sad to be leaving the babies and my girlfriends.  I don’t have an really close friends in Goshen.  I have alot of friends there, don’t get me wrong, but none of those relationships hold a candle to what I have with Abby, Becca and Jess.  I will miss them intensely.  I’ve put myself on the fast track to returning to Goshen, but now that it’s actually happening I’m feeling emotionally unprepared for the transition.  Hopefully that changes some as things fall into place with a job and a place to live in Goshen, and as the reality of what’s happening settles in my gut a bit.  Let’s just say I’ve been dealing with alot of anxious energy in the last few days.

Also, I hate waiting for things… like hearing from the college about my application.

Oh and in the last two days I have purchased several things in quantities of 300.  Why does buying stuff for the wedding make me so nervous?


I forgot to post yesterday!

16 11 2007

My apologies for making a promise and not following through.

Alrighty, so where to begin.  The past few days of work have been especially light.  Ray (poor babe) has been sick with a fever and his mom has been staying home with him.  So Liz and I have been taking it easy together.  It’s amazing how smoother the days go with one child.  They always eat, sleep and play better when it’s only them.  Although I think they both have more fun when they’re together.  Unfortunately it’s just been too cold to go to the park.  This is especially sad because I can let Liz have more freedom when it’s just her.  When I have both kids in the park it’s quite nerve wracking.  I miss Ray, but I’ll be sad to go back to two kids.  It’s been a nice break.

Wedding plans are underway.  This weekend my roommates (3 of my 4 bridesmaids) and I are going bridesmaid dress shopping.  Exciting!  I can’t wait to see them in all the pretty dresses.  I also want to pick out a veil style.

Let me take a moment to go on a veil tangent.  I never thought I would wear a veil.  It seemed a slightly antiquated tradition, and somewhat over the top for my simplistic tastes.  Not that I thought they looked bad on other brides, or think they shouldn’t be worn.  No, with most traditions that originated in patriarchal, malecentric ways I feel that they have lost their original meaning enough that I’m not put off by them.  It was more a style choice.  But then I went dress shopping (a couple years ago the first time I was engaged) and although it was super fun to try on the dresses by themselves, it wasn’t until a couple dresses in when the attendant fetched a veil and secured it on my head that I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was getting married.  I felt like a bride.  I realize that this is because of the stereotype, but it doesn’t really matter all that much why, the veil makes me feel excited and giddy and melty.  So I changed my mind.

I get to see my brother and his wife next week!  I haven’t seen them since last Christmas, so that is very exciting indeed.

10 things to be grateful for.

15 08 2007

Stephanie sits down at her computer lounges on the couch with her laptop overheating in her lap. She checks her e-mail checks to see if she has a new e-mail from Mike even though she know she doesn’t. She gets an IM from a guyfriend from college which leads her to reminiscing about a blog her college friends started 4 years ago, and reading those early entries. She tries to find songs to suggest to her friend who’s getting married in a month for background music during the reception. Than, because she promised herself she’d jump back on the horse she checks her WP account which she hasn’t touched in months.


Last night my beautiful roommate Abby, in an attempt to encourage me out of my current worry/stress induced slump, told me 10 things that I should be thankful for. And as she said, they are not in order because that would take too much brain power. (It was midnight and I hadn’t been able to sleep) So here goes.

1) Mike. I have a wonderful young man who is in love with me and who’ll be home in LESS THAN A WEEK. In Abby’s words, less is a beautiful word to be able to put in front of week.

2) My job. I have a great job that I enjoy with bosses that value me and that pays me more than adequately.

3) A roof over my head, and the knowledge that I’d never have to do without one.

4) A family that although is somewhat non-traditional is always there for one another.

5) I have my physical health.

6) 3 fabulous roommates who love and support me.

7) I have intelligence and reason. Or at least Abby says I do ;).

8 ) I have scars, both physical and emotional that show that I’m a survivor and that is a cause for hope.

9) I have a cat and cats are cute.

