Engagement ring shopping, together

You know, I never thought I’d be comfortable enough to consider marrying someone. Even with my optimism, my thought that anything could be worked out; it just never felt right.

It was never due to failing to find someone who is “perfect,” or was sappy and swept me off my feet. Romanticism can often be an illogical reason to be with someone; emotions can lead one astray and sometimes lead to disaster.

Instead, I think a good relationship comes down to the acceptance that we are all a little bit less perfect, caring, loving, and sane as we’d like to be. It’s about finding someone who feels loved by how you express your love languages, and you, theirs.

It comes down to communication and trust. Maintaining your independence. Love is about action, what you can do for someone, and them, you. Even when the going gets tough, also when you feel a little bit less sweet then you’d like to be.

And, of course, there are a ton of other criteria, some of which cannot be measured or labeled, and some that aren’t fitting to share in the public space.

Did you know that lack of sex accounts for 70% of divorce?

I started looking for rings the other day and found the perfect one within a few minutes. I knew what I was looking for. We communicated how we’d like to handle it, which led to sharing my choice with her. It was perfect.

Ideally, your partner should be able to find a ring that you’d find beautiful on their own, that they know you that well. Still, there is some complexity on what budget to set as societal norms usually push towards the purchase of something financially irresponsible.

We budget together and share a bank account, our income is pooled together, and we allocate funds from our bucket. We award ourselves a modest sum for discretionary spending. It wouldn’t be practical for me to secretly spend a large amount, nor would it be in line with our shared goals, especially when it comes down to paying down debt and buying a home.

Still, I was able to share some choices that were handmade to order with a variety of options of materials and stones in the design I wanted. It’ll be a unique piece that is elegant and feels more meaningful than a mass produced product, yet be fiscally responsible.

We both want an actual wedding ceremony, honeymoon, but it isn’t something that we are rushing, or feel rushed to figure out. Marriage is and has been something that is optional for us. It isn’t something that we need to validate anything.

And it won’t be something that ends up to be a stressful pain for either of us. Proper time will be taken, with the preparations handled as it feels right and we have time. The whole concept of the wedding industry is awful to me. Weddings should never be this dreadful, stressful thing to plan.

And at the end of the day, yeah. It is a little scary. The voluntary commitment to be with someone for the foreseeable future. To entangle yourself with this flawed and imperfect person in vulnerability.

Yet, it feels right for both of us, it’s something that we’ve never considered finding. I’m thankful for every single experience I’ve had up to this point, as it’s led me to this beautiful and complex creature.

Getting married is a hugely significant and solemn step: for centuries, we did it under the guidance of religion, but nowadays, for many of us, faith no longer convinces. At the same time, we want to mark marriage with some kind of ritual and appropriate grandeur. That’s why the School of Life has redesigned the wedding ceremony, to bring it in line with modern ideals and the best insights of psychology.

^ A unique take on the marraige cerenomy, and guidance on successful marraiges.

Time in the country

We packed up and headed to pick up Lola from school then headed to the farm. The trip was mostly uneventful and relaxing, I remember when I was a child and my step-father picked me up from 5th grade with our motorcycles in the back of the truck; it made me feel special.

Lola and Luke

We grilled up vegan “Toasted Cheese” as Jade calls them and enjoyed dinner with my family. Jade and I headed to the video store to pickup some movies for her Guard sleepover. Amanda and I finished out the evening watching Zombieland.

Tomorrow the Fall Party is scheduled. There may not be that that much of a turnout due to some concert this weekend but I’m sure we will enjoy the bonfire, family time, and getting away from the norm all the same.

Family ❤

Life is good.

Portland: Day 5 – Wrapping Up

Breaktaking nature, Feminism, Veganism, Activism, Acceptance, Art, and Individuality bleeds from Portland. I haven’t eaten a single animal product, spare a Carl Jr’s run a few days ago for a burger (and the grease wasn’t good on my plant filled stomach).

I will miss the rolling plains, mountains, and the Pacific Northwest Coastline most of all upon returning home. There is something very appealing about sitting with a warm tea and watching the waves smash into the rocks, the cold ocean spray, the seagulls. It’s unlike any coastline I’ve been to.


Every store, restaurant, publicly owned museum, just everything pounds acceptance, acceptance, acceptance into your head. Everywhere recycles and most all compost. More often than not people will go out of your way on the roads to allow you to merge, pull out; friendly faces behind the wheel. People stop and turn back around in public to ask if you are okay, people want to start conversations. The eye contact, the vulnerability.

