Dec 30

Howard:
What in the world would I do without you?  No matter how ugly things can get between us, we stick it out, and I end up so grateful in the end.  You’ve been consumately there for me.  I don’t know that many people could live through what you and I have.  Thank you for being just as adventurous as I am.  My thirst for knowledge and the need to experience things is matched only by your own.   Thank you for walking beside me and sometimes carrying me through this journey, especially the latter half of this year.  I couldn’t ask for a better husband.  You are the greatest love of my life.

Dustin:
The brother in my heart if not by blood.  I can’t help but think that all of the crazy situations over the past few years led me to finding you.  I think God knew that even though I had beautiful friends, that I needed one that could relate to my past, and there you were.  You have such a big heart, you are the most giving person I think I’ve ever met.  So many times you give without asking anything in return.  You really have enhanced my life (personally and career wise).  My wish is that someday I can repay you for all of the gifts you have given me. (I think Howard would agree)

Julie, Jenn, Heather:
There’s a scene in “Sex and The City” where “Mr. Big” is sitting at a restaurant with Miranda, Samantha, and Charlotte and he is pleading his case and he says: “You’re the loves of her life, and a guy is just lucky enough to come in fourth.”  You three are the other loves of my life.  Miles may separate us but I love that no matter what, the years and miles fall away the minute we talk or manage to be in the same room with each other.  A lot of friends wouldn’t or couldn’t have stuck it out like you girls have.  Thank you for being there for me.

Tessy my Tessy and Amy:
Who would have thought that by moving to Alaska and my starting this “blog”, I’d gain two of the most wonderful people in the world as friends?  You see what I write, crazy as it is, and you don’t judge me.  Even though, it would be just as easy to disappear.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you for being such inspirations to me.  It is I who aspires to write like the both of you.  I am in such great company.

My family:
Thank you for allowing me to be honest and candid here with little or no judgement.  We’re not perfect by any means and I know I can be a challenge to figure out but we’ve got more love than a lot of families.  Thank you for being supportive of me.

And finally to you, my dear readers:
Thank you for your sweet comments, your kind emails, and even the not so nice emails and comments.  I don’t have many of you but I appreciate you all the same.  Thank you for taking time out of your own busy days to stop by and check out the site.

2007 has been a year of change for me.  2008 will likely involve a lot more.  I like to think that for every bad thing that’s happened, there are far greater things that I take from it.  Lord knows, there’s far more joy.  I wish each and every one of you a fabulous New Year and I hope you receive all the happiness you have brought to me.

Dec 29

Over the next couple of days, I hope to be making some changes around here. On this site, that is. I’m tired of the pink. (I know, I know, I was all excited about it when I first got it, yeah yeah)

Plus, New Year, New Look! Why not?

And when I say “I” will be making changes, I really mean Pete will be making some changes because basically all I do is “Pete, Help! I need blah blah” and he’s all “Geez Louise, let me drop everything to help you okay?” and I’m all “Awww, you are sweet!” totally ignoring missing the sarcasm.

l’m starting to feel a little better. That black cloud hovering over me is still there but I’m forcing myself to get up everyday, get out, socialize, and surround myself with good things. Howard has been completely amazing. I honestly don’t know how I would get through the days without him.

Also, he’s managed to unpack a huge portion of the house this past week while the university is on break. I come home and dinner’s hot on the stove, he makes my lunch for me everyday, and usually gets up with me in the mornings to make coffee and breakfast. Then while I’m gone to work, he’s doing laundry, installing wine glass racks under the breakfast bar in the kitchen, insulating the windows, banking the house with snow to insulate it, and then he’s there with big open arms to envelope me when I walk through the door. It’s definitely good medicine for me.

I know how lucky I am. I just hope he knows how much I appreciate it.

Last night, we had an accidental dinner date with some friends for our usual “Friday steak night”. We didn’t know they were going to be there because they don’t come that often and they didn’t know we’re always there on Friday nights. We ended up hanging out with them until after midnight, and I still have a headache from being laughing so hard. I also got to visit with Judy for a good long while which is something I hardly ever get to do. I just adore her and she’s so funny. We love to cut up and make each other laugh. Last night when I was telling her what all Howard did for me this past week, she leaned over and told me “cherish your time together, Chrissy…” with a tear in her eye. I always listen when Judy has advice to give.  She sent us off with her usual tight hugs, her “I love you’s”, and her beautiful smile.

As we zoomed home last night on our snowmachine, my body was cold, but my heart was warm.  I snuggled up against Howard and rested my cheek on his back to block the wind from my face.

And I began to see the first lights through my fog.