10) I can dance. I have something in my life that can bring me great joy.

So what are your ten? Seriously, if you read this, no matter how you happened this way, I encourage you to comment with then things you are grateful for in your life. What fun!

Goshen for the weekend

30 06 2007

I’m doing laundry the “old fashioned” way, one load at a time.  No I’m not doing it by hand, but it’s weird having to switch loads so much and spend a whole day doing laundry.  Also my stupid cat must have slept in my hamper because everything is still covered in cat hair even after it comes out of the drier.

My post almost started “Home for the weekend”, almost.  But Goshen isn’t home.  Evanston is.  Or wait.  Where is home?  If “home is where the heart” is, Guatamala might be the strongest contender.  But then there’s my family (mostly in Goshen) and my flatmates (right now, all over the globe).  Honestly, home is such a vague notion for me.  It has been since we left this area in 5th grade.  One of my strongest desires is not to struggle with what to call home.  I want to feel settled in one place, with my strongest ties in that place.

I love coming to Goshen, but it’s always a struggle making time for everyone and having the right priorities.  It’s not quite as hard when Mike’s not here, because there’s not the draw to spend all my time with him, but it’s still difficult.  I want to spend plenty of time with my family, but there are alot of friends to see as well.  My parent, my two nieces, and my baby nephew went to the zoo today.  I really wish I had gone with them.  But I didn’t and instead got my laundry done, had lunch with a friend and hit up the 50% off sale at Goodwill for some silverware for when Becca and I move into our condo (Abby owns all the silverware).

Work is stressful.  But it’s getting better and Erini is working out really well.  It’s so nice having someone I’m comfortable with and who I know isn’t going to flake out on me.  I was dreading the summer with the other woman we had hired because she was tiresome to be around all day for a variety of reason, and I’m so thankful she quite.  I’m not usually so turned off by a person, so I was surprised/concerned about my response to her.  But she’s gone, and for the most part I’m just not worrying about it. The really interesting thing was that the girls didn’t like her either (especially Liz) which I just chalked up to her being a stranger, but they’ve taken to Erini alot better.

Ray (my new little boy) is growing on my quite a bit.  At first I was skeptical about having a boy to work with since I’d been with the girls for so long, but I think mostly I was reacting to the idea of learning to know any new baby.  I’m going to miss Rose so very much.  She’s my little sweetheart.  I hope to visit her in Seattle sometime next year when I go out to see some of my friends, but I realize she probably won’t remember me!  More than likely she will never really remember who I am.  I find that very strange, since I’ll never forget her, and she means so much to me.  It makes me sad.

Abby (Oregon friend who’s getting married) changed her date to the 14th!  So I’m going to Oregon twice in a month’s time.  And Mike’s going with me 😀  Grrr.. but it’s expensive even for a short weekend trip.  Sigh.  I get to go try on bride’s maid’s dresses tomorrow though so that’s exciting.

Alright I think I’m done with random updates.

No word on the co-op, although we’re supposed to go to a co-op meeting on the 9th so that people can meet us if they want.  the 9th also happens to be the half-way mark for Mike’s trip.  Can’t come fast enough.


26 04 2007

I was recently inspired to retrace the steps of my interview meme to see how widespread it was.  And boy howdy!  what a big blogging world there is out there!  I decided to stop once I had traced back 10 blogs.  I found some really neat ones that will most likely see me again on a regular basis.  And since I’ve been having a bit of blogger’s block lately I decided to ask each of them to interview me.  If each of them respond that will be 50 questions, which should keep me busy for a while.  Here was my first response.

Christine asked…

1) In a recent post you talked about BYU’s alternative commencement ceremony as a protest to Dick Cheney being the commencement speaker. Imagine instead that the speaker was Hillary Clinton, how would your post have read if students were reacting in the same manner?