It’s the curvy roads with elevation that makes your ears pop, the expanses of rolling terrain with mist whispering over the treetops. It’s the seagulls, the rocky shorefronts. Clam Chowder soup and Earl Grey tea. The trees, oh so many trees. Parks and trails that take your breath away from the physical exertion of walking them (bring an inhaler).

And it was noticing a trans person in the Men’s restroom at the airport without any concern in the world the moment I hopped off the plane at PDX.

And the Weed. It’s everywhere. I haven’t gotten high since High School and I’m perfectly content with that, but I’d rather hang out with a stoner than an Alcoholic any day.

My advise:

  • If you don’t like to be around weed, feminism, trans people, liberal types, make fun of Veganism, and so on, don’t go to Portland.
  • Budget for food. Most breakfast/lunches are $35-$50 for two and you’ll want to eat out often due to the variety (and food trucks).
  • Renting a car and driving is perfectly doable if you stay away from downtown, but note that driving here is rather technical versus your usual flat land, straight road that goes on forever (with good visibility) in Indiana. Expect mountains, terrain, blind intersections, lots of stopping and going, and needing to take the interstate to get anywhere.
  • Class divide is unsegregated here. Expect to see BMWs, Benz parked in front of shops with homeless living outside (with their pets). But also know, I’ve only been heckled once since being here.
  • And lastly;
  • Be open-minded. Portland is weird as fuck.

Portland: Day 5 – Submarine, Science, and Parks

Started our day out with some Coffee (per the usual) and headed to a park overlooking downtown.

Then we checked out this all Vegan burger & Shake place.

Massive all Vegan burgers, loaded fries. The shakes were *amazing*.

Then we checked out the Science Museum for the rest of the day. We took a tour of a mothertruckin’ SUBMARINE. The USS Blueback (SS-581), which was briefly starred in the Hunt for Red October with Sean Connery.

At the helm of the USS Blueback (SS-581).

Moving around inside of a submarine is challenging, you have no idea. When fully stocked with food, two layers of big cans take up all walking surfaces, leaving you with about 4′ of headroom bow to stern.

It’s stinky too, you get one shower (with 30 seconds of water) every three weeks. They can have up to 91 people on board with a hot bunking sleeping system. Three people are assigned to a 6’2″ x 2′ wide bed. You sleep, and the next person scheduled to sleep is right after you. No snoozing in, they are standing there, waiting the moment you wake up to climb in.

The engine room gets up to a mild 130F when the engines are running, at 140 decibels enough to make you permanently deaf in 20 minutes without hearing protection. Thankfully those Diesel engines are only run periodically to charge the led acid batteries, the prime movers of the electric engines.

The Captain is the only one to have their own quarters, even if the President is on board. Submarine crews eat better than any other crew in the US military. The Ice Cream machine is the most important machine on the ship, the Captain won’t leave port unless it’s functioning. Fresh pastries are baked every night for the crew.

And it makes sense, it’s difficult to impossible to stay well nourished when out of the sun for months at a time.

It’s amazing how the crew lived all the while being under the sea, I couldn’t imagine the psychological pressure of knowing that if anything went wrong; you are pretty much fucked; as even if you escape from the Submarine out to sea, you’ll likely die from the bends once you reach the surface.

We played connect 4 with two robotic arms, charged ourselves to thousands of volts with a van graff machine, got some chemistry in, and learned about human reproduction and baby development. There is a display at this museum showing every stage of the development of a child in the womb, with actual specimens (50 or so). Amanda was rather interested and spent time learning; while it made me feel uncomfortable, mortal.

SCIENCE, bitches!

We ended the day with an all Vegan Chinese restaurant in which Amanda tried out General Tso chicken for the first time (I couldn’t tell the difference, at all. It was weird).

Amanda, upon realizing that it’s ALL Vegan.

Portland: Day 3 – Pacific Coast

We started out the day by going to a Coffee Shop for breakfast. It was the first time I’ve had the trendy coffee that is all the rage on Instagram.

This is large and it’s loaded with caffeine. The foam was 1/3 inch and rich soy.

The venue had a relaxed vibe, plenty of succulents and they only served Vegan fare and drinks (a common theme in Portland).

The roads were somewhat technical, downshifting, corner planning, and attention were required. Spouts of fog rolling over the plains, spotty bouts of rain, wet roads. Logging operations were abound and there is a distinct wilderness feel of pine.

Elevation was also apparent on our two-hour cruise to the coastline with some ear popping.

