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April Blankenship 27 March 2008

April Blankenship

Undecided speed-reader who loves basalmic vinegar hummus

April is approaching 30 and realizing that she will never be a card-carrying Adult, although sporadically she tries on that costume for laughs. The oldest of two girls raised in a perfectly normal rural family, after high school she escaped the banality of Idaho and traded it in for the banality of the Midwest.

Luckily, she found her future husband (Keith) there so it wasn’t a wash. A few months after meeting they were living together, getting tattoos together, and sneaking around behind their co-workers’ backs. Realizing they  were really more suited for the western US, they drove a little pickup half-cross-country to Missoula, MT which was a fine-sized town with very likable people and quick access to the wilderness.

Five years and Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies later, she and Keith decided to downsize and head for Mexico with their pit bull Lazlo. Within the first week they abandoned their heavily-prepared plan to make it to Chichen Itza for the vernal equinox and ended up blindly traveling down the western coast for 7 weeks, camping and staying in small villages along the way. They met amazing people and had several truly amazing experiences.

They made it back to Idaho without divorcing each other or getting shot by roadside MPs, so they declared their trip a success. She doesn’t like to think too hard on the period that followed their return. Let’s just say it was dark and gloomy and a little rancid, but again–she survived, perhaps a little smarter on the other side.  Deciding a change of pace would do them some good, April convinced Keith and Lazlo to move to Portland for undetermined “city opportunities.”

That’s working out fine and although it’s really only a stop-over in her life, that doesn’t mean it’s not time well-spent—especially since she found a great psychiatrist. In the fall of 2006, April saw a photo on BlogtownPDX of a little black and white pit bull mix, a Hurricane Katrina survivor, up for adoption. She dreamed of that dog and tricked her husband into going to the shelter “just to look.”  And that’s how Mrs. Mia Wallace, a pit-dalmatian mix as far as they can tell, joined the family.  They live in a small apartment on W. Burnside, which they equally love and hate at times.

What are you up to?

I am researching (and dreaming about) what it will take to start a commune. And I mean “commune” in the loosest sense of the word. Basically, what will it take to live in the most sustainable way possible in a place where we can spend the most time together, our dogs can be outside all day, and we have to sweat to make food and art?  If the best way is by joining like-minded people on a discrete piece of land, well, that will technically be a commune. Plans for an A-frame cabin made from reclaimed materials, outside bathtubs, and a pit bull obstacle course will be incorporated. Also, I’m searching for a Theory of Everything. Without a background in physics and with only rudimentary math skills, I honestly don’t expect to be the next Stephen Hawking, but some of my ideas have been confirmed by the books on the subject so that gives me hope. I am learning more about subjective reality and trying to live in the moment as much as possible.

What are you into?

I’m into taking photos of classic cars, especially ones with rust or other character flaws. I also like shiny chrome, though. Actually, I take photos of all kinds of things.

I’m into being a pit bull advocate. I knew nothing about pit bulls before we got Lazlo, but we were won over immediately. There was a learning curve, but he and Mia have made us better people.

I’m into watching other people and imagining that I live their life. It’s amazing that we all have a different reality yet we all have to interact on this shared illusion.

I’m into psychedelics. Seriously. There’s a lot of new research being done on the effects and possible therapeutic uses of psychedelics, especially for people facing death. Our brains, just being advanced processors, have learned to disassociate so much of what is really available to us. Psychedelics have been and are currently used around the globe to help people have intense spiritual experiences. Not in the religion, me vs.you, way but in a cosmic, universal way. Tell me the planet doesn’t need more of that right now.

I’m into trying to be an authentic person. It’s hard.

What do you like most about Portland?

Portland is a great place to blend in. I’m reminded of that every time I’m back in my hometown and people are staring at me and/or my tattoos. I like that you can choose the level of interaction here, there’s not someone up in your business all of the time. Also, I like that I don’t have to drive. Bank, groceries, concerts, restaurants, shopping—all within walking distance. I do wish there were more places to ride my bike without having to deal with traffic.

What are you going to do with your life?

Do I really have to answer that?  I’m working on it. I thought I was going to go back to school and get a Master’s in Psychiatric Nursing, but OHSU thought otherwise. I took the rejection as a sign that I’m just not a hard sciences kind of girl. So my options are open. What I want: fresh air, hikes, silence, hard physical work, time to make art, the love of my family and friends. What I don’t want: to sit in a cubicle, to struggle against hordes of traffic/people, to be part of Consuming America. See: commune. Honestly, I’d also like to get into research. I’m addicted to information, so if I can incorporate the internet into a real job  I would be happy as a clam.

Are you sure you don’t want children?

Well, it’s no fun to second-guess yourself all your life, so I have to say: Yes, pretty sure. I’ve heard all the arguments for it and have yet to hear one that tips the scales in favor of reproducing. I don’t mind being perceived as selfish or uncaring—I am selfish but my husband and dogs can vouch for the caring part. Basically, I only have so much time and energy and I prefer to spend it how I want to. Also, I like to sleep in.

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