May 28

It’s only Sunday and already it’s been a nice long weekend.

And might I add, there’s been more than a little beer flowing.

Friday night, we went for our usual Steak and Beer and then some friends came in and announced there would be a bonfire at Judy’s house in front of Rich’s garage.

Well now who are we to pass up that?

We went, drank lots, laughed lots, cried lots (over missing Rich). Judy and Howard bonded as she led him around the garage showing off the sentiments that people have sent from all over Alaska in condolence. The coolest thing was a big long birch log with 31 candles placed in drilled holes. Jeff King carried it into McGrath during this year’s Iditarod in honor of Rich. The 31 candles represented the first 31 mushers in the race.

Then they went back and sat by the fire. Howard amazes me with his capacity to listen to people. I’m so proud of him. I know sometimes Judy just wants someone to reminisce with.

It was good time. Saturday morning, my abs were sore from all the laughing.

Last night, we went to celebrate Dusty’s birthday at our friend Stephanie’s house. It was also her husband, Jacen’s birthday so they flew in a keg and threw a big bash.

This time of year, everyone leaves their car or truck in the driveway and drives their ATV all over town. We were no exception.

Jacen loves to dirt bike. He just broke a trail in front of his house last week. Needless to say, after a few beers, all the guys were trying out the trail with their 4-wheelers. Jacen led the pack on his dirt bike. Me, Stephanie, Dusty, and Dusty’s mom were sitting on the porch just watching when Stephanie decided we should go over and join in the fun. I hopped on the back of Steph’s ATV (Howard had ours), and Dusty’s mom jumped on the back of his, and off we went.

I held on for dear life and Steph drove over the marshy tundra to get to the trail. We were screaming with delight and laughing so hard at Dusty who managed to drive the 4-wheeler with one hand while he had a cigarette in the other. We hit the trail with the boys who were pretty impressed at Steph’s ability to hang. But they laughed everytime we spun out and screamed like girls. It was fun to act like big kids.

We all convened in the middle of the trail for pictures and for a break, when Dusty’s mom got the bright idea to try out Jacen’s dirt bike. Dusty looked at me and said “Oh my god, she’s going to get hurt, I just know it.” We all watched as she took off on the bike and just as she drove into the road, she didn’t see a car parked next to the woods, and tried to veer away but she judged wrong on the gas and the dirt bike slipped out from underneath her, threw her off and the bike went flipping through the air. We all stood there stunned, then we ran to her. She was silent and wasn’t moving. We were terrified. She managed to whisper that she was alive, but the wind was knocked out of her. Then we all noticed her ankle was rapidly turning blue and swelling.

Steph ran down to the house and called 911, and the on call PA came out and took Kathy to the clinic. Long story short, nothing was broken but her pride and it was just a nasty sprain.

Boy what a buzzkill. Dusty returned to the party after getting his mom settled in at her house, and we all sat around chilling out and behaving ourselves, waiting to sober up. We finally got home around 2am this morning. I was extra careful driving the 4-wheeler.

Summer is fun here but you can get all caught up in that fun, and not realize the danger. Kathy was just plain lucky.

May 26

LMT: You know? Your feet are severely tight.

Me: What do you mean “tight?”

LMT: There’s lots of tension in them, they’re wound up so tight, it made me work for my money!

Me: Was anything else tense or “tight?”

LMT: Nope, just your feet.

The massage was just heavenly. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad one, really. But now I’m wondering if I’m taking proper care of my feet. I mean, topically they’re nice and neat, I use lotion and pumice on them to keep them soft but it sounds like my muscles and tendons aren’t getting worked enough.

I remember when I worked for Dr. Martin, we had a patient who was an Orthopedic Surgeon and she said the best shoes I could wear were New Balance and if I worked on my feet all day, which I do, they should be replaced every three months.

I do that. Have done that religiously, since she told me, which was four years ago. It’s the only sneaker I wear. But now I’m wondering if somehow she could be wrong? I know everyone has their own opinion but she’s a surgeon that specializes in feet!