Gorgeous, and an awesome travel partner.

Once we arrived at the shoreline the ocean spray was pungent in the air, the smell of salt carried in the wind. Wind, rain, and chill greeted us along the rocky coastline with cold water. Rolling pains and plenty of green punctuated the view, along with shorefront homes, and vacation rentals.

Amanda never had seen, nor felt the ocean before. She braved the cold and walked barefoot with the sand in between her toes.

Amanda’s first time seeing the ocean.

We walked along the coastline a mile or so, then we headed to a coffee shop along the coast to warm up. I enjoyed the best cup of Earl Grey tea I’ve yet to have.

We stopped along another viewpoint before heading back. The sun was out and we sat for some time in the sand in quiet reflection.

Leading to my favorite photo of the day

The Pacific Northwest is unlike any other coast I’ve visited so far. Rugged terrain, trees, rocky shores with wind and ocean spray. It’s the kind of coastline that makes you want to grow a beard, drink craft beer and buy an all wheel drive vehicle, along with a kayak, camper, or bicycle.

I’d love to camp here sometime or rent a shoreline hotel room overlooking the sea, enjoy clam chowder soup, and sit in quiet reflection.

Portland: Day 2 – Trails, Books, and Weird

We started the day out with an all Vegan Doughnut shop and coffee. Afterward, we headed to Starbucks to get some writing in. Today has somewhat been a blur, we got much in today.

Portland roads are windy, have elevation and the traffic laws somewhat differ. What I found most interesting is the inability to pump your own gas here. There was some talk about a new law for smaller towns in Oregon allowing self-serve and the response from the community was comical.

“It’s dangerous! I don’t want to smell like gasoline!”. I don’t know about you, but if you are setting shit ablaze like in Zoolander, or smelling like gasoline, you shouldn’t be driving a car.

I’ve yet to see a single car with rust here and Subarus, old Volvos are aplenty. They do have emissions testing, so thankfully no dumbass diesel trucks “rolling coal” and spreading around the lung cancer here.

We headed out to a park and went on a hike. The elevation was killer to walk back up of but was totally worth it.

Witch’s house, in a valley situated between two 30 story hills

We headed to brunch sometime after; I’ve yet to visit a non-all-vegan restaurant, and only one store (Trader Joe’s). Veganism is a big thing here, along with Liberalism and Feminism.

Next up was Powell’s Books, The World’s Largest Independent Bookstore. 6 or so stories of awesome with their own parking garage. Amanda, being a creative writing major, certainly enjoyed the experience.

You have died of Dysentery
Activism and empowerment is a Portland cornerstone.
Soon to be one of our favorite mugs when we return home

Outside, there was a man with a typewriter, “Poet for Hire”. Portland bleeds individualism and art.

Check out the typewriter. Sadly, we didn’t have the chance for a poem.

We checked out a Vegan strip mall & grocery. Sharing the block is the Portland Social Justice Center.

Roses are red, male egos are feeble. White Supremacy will be destroyed by the power of the people.

We bought some groceries and headed back home for a bit to rest before meeting Amanda’s friend Audrey; an Indiana transplant, currently living in Vancouver, WA.

We finished out the evening with Audrey at a hip as fuck bar, sat outside on a patio surrounded by bamboo, trans, queer and hipster peeps, then headed back home.

It’s currently 8:28PM here, which is 11:28PM EST. We are tired and I’ve already tripped up with the time change by contacting people back home.

Tomorrow we go to the Pacific ocean to chill on the beach for a rest day. There’s apparently a shipwreck on the coast that’s pretty popular. I’m personally hoping to see jagged rocks and a lighthouse.

So, how would I describe Portland so far? Liberal, weird, feminist, activist, tattoos, outdoors, terrain, trees, individualism, weed (everywhere), weird driving experiences, genuine, artsy, beards everywhere, friendly, eye contact, homeless people, hippies in vans.

Think of like street art and disorganization like an artist’s desk with paint smeared here and there, art murals and graffiti on postage labels on telephone poles. The love of the outdoors and adventure

It’s a city that has charm and is fun to visit, but I think a tad bit too busy for me to want to live here. I enjoy my wide open spaces just a bit too much; maybe it’s not being used to terrain, mountains and straight roads that go on for miles.

As for anxiety, I don’t have anything to say other than I got to feeling a bit raw this evening, but that’s expected. It’s been a great day, a long day.

Oh, and trans people freely using bathrooms. We need more of that in Indiana.

And as always