Dec 25

How strange is it when I read Dooce’s latest post, that I was led to her husband’s site, and he was giving his own perspective of living with someone who struggles with mental illness? It’s enlightening to read such candor and honesty. It’s also interesting to see it from the other side:

“Get Help
To the people out there who denigrate mental health awareness and treatment, I say this: You aren’t helping. You are making it worse. Stop being an arrogant know-it-all. You aren’t right. You are wrong. If someone tells you they need help, your opinion means less than that of professionals. Stop being ignorant. Stop being obstinate. Stop insisting that your loved one, partner, child or co-worker “get over it”. They won’t get over it until you let it go and encourage them to seek help. There are many different approaches and ways to treat mental diseases and conditions. The first step is letting go. You could probably use some time talking it out yourself.”

All I have to say is, Thank you Jon!

Dec 25

Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!  I have to say that today was pretty effing great.  Last night, we went over to Susie and Todd’s for a Christmas Eve party, we drank and ate too much.  It was fabulous.

We slept until noon today.  That was fabulous too.

Howard cooked Livermush (that his brother fed-exed up to us last week, thank you Christopher!), eggs, homemade biscuits and gravy and though my heart was probably crying for help, it too was fabulous.

We laid around the house, opened our presents, and laid around the house some more until it was time to head over to Dusty’s parents’ house and we had another gift exchange and I think ate a metric ton of Presciutto and Mozzarella rolls, and Haystacks.

But it was worth it.

Especially when Colton David randomly walked by me, stopped, said “Aunthie Thithie!”,  crawled up into my lap, and put his baby soft cheek up against mine and just had a little conversation with me.

It was only then that my heart exploded and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t because of all the food.

I hope all of you had a Merry Christmas with your families, your adopted families, and friends wherever, and however you spent it.

It really is “A Wonderful Life” isn’t it?

Dec 24

My goodness, the emails that have flooded my inbox are humbling.  My God, I could not ask for more caring friends, I really couldn’t.  So, first and foremost…thank you my loves.  Each and every one of you.

Second, I do not post these ramblings to seek sympathy or attention.  This blog is mine.  I try my best never to censor my feelings.  When I’m having a bad day, or having a bad few months, I try to use my writing as a form of therapy.  It really does work.  I’m sorry that it worries you, pisses you off, or amuses you.  You’ve a right to your opinions and feelings just as much as I’ve a right to my own words.

I want to touch on a very important issue when it comes to the mentally ill.  There is nothing, nothing at all that anyone can do to “fix” us.  It is something we have to live with and get through.  When you have bad spells, it’s like a cold.  All you can do is treat the symptoms until it’s run its course.  I think that’s where my friends and family, Howard included, get frustrated.  Let me assure you right now:  it is nothing you have done or not done.  Please don’t try to pull things out of me that I can’t explain myself.  When you do that, it makes me put up a wall and I don’t like walls.  I know it seems like I’m shutting you out.  Trust me:  I’m not.

I will tell you what will help me:  listening.  Sometimes I just need to ramble as much as possible, sometimes I don’t want to talk about it, sometimes the best thing you can do for me is put your arms around me, pull me to you, and tell me everything is going to be okay.  Sometimes I don’t even need to hear that.  Please don’t try to help me analyze it.  That’s the therapist’s job.  And really, he can’t fix me either.  He just helps guide me through the fog.

And sometimes, you my loves, are what guides me through the fog as well.  Your one lined emails saying “hang in there, kiddo”, “You will be OK, Chrissy”, “I love you”, lighten the load and put a smile on my face.  Even not getting your emails and just knowing that you’re out there guides me through the fog as well.

I’m secure in the knowledge that should I ever need any of you, you’re there.  I know that.  I’m fucking blessed with that when so many other people long for friendships such as these.

Some of you, (Howard) have to deal with it on a daily basis.  I know how difficult that can be.  I am sorry from the bottom of my heart.   I know how helpless (and pissed off) it can make you feel.

I can be accusatory, I can get downright batshit crazy with my words, but if you choose to be in a relationship with me, accept it, know that I’m a damn loon and don’t use it against me, or judge me for it.  Yes, tell me to chill out, to fuck off,  walk away, tell me to shut the fuck up, but please don’t say things like “oh my god, you’re just saying that because you’re depressed, well, you’ve got OCD and that’s why…blah, blah, blah…” and if I’ve offended you, PLEASE call me on it, because I want to apologize immediately.
But please don’t point out the obvious.  Knowing that I’m crazy is bad enough.  Knowing that I’m judged by people who aren’t my friends is uncomfortable knowledge, but one I accept and live with.  I can live with it all.  Until you betray me and use it against me.

I do know this:  I’m one stubborn broad who will not let this illness get the best of me.  I will tough it out and get control of it again.  My battle scars will be many but I will never give up the fight.  I mean, give up this great life and friends like you?  Hell no.