You know, I thought about that as I was writing the post.  To be realistic, I probably wouldn’t have been paying as much attention to the news in the first place if it had been Hillary, but let’s say that it was… Howard Dean.  I probably wouldn’t read the blog of someone who felt that way about Howard Dean.  Not because I want to be close-minded, but how often do we relate to someone with vastly different views?  And I’ll be the first to admit that I have to fight the urge to be closed off to views I don’t agree with.

But, I hope that I would respect the ideology behind the protest, and the manner in which it is being carried out.  I feel that honest, peaceful dissent is the best way to bring about change, and is necessary to keep the government in check.  I believe I would feel this way even if things were run exactly how I’d want them to be run (or at least I really hope).  We need open dialog to keep up with the changing world and to create a more respectful society.

2) If you could describe your ideal day in one sentence, what would it be?

My ideal day would be warm, barefoot, earthy, creative, and end relaxing in the arms of someone I love.

3) You need someone to know the most important thing about you, immediately. What is it?

That’s so hard!  There are a lot of things I could say, but I think the most important thing is sort of two things that are closely related.  I was born in Zaire (we left when I was an infant), and then when I was 9 my parents and I moved to Zambia after my closest sister graduated from H.S.  Part of my schooling in Zambia took place at a British boarding school.

Ok, I’m sort of cheating, because it’s really two things, but whatever.  So the Africa part is important because there’s a part of me that will always want to be in Africa.  My happiest, most vivid childhood memories are from our two years there, and it’s my birthplace.  The boarding school bit is important because that was when I started to separate my identity from my family.  I also attended boarding school for H.S. and that had a larger impact, but I trace the roots of my independent nature to that experience.

4) What did you want your name to be, when you were a little girl? Why was it your favorite name?

There wasn’t any particular name, although I liked the name Gabrielle, I just wanted my name to be more unique.  My brother’s and sisters all got cool uncommon names.  Karis, Andre’ and Lenora.  Then there’s me, Stephanie.  There were 4 Stephanies in my elementary class alone.  Remember that British boarding school I was talking about?  There were 16 kids, and another Stephanie.  In H.S. I lived in the room next to another Stephanie Ann.  My dad likes to tell people that Stephanie was the most popular name in Nebraska (where he’s from) the year I was born.

5) What would you change about yourself, if anything?

I would live more in the moment.  This would change me in two major ways.  First off I wouldn’t procrastinate so much because why not do something right now instead of putting it off till later?  And more importantly, I wouldn’t worry about my life turning out the way I want it to so much.  I can really stress myself out with that one.

Word gets around

29 03 2007

My relationship with my family is quite complicated. I don’t actually know most of my family very well, but we’re not what you would call a “dysfunctional” family. I just haven’t lived with them for alot of my formative years. I am the baby of the family. My siblings are 13, 11, and 9 years older than I. I have fond memories of all of them from my childhood, but I never learned to really know them as people. I had my first dorming experience at 10, and although it only lasted for a few months, I think I really started to disconnect from my parents then. I went to boarding school for high school, and became pretty distant from both of them. I had always been a pretty independent child anyway, and I don’t remember having a strong connection with either of them after coming back from Africa. I remember feeling as a middle and high schooler that my mom was tired of raising children and that I was her last chance to “do it right’ and that I was failing her.

So now that I’m an adult, I deal with this dicatomy of feeling distant and disconnected from my family while also having alot of history with them that makes it feel like I should know them better.  I’ve been learning more about my parents and sisters in the past few years, but slowly and at times akwardly.  I realize alot of this is my fault, because they are right there.  I could talk to them basically whenever I wanted, but I don’t take the time.  I envy my roommates who seem comfortable and close to their families.  I love my family very much, and think they are all amazing people.  And I know they love me.  I hope that I can find ways to bridge this gap in years to come.