The LMT recommended a shoe that I can’t remember the name of, that actually molds to your foot and it’s supposed to give really good support. They cost about 120 dollars a pop. Which is fine because I NEED MY FEET. I won’t spare any expense if I can help it. But for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of them.

Does anyone know which shoe she’s talking about? Email me or leave a comment.

Ya’ll have a good weekend. I’ve got lots of beer to drink.

May 25

What sucks?

Getting to bed late because we went to a barbeque last night, not being able to get to sleep until around 2 am, being woken up at 4am by the dogs that had to pee.

After taking the dogs out, crawling back into bed, and not being able to go back to sleep until around 5am.

Having to get up at 7 am for an 8am conference call, feeling like I was slipped a mickey in my diet coke (we passed on the alcohol).

Groggily sitting through the conference call having to make serious efforts at not falling asleep.

What does not suck?

It’s 73 degrees here today, and I’m wearing sandals.

It’s my day to go home early.

My husband bought me a massage from our local LMT and I’m going to that appt in a half hour.

Last but not least, I’m breaking the weekday diet rules and making Mexican food tonight.

Nope, life doesn’t suck too much right now.

May 24

Just as I was pulling on my sneakers to go back to the store and help Howard close, the phone rang and it was him. Asking if I wanted to go on a boat ride.

Our friend Brian invited us out, and I jumped at the chance. After all it was a warm, dry day. We were well in to the 60’s.

I grabbed my jacket and ran out the door, got the store, Howard and I closed out quickly and we met Brian down at the slip.

Armed with Gwen (the ipod) to cover the engine noise (it’s an inboard jet boat), we made haste and before we knew it we were skimming along the Kuskokwim and then veered off where it meets the Takotna river and headed up to Tatalina Creek. We floated a while down the creek, but the mosquitos were having a field day so we headed back to the Takotna, where it was wide open and the breeze would keep the bugs at bay.

Brian dropped anchor, opened a 6 pack of Blue Boar Ale, and we toasted to the gorgeous day. He had his ipod hooked up to his speakers and we compared our playlists. Turns out they were weird mixes but also very similar.

There we were listening to Tim McGraw, Alanis Morissette, Eminem, Johnny Cash, Mariah Carey, Etta James, Poison, Anthrax, LL Cool J, The Go Go’s.

We chuckled at our eclectic mix, but we sang along anyway.

We talked about flying (he’s a pilot), fishing, did a little bitching about our jobs and life in general, and sometimes we just sat in silence taking in our surroundings.

You know? I can pay all the psychiatrists in the world for my therapy. I can dole out money for meds that treat anxiety and depression.

But you get this country girl out in nature? And it’s the best treatment yet.

On the ride back, I was buzzing on the warm sun, Rascal Flatts blasting in my ears and thought of the irony. I live in the bush and still feel like I need to go to the middle of nowhere and collect my sanity.

Truth is stranger than any kind of fiction.

May 22

Because that “Give A Damn?” Oh she’s all put back together.

I’m back to square one. Feeling manic and anxious again.

I’m really craving civilization. I’m craving a boring afternoon at Barnes and Noble with my favorite coffee steaming out of the cup. I’m craving Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn. I’m craving the Ocean. My Jeep with the top off. (the Jeep top, not my top)

I’m craving a 9 to 5 job. A job where when I take off on weekends, I’m not sitting on my hands and feeling guilty for not being at work.

I crave a job I love. A job I can’t wait to get to. A job that doesn’t feel like work.

I want to be able to jump up out of bed in the morning with enthusiasm, instead of hitting the snooze button until the last possible second.

I want my anonymity back. I want to walk into a huge grocery store with its soothing bright lights and gleaming floors, without someone assuming I’m on duty and ready to serve them when I’m just shopping on my damn day off.

I want to be able to socialize with people who don’t associate me with my damn job, then want to sit and talk about my damn job because HELLO I just love talking about the job that I hate so much.

I want to do something I love.