Anyway  ya’ll, thank you.  Thank you for putting up with me, for walking with me, for showing up everyday and sticking it out.

That, is the best Christmas present I could ever receive.  I am quite possibly the luckiest girl in the world.

Dec 22

I haven’t written about this subject in a while for several reasons, a lot of new readers being one of them, but I figure you guys are due a post regarding my mental health.  (go ahead and either take a shot of something good or take a nap, your choice)

A lot of you know that Autumn is really hard for me.  For some reason, even before I moved to Alaska (which is known for many cases of Seasonal Effect Disorder), Fall time wreaks havoc with my emotions.  I can feel my mind sinking into a funk sometime around the beginning of October.  Usually sometime in January, I’ll feel myself pulling out of it but those few months in between are hard.  Grueling.

Good for me, I’m a great actress.  I’m really good at putting on a happy face and trudging along.  And I think that helps me too.  That old cliche’ “Think happy and you are happy” really does work.  But when I am alone with myself, my face sore from fake smile and phony laughter, I am exhausted.  I feel like I’ve run a marathon.  Honestly?  I think this might be a (notice I said “A” not “THE”) reason why depressed people sleep a lot.  When you are putting 200 percent effort into something that is extremely difficult for you, all you want to do afterwards is rest.

It’s hard for people who don’t suffer from mental illness to understand.  “What is so bad about your life?”  “Get outside!  Do something fun!” and of course the good old “Just get over it already”.  Those of you who are in the boat with me are laughing sarcastically right now because you and I know it’s never that easy.  No matter how hard you try.

There are good things about putting on a “happy front” and bad things about it too.  I was raised in a loving family but a family that also didn’t know how to communicate, also a family that believed that mental illness could be treated by going to church ten times a week and giving it all up to God.  Putting on that happy face means that surely she is feeling better.  She isn’t talking about it either, so that must mean, things are going well.

Now I’m a Christian.  I believe in God.  I pray to him on a regular basis.  But I also firmly believe that he put doctors on this Earth for a reason.  I also believe that he helps those who help themselves.

It’s hard when you come from a family that doesn’t understand why you do the things you do.  It puts a wall between you and you feel like an outsider.  I mean, there’s a reason why I’ve always been the “odd child” and “loner” in my family.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my family tries desperately to understand me.  They are open and grateful that I seek professional help.  But they still can’t relate to me when I try to talk about it.

Truth is:  most people are just downright uncomfortable about mental illness.  I think it’s just human nature.  It doesn’t make anyone less of a person because they feel that way.

But it sure is lonely.

I think that’s why I put on my “happy face.”  I keep climbing that mountain, “thinking happy”,  surrounding myself with positive people, telling myself that I’ll be okay.  January is right around the corner.

Dec 22

For Jordan Blake.  Our little trooper.  We love you kiddo.  You’re an amazing young woman with an beautiful gift in which to bless the world.  We just want you to see it for yourself.
Welcome To Wherever You Are-Bon Jovi

Maybe we’re all different
But we’re still the same
We all got the blood of Eden running through our veins
I know sometimes it’s hard for you to see
You’re caught between just who you are and who you want to be

If you feel alone and lost and need a friend
Remember every new beginning is some beginning’s end

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life; you made it this far
Welcome, you got to believe
That right here, right now you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome to wherever you are

When everybody’s in and you’re left out
And you feel you’re drowning in the shadow of a doubt
Everyone’s a miracle in their own way
Just listen to yourself, not what other people say

When it seems you’re lost, alone and feelin’ down
Remember, everybody’s different; just take a look around

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life; you made it this far
Welcome, you got to believe
Right here, right now you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Be who you want to be, be who you are
Everyone’s a hero, everyone’s a star

When you want to give up and your heart’s about to break
Remember that you’re perfect; God makes no mistakes

Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
Welcome, you got to believe
Right here, right now you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be
Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
(I say welcome) Welcome to wherever you are
This is your life, you made it this far
(welcome) you gotta believe
Right here right now, Welcome 

Dec 18

So things are going well so far with the new job.   Last week, I spent four days in new hire orientation and in spite of warnings to drink lots of coffee and of possibly being bored to tears….

I actually enjoyed it.

Yeah.  I know.  Go ahead and just plaster that dork sign right on my forehead.

I think I’m just excited to be back on my career path.  I’m working a field that I truly love and enjoy and I don’t think I could be working for a better organization in which to learn new and hone my current skills.