Last weekend I found out that we are not as disconnected as I sometimes think.  I was in Goshen that weekend, and Mike and I were dealing with some strong questions about the wisdom of continuing our relationship despite the fact that he is going to be gone alot of the next year, we have no clear idea of when we can actually be in the same place, and he’s feeling insecure about what he wants for his future and how I fit into that.  He’s afraid of hurting me and that the separation is going to be too hard on me and he’ll feel guilty about that.  A trial separation was discussed, a more permanent breakup seemed imminent at on point, but at the end of the weekend we chose to stay together and continue as planned.  But on Saturday we thought we were going to take a break over the summer, and possibly next fall, and when I stopped by my sister’s house I told her about it.  I didn’t think she would say anything to any of the other family (I’m not exactly sure why I was under this impression), so imagine my surprise when I received a call on Monday from my mom saying “I heard from your brother that you and your boyfriend split up!”  So new actually travels faster in my family than I realized.  Except I’m always the last to hear.  I remember one time my nephew broke his arm and I found out a month later.  They were still living in PA at the time.

On a random note, in a recent conversation with Abby about the weekend’s drama, she called me a “serial monogamist”.  How’s that for creating new vocabulary.

An e-mail to a close friend

5 02 2007

Music: Homebird by Foy Vance

(I think this e-mail sums up recent events pretty well)

Well, let’s see. Things with work are good. Sometimes I can’t wait for the girls to get a little older so that they are quite as dependent on me. I don’t mind the dependency, or take care of them, it’s only a problem when they both want my attention right now. Liz especially can be fussy and want to be held simply because she’s tired, which makes it hard to give Rose the time she deserves. Especially now because I’ve been working with her on learning to sit up and it sucks when I have to lay Rose down during some of the short time when she’s awake and not being fed or changed or tired and falling asleep. So there are times that I get a bit frustrated that I can’t give each of the girls the attention I want to, but as they get older that will get better.
I went back to Goshen this weekend. It was a good trip, but way too fast. I got to see all my family that lives in the area, except Matt (Karis’ husband) because he was working, and my oldest nephew because he was on a church retreat. I wish I could have spent more time with them, but I also spent a good portion of the weekend catching up with friends. I’m beginning to realize how much I miss having a strong, varied, and extensive community. I love the town of Evanston, but I don’t feel close to people here except for my roommates. I miss so many people from Goshen. It was wonderful to see Mike because I’d had an emotionally draining week for various reasons- two very stressful, disturbing dreams, and having a talk with a close friend about something I did in the past that was very hurtful to her that she didn’t know about. She’s really angry at me, understandably, but it’s really hard because it’s something I’m not proud of and it makes me feel small and pathetic. But I’m also a different person than I was when it happened and I hope she can see that and forgive me.
The more time I spend with Mike the more I realize how well we respond to each other. He has a real calming affect on my life. We are able to be completely open with one another even when it’s hard. I trust him, which is important given the distance. He’s someone who I can talk to when I’m dealing with real issues of life and faith, and he processes them with me. I never feel like he’s judging me, which is something I have struggled with when it comes to alot of people I’m close to. But he also helps me own up to my own faults and issues. I’m still scared of opening myself up to potentially getting very hurt again. I’m not sure how to get away from the fear, but so far I’ve been able to keep it from disabling me in the relationship. Sometimes it’s so hard for me to talk myself down from giving up because it takes so much time and emotional energy to keep up the long distance relationship. I’m hopeful for it though.

He got it!

18 01 2007

Mike got the part! I was thrill when I found out. And I know the girl who’s playing his love interest. She’s the little sister of one of my friends and I’ve gone to church with her since I came to Goshen, so I’m not really intimidated by that. I’m not sure I would have been anyway, but who knows. I’m going to have to get used to this aren’t I… Now seeing him kiss someone else would suck, but not too bad.