I love where I live. I know I can handle the isolation if I could just do something else careerwise.

Yes, the Give A Damn is definitely fixed.

May 21

We ended up having technical difficulties with my internet service. Still don’t know what the hell happened, but my new book keeper is also a computer guru who came over, and had it fixed within 15 minutes.

Go figure.

This week has been pretty darn decent, I must say. Maybe it’s the Prozac, but I swear I’m feeling better already. I’m also not so anxious about pleasing everyone and stressing out over my job. I like that. I’m hoping it stays this way.

Last night, Dusty’s mother had us (Dusty, his roommate, Howard, myself and a few other people) over for dinner (Greek Gyros) and what was expected to be a relaxing, low-key affair, ended up being an all out party. It all started with a bottle of Riesling, then we had some Asian Pear Sake, then Dusty’s mom made me a Mai Tai, and then I mixed some fruit punch with some Malibu. Needless to say it was the wee hours of morning before we got home. But it was fun to socialize. Lately, we’ve kind of hibernated within our house, which for me, is not healthy.

All the snow is gone, and the river is all clear of ice. We’re looking for a boat, and also looking forward to the summer. My friend Bria is visiting the weekend after Memorial Day and then Howard’s mom is coming in the next weekend and staying until July. I’m very lucky to have a mother in law that I get along with so much. We always have a blast when she visits.

Things are oddly serene around my house lately, including my psychy. Could Jo Dee Messina be right when she sings “My Give-A-Damn’s busted?” Cause if she is? I think I like it. Sometimes I just get sick of trying to please everyone. I like being able to say “This is who I am. Love me or hate me, I won’t lose any sleep either way.” And frankly, that’s how I’ve been over the past few days. It’s not say I’m not making an effort at all, but I’m learning to say “no”, a little more often, I’m being more ‘myself’ than I have in a long time.

Then again? Like I said, maybe it’s just the Prozac.

May 16

Every once in a while, when I’m not posting random sentences together and calling it a post, I decide to give you a glimpse of my true self.

The self that I kind of like. The one who isn’t as crazy or bitchy or backwards.

I felt compelled to write something that has been little known to anyone except my very close friends, after reading this today.

I first started reading weblogs because I belong to a miscarriage and infertility network. I joined it back in 1998 after my last miscarriage. It began as a mailing list. Then the blogging world exploded. I would spend hours pouring over the words of so many women who were going through the same thing I was.

Then something happened.

They all began having babies. They all began getting pregnant. The margin started to narrow. In the end, almost all the women in my network had gotten past their infertility problems and conceived. I was still standing there mourning my dead babies with no live ones to show for it. I began to feel like an outsider. I began to feel like I had nothing in common with these women anymore. They were no longer struggling with infertility, from my perspective. They’d all gotten the prize.

We’d tried almost everything to conceive. Clomid, Progesterone shots, Laparascopic surgery to try and find out why my ovaries were in a coma. We had some ideas as to why. I was diagnosed with a fairly common disease but women with my disease were having babies! My ovaries were just being stubborn. I honestly cannot tell you the last time I ovulated. This is the truth. Before I went on the pill, it’d been years. I’ve been on the pill for over two years now. Ironically enough? The pills are my last ditch effort at “resetting” my hormonal system. Sounds unconventional? Well, you’re not my doctor. And you didn’t have to sit with me while I broke down in tears in your office after I BEGGED you to just level with me and tell me if I was ever going to conceive a child. You didn’t look me in the eye hesitantly and say to me: “It isn’t likely with your medical history…not without A LOT of work and possibly a small miracle.”

My aunt struggled for almost ten years to have a baby, with every method out there, and the pill worked for her. She was on it for one year. She had a baby girl ten months after going off. I figured with my odds? I’d try two years. And if this doesn’t work, I’ve decided that I’ll call a truce with my ovaries. I’ll tuck them and read them a bedtime story and tell them they don’t have to worry about me trying to interrupt their sleep anymore.

Then I’ll look at other options like adoption.