Howard flew in on Thursday for the follow up on his knee and the doctor said he was “amazed” at how well and how fast he bounced back.  I’m amazed as well.  If none were the wiser, I don’t think anyone could tell he had surgery a month ago.   We spent the weekend shopping, hanging out with Dusty (he flew in on Wednesday morning), and apologizing to our house in Wasilla that weren’t going to be there by Christmas like we promised.  We do so love that house though and I think in all of our blessings over the past couple of months, that’s the most bittersweet.  We bought that big, beautiful house, and it will sit empty a few years longer.  We still don’t regret buying it though.  It still feels like “ours” when we stay there.  We just have two homes and that’s okay.

Especially when a lot of people don’t even have one.

(yeah Chrissy, you ungrateful whore!)

As far as our little cabin goes, well, we might have the house unpacked and organized by say…oh….2078?  The clutter is driving us both nuts but the transition has been hectic.   Howard has all next week off and promises to get the lion’s share of it done.  I stand ready to bribe him with beer and sex.  (mostly beer)

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that I had lunch with my Tess.  She and I have been trying to get together and have dinner for nearly five years now.  I guess it took quitting my damn job to finally do it.  She looked gorgeous as ever and we gossiped shamelessly.  It was fabulous.

Speaking of my former job (but certainly not my lovely coworker), it’s weird to go shopping in the store and not have any responsibility.  It’s also weird to see the changes.

But I don’t miss it one effing bit.  I honestly don’t think I ever will.

We still don’t have internet hooked up, the guy flew out last week but we weren’t home so he couldn’t get into the house, so who knows when we’ll be surfing comfortably in our home but for now, I still have access from Howard’s office.

So, that’s it.  I know ya’ll have been chomping at the bit, gnashing your teeth, and wringing your hands over what I’ve been up to. (right?)

I’ll try to jump on here and give you all one last post before my long 4 day weekend.  Oh my God.  I won’t even know what to do with myself.

Dec 8

Well, our five year run of being store managers is over.  It feels kind of weird going by there, knowing we’re no longer wholly responsible for it, but mostly, it feels like a big relief.

We’re settling somewhat into our tiny cabin.  Right now, oh my god, it is sooooo cluttered.  Dusty stopped by yesterday and was speechless.  He didn’t really believe that we had that many boxes.  Once he got over the shock, he installed any and all missing lightbulbs and I told him how I just LOVED having two husbands. heh.

The dogs and cat are pretty calm now.  The first night sleeping there was a rough one. Especially for Lucky who is 15 years old and getting more senile.  He would get out of bed, search for his water bowl, eventually find it, then wander from room to room trying to figure out where we were.  Katie thought it was just hilarious to run up and down the basement stairs and Pepper whimpered and whined periodically throughout the night.

Needless to say on Thursday, we were pretty grumpy and tired, having nearly no sleep.

It’s all good though.  Howard and I love our little “love shack”.  It has a lot of charm and we’re surprised by how well it stays warm.

Tomorrow, I’m flying out for new hire orientation and won’t be back for a week.  Howard will be joining me on Thursday because he has his follow-up appointment for his knee and then we’ll spend the weekend out at our own house in Wasilla.

Our big, empty, wonderful house with a fabulous king-sized bed. *sigh*  Someday, maybe we’ll actually live in it.

And so begins our new journey…new careers, new home, a new life.  Holy shit, I need a nap.

Dec 5

I’m writing this from Howard’s office because it really is going to be a while before we have internet hooked up at our house.  The tech won’t be able to get out here for a few weeks and then there’s a list a million miles long of people who put in requests before us.

And of course I love you readers enough to give ya’ll an update.

Tonight, we moved all the big stuff over to the cabin and we will spend our first night there. (Of course not without Dusty and I getting into a wrestling match and Howard having to yell at us to “quit goofing off”, but seriously, thank you Dusty!  you’re awesome for helping tonight!  My arm’s still sore too, asshole!)  The dogs and cat are good and freaked out.  They’re convinced, we’re packing up and leaving them behind.  After we leave here, we’re going home to collect them.  They’ll have fun exploring the new house.  Tomorrow we’ll do a thorough cleaning of the old house and then we’re outta there!
The new managers have arrived and are really nice.  This is the first store they’ve run for the company and let me tell you, I remember being anxious, and gung ho, and wanting everything to be perfect and boy, I’ve come a long way.  I mean, I care but I just don’t let things upset me anymore.  I’m having to give them that speech a lot.  “Look, sometimes you just gotta make due….you gotta improvise….don’t get upset about it.”

But honestly, I’ve no doubt, they’ll fit in fine and will do a great job.  But oh my hell, they have so much to learn about working for that company.  Yeesh.

I can’t believe that I only have two more days and I will be done.

One thing I will say is looking back through these past five years, I realize how much I came to really hate that job.  I began to resent it, dreaded getting out of bed in the morning, I became apathetic to certain things I probably shouldn’t been.

And I’m leaving just in time.

I will try and check in periodically until we have internet again and especially before Christmas.  Ya’ll be good until then.