In other news, last night the apartment girls, Becca’s mom and I all went to the local Ethiopian restaurant and it was fantastic. I was worried that it would be too spicy, but it wasn’t at all, and it was all so flavorful. Yum. Then Jess’ friend Beth picked Jess, Abby and I up and we went down Clark street to a really sweet restaurant/bar/coffee shop where a folk concert was taking place. And you’d never believe who was performing and how I made the connection that I know her (sort of). Her name’s Rachel Ries and her family and my family were really good friends when we lived in Zaire. Now I didn’t really know them because I was a baby, but she was 3 when I was born and she said she remembered me, or more specifically, she remembers “the little H…….. baby”. And I put the connection together based solely on her last name and the fact that she has some sort of Mennonite connection because Abby saw her at Mennofolk. Ok, so that’s not that incredible, but I was really hesitant to ask her. What a small world we live in. She has a gorgeous voice. It reminds me of Fiona Apple’s. So that was fun, but we stayed up too late talking (about love and kids and sexual orientation) when we got home, so today I’m tired. But it’s another day with the girls. Right now Liz is sleeping and Rose is staring off into space falling asleep.

Here’s hopin’

17 01 2007

Chanicleer: Lost in the Stars

I hope Liz stays asleep for at least another 15 minutes. If she sleeps for at least an hour she wakes up well rested and happy.

I hope Mike gets one of the parts he wants in the mainstage. I’m been excited/nervous to hear about how auditions have gone all week.

I hope I can figure out this whole thing with my SS card.

Mike’s coming this weekend. Really looking forward to that. All my nieces and nephews (except Shemaya of course) sent me thankyou cards from Christmas. That was really sweet. That’s all for now.

Lots of random stuff because I haven’t updated in so long

12 01 2007

I now own a 2001 honda civic. I’ll be paying on it for the better part of 3 years if I just pay the minimum, but I really like it, and it should be a good car that last a while.

I’m in love with the two little girls that I take care of. Liz is 6 months old, and Rose is almost 2 months younger. Two month makes such a difference. Rose still looks like an infant; I can’t even imagine what she’s going to look like as a toddler. She’s so little! Such a little peanut. Then there’s Lizzy who’s a chunk. She has the cutest chub cheeks, and she’s starting to look like a small toddler. She sits up on her own really well, and I don’t think it’s going to be too many more months before she’s walking. She already stands without alot of support. They are both so sweet. They have beautiful smiles and their giggles warm my heart. Liz is learning to be more independent. When I started working with the girls at the beginning of December, she had a hard time being put down, she hated to be left alone even for a minute, and she couldn’t really entertain herself. She’s so much better at all of those things. She’s even taking naps that are longer than 30 minutes at a time, and not freaking out every time she wakes up. Rose on the other hand has always been a very easy baby to take care of. The only time that she’s a handful is when she’s gassy. She falls asleep on her own (I have to bottle feed Liz to sleep), she can entertain herself for long period of time, she loves just looking around, and she’s generally just a happy baby.

It was wonderful to go home for the holidays. I got to see all of my immediate family and alot of my mom’s family. I also meet Mike’s mom’s family who seem fun and really nice, and Mike came along with me to my family stuff. I also got to see alot of friends and had a lovely time up in Michigan with a couple of friends for New Year’s Eve. One of them is getting married in September and she asked me to be one of her bride’s maids! I was so surprised. It’s such an honor because she’s such a lovely person. I went back to Goshen the first weekend of January, and all my siblings and their spouses (and Mike) and I went out for dinner and then watched “Little Miss Sunshine”. It was great spending time with them without parents or kids around. It just changes the dynamics so much. I wish my family was closer, but some things are just not meant to be.

I started up fiddle lessons again. I’m thinking about doing a wheel throwing class, but I’m not sure I want to afford it/ have the time for it. I still have two classes to finish up, and I’m still getting into the swing of my job. I work 50 hours a week, and it might not seem like a stressful job watching two babies, but if you’ve ever tried to take care of one, you know that it’s pretty intensive.

Things to look forward to:
A trip to Niagara Falls and NYC in May with Mike.
A trip to Oregon in August for Will’s wedding and then some time at the beach and in Portland with some of the girls.
Finally finishing my college degree.
Liz’s first steps
Rose sitting up on her own