Or maybe I’ll take my sister up the offer of surrogacy.

But I’ll be grateful everyday of my life for my health, my good fortune, and for people like Jessica who give me a good slap in the face with some perspective. And who do it with humor and grace and who never give up until the very end.

May 14

I have never brought up politics in my blogging world because people like to form opinions too early. Assume they know everything about me. Mainly people judge me. And God knows, I get judged enough.

But.

It pisses me off when a celebrity makes one comment about the president and the nation goes nuts. That celebrity happens to be a woman. Now. Correct me here. Do we not have men celebrities going around bashing our president all the time? What do they get? A pat on the back for their bravery. A fucking talk show. Let’s all sit around and smoke cigars.

Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks was publically crucified for making ONE statement. ONE. There were stories all over the news. People were making such a big deal when everyday, President Bush is verbally maimed by celebrities.

Yes, I know that people were upset because they felt she used her status as a political forum instead of her true talents. Well, guess the fuck what? George Clooney and Puff Daddy do the same God damn thing. All celebrities do it.

I’m not saying I’m agreeing or disagreeing with what she said. I’m just saying that I’m sick of all these pots calling the kettle black. And all of you people who stopped listening to their music because of it? You’re essentially doing the same thing you feel she did. You’re judging her in other arenas too. If you want to practice what you preach, judge her solely on her talent.

So I’m glad as hell that the Dixie Chicks released their new single. Read it and enjoy.

NOT READY TO MAKE NICE

Words & Music by Emily Robison, Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Dan Wilson

Forgive, sounds good

Forget, I’m not sure I could

They say time heals everything

But I’m still waiting

I’m through with doubt

There’s nothing left for me to figure out

I’ve paid a price

And I’ll keep paying

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell and

I don’t have time to go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I know you said

Can’t you just get over it

It turned my whole world around

And I kind of like it

I made my bed and I sleep like a baby

With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’

It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her

Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger

And how in the world can the words that I said

Send somebody so over the edge

That they’d write me a letter

Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing

Or my life will be over

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell and

I don’t have time to go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

I’m not ready to make nice

I’m not ready to back down

I’m still mad as hell and

I don’t have time to go round and round and round

It’s too late to make it right

I probably wouldn’t if I could

‘Cause I’m mad as hell

Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should

Forgive, sounds good

Forget, I’m not sure I could

They say time heals everything

But I’m still waiting

May 13

OH. mydog.

Last night? After the wonderful graduation ceremony and reception that followed, Dusty and I decided, we wanted to be anti-social, go back to my house, drink some good margaritas and have a good bitch session.

In spite of all the good energy, deep down, this has been a weird week. Not just for me, but for a lot of people here in town.

I’ve heard several people comment that they couldn’t wait for this week to be over. And those same people couldn’t really put their finger on why. Dusty and I were in the same boat.

It’d been an exciting week. Breakup finally got here, and it was spectacular to watch. The river is now open and we’ve had lots and lots of sunshine and warm weather. We got fresh flowers flown in for Mother’s Day. There really hasn’t been a whole lot to fret about. But yet, everyone seems to be acting weird.

Last night, Dusty filled me in on what he was told by the psychiatrist who was visiting this week: In Alaska, during this time of year, suicide rates go up, much like they do during the first few weeks of constant darkness in the winter. Only instead of our Seratonin drastically dropping due to a sudden lack of sunlight, it goes hay-wire and rises to extreme levels because suddenly, we’ve got almost constant sunlight. Some people never notice but other people are deeply affected by it. I guess he and I and the other complainers were in that group. It really explains a lot.

We were sitting in the living room last night, the three of us: Dusty, myself, and Howard, and we gossiped and bitched until nearly 2am. I had to be at work at 9:00 to train my new book keeper. I don’t think I need to explain to you again how cranky I get when I don’t get my 8 hours. I know I did it to myself. So I sucked it up and put on my happy face.

The rest of the day, was a nightmare. One fiasco after another. At one point, Dusty was in the store, he saw I was in a frenzy, and I didn’t even have to ask. He just rose to the occasion. He’s become like another husband.

When I called my real husband at home, and told him what happened, he felt awful. But I refused to allow him to come into work and help me. “They’ll bitch me out for the overtime!” I whined. “Fuck ‘em!” he said. God, I love that man. I seriously wish I could have his attitude. And then when I came home, he had Mexican food (my favorite!) hot and ready with a big hug and a passionate kiss waiting for me, and afterwards served me up a bowl of Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Panic, with Whipped Cream and a cherry on top. We then watched Tuckerville, Little People, Big World and Shalom in the Home. (TLC on Saturday nights has become my new favorite thing on tv) Could he be any more perfect? Not when other men would have expected toe curling sex as a reward. (which is not to say I won’t give him toe curling sex..but tonight, I needed comfort, and trust me, as a woman, when we’ve had a bad day, nothing beats a bowl of ice cream and good tv.)

I’m hoping this week went out with a bang and tomorrow will be better. My seratonin better get over itself. It’s fucking sunlight, what’s the big damn deal? Straighten the hell out. I’m crazy enough as it is.

May 13




Last night, the quasi-son graduated. *sigh*

My baby is all grown up.

To give you a little history, we first met Chris last year when we moved here and took over the store. He had his hair dyed black, had at least 4 piercings in each ear and painted his fingernails black. He looked scary. But upon him opening his mouth and talking, he turned out to be a very bright and sweet teenager. He plays electric guitar, he DJ’s at the radio station, he works for me, drives his grandmother wherever she needs to go, most importantly, he’s the first teenager I’ve ever met who’s really comfortable in his own skin. Think about it, were you comfortable with yourself at 17 and 18? He could give two damns about what anyone thinks of him. He has a beautiful smile, a gentle spirit, and loves to act goofy. He also found out from Howard that I used to be pretty deep into heavy metal music. So he’ll start singing a song when we’re at work together and I’ll end up rocking out with him. I love that he does that. I think everyone in this village would agree that he’s a wonderful child. I really don’t think he has an enemy out there. He might look scary but is far from it. His father lives in Anchorage and he’s being raised by his grandmother. His mother died when he was a small boy.

I felt maternal toward him from the start. I asked about his grades in school. He confessed that he’d fallen behind and was worried he wasn’t going to graduate by the end of the school year, not because he got bad grades but because he had so many assignments. I promptly scaled back his hours to three days a week, three hours on those three days he worked. No more than that. He complained about not having any money but I told him he wouldn’t have any excuses for not getting his work done. His grandmother thought it was a good idea too. I think he liked being hassled about school and being pushed to do well by both myself and Howard. The principal also began giving us periodical progress reports regarding his grades. We were honored to be included. He worked his butt off, but managed to get everything done and did very well.

Last night, being we only had three graduates, each one got to show off their very own slideshow chronicling when they were a baby to now. Of course, my Christopher got very creative with his. And my dog, if I thought he was adorable now, he was an absolutely beautiful baby.

At the end of his slideshow, he even rolled credits. He thanked his dad and grandmother, he thanked “the town folk” and then, he thanked “Chris and Howard”.

One tear leaked out of my eye as I sat in the audience, but I held it together.

When the ceremony was over, we all lined up to get to him and hug him. By the time I got to him, he was openly crying. I think he was overwhelmed to know how many people love him. And to know that his high school days were really over. He gave me a big hug, and whispered “I love you” in my ear. I squeezed him back, sucked back my tears and told him I loved him too and that I was so very proud of him. When he hugged Howard, he told him the same thing, I could see Howard trying to hold it together too.

Later, we went to his grandmother’s house where she held a reception for all the graduates. We ate good food and socialized. I told Chris that I really liked his slideshow, and he replied “that’s because you’re a metal babe and you just liked it for the music.” Then he winked at me and gave me another hug.

Congratulations Christopher. We couldn’t be any prouder if you were our own son. You are bright and shining. Never let that fire die.

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