Sep 27

Happy Birthday Brittney Ella!  You’re growing up so fast!  I hope you enjoy your day, gorgeous girl.  I love you!

Aunt Christina

Sep 27

-I really enjoyed my TTS training this week.  We had guest speakers from the Mayo Clinic and Loma Linda university.  All were very passionate about the subject of quitting tobacco.  I learned things about the addiction and most importantly; the tobacco industry and now understand why our speakers were so passionate about their cause.

-I saw several friends this week capping off the week with a friend from my village who treated me to sushi and saki last night.

-Tommi (Dusty’s sister) and I, discovered a place in Anchorage called “The Sugarspoon.”  It’s exclusively desserts and they are quiet possibly the most decadent on the planet.  Tommi and I had coffees and chatted late into the night.(For a person who is a decade+younger than me, we have a some great conversations)

-I attended an information session on the PA program I hope to enter in 2010 and it got me really excited about becoming one and reiterated my calling to the field.

-On a whim, last night, I decided to go see “Nights in Rodanthe” mainly because I’m all alone and can! (It’s a total chick flick)  The first half of the movie was pretty predictable.  In fact, I was rolling my eyes through some parts but the last half threw me for a loop and I left the theatre drying my eyes.

Howard is sending Pepper in today.  I’m picking him up at the airport shortly.  He needs to be groomed and needs his annual shots and vet check-up.  After that, we’re driving out to Wasilla to spend a weekend at our big, beautiful house.  Tess has business in the valley today so she has happily agreed to another pajama party and so she and I will be drinking wine in our pajamas, lavishing Pepper with attention, and gossiping until we’re possibly struck down by lightning. (Yes, we have lightning in Alaska!)

I’m staying through the weekend because I have appts on Monday so Pepper and I are taking advantage of our village having two flights a day this month (due to the hunting season) and we’re flying back Monday evening.

Sunday, I’ll be all alone (hence my Barnes and Noble trip) without cable or internet and I’m  looking forward to just enjoying my house, sitting around in my pajamas, and attempting to read every book I bought last night.

So, you guys be good and I’ll see you on the flip side in a couple of days!

Sep 27

Scene:  Standing in line at  Barnes and Noble tonight, an adorable little girl, maybe 4 years old was standing with her mother ahead of me.  Daughter walks over and picks up a book with Barack Obama on the cover.

Mama asks:  “Who is that?  Do you know who that is?”

Daughter contemplates for a second and says with a big smile like a lightbulb went on over her head and says:


I bit my lip, lowered my head to my enormous stack of books clutched to my chest, and giggled quietly to myself.

Sep 26

Today in Costco, I was shopping for bulk items to ship back to my village and instinctively went over to the kitty litter and right before I leaned down to pick up the giant bucket of Fresh Step, I remembered that we no longer have a cat.

I had to walk away quickly before I burst into a fit of hot tears.

I’d really like my Katie girl back now, please.

McGrath November 2005 006.jpgKatie in all her feisty glory.

Sep 24

I wrote this on the plane back to AK and saved it to publish whenever I got on the ground but forgot about doing it.  Anywho.  Here it is:

Vacation Highlights (because we all know how I am about “re-caps”)

-Finally getting used to the humidity and the heat and ultimately growing fond of the perpetual layer of sweat that seemed to always cover me from head to toe.

-Seeing a cousin I haven’t seen in years…one who was like another sister to me growing up…and both of us tearing up when we said our “goodbyes”.

-Swimming in Wilson’s Creek.  Where bathing suits and birthday suits are optional.

-Spending so much time with Julie which has been a challenge every prior trip home because of Julie’s circumstances.

-Spending a weekend at Howard’s aunt and uncle’s lake house.  Where I learned to drive a jet ski and learned the meaning of the term “booze cruise.”

-Getting a tan after nearly 6 years of having pasty white (albeit healthier) skin.

-Cheering on the Hickory Crawdads even if they did lose.

-Seeing Bryan Adams and impulsively putting one arm around Julie and one arm around Howard as we three swayed to “Everything I do, I do it for you.” And neither of them complaining as I belted out the lyrics and repeated over and over again how “hot” Bryan Adams looked in person..

-Making Julie stand up in her seat at said concert and screaming at Bryan that she truly was HIS BIGGEST FAN!!!!

-Spending an evening at Jason and Darrell’s house playing Wii and Playstation and completely bombing on the drums and guitar (on Rockband) but doing pretty damn good on the singing part.

-Dueting with Jason and getting the highest score EVER in the history of his household Wii playing. (Extreme ain’t got shit on us, do they Jason?)

-Laughing until my stomach ached on so many occasions with so many different people.

-My memaw sitting in my room with me last night as I packed and did laundry and cleaned up.  That meant so much to me.

-Eating at Lupie’s café in Charlotte…and old favorite of mine and Howard’s when we lived there more than a decade ago..and the food being just as good as it always was.

-Waiters and waitresses saying “what can I get ya’ll?”

-Going to Carowinds, screaming my lungs out on roller coasters, and doing the Extreme Skyflyer with Howard which is basically bungee jumping…except you don’t jump, you pull a drop cord.

-Taking my niece and nephew to Wilson’s Creek so they could use the new snorkeling gear Howard bought them.  Brittney loved how her flippers allowed her to swim faster and Bradley loved that he could see all the fish under the water.

I can’t express enough how glad I am that Howard and I decided against another international jaunt during this vacation and opted to spend our three weeks in our native state, enjoying all the summertime activities.  Don’t get me wrong, we enjoy seeing the world, but three weeks was long enough to do just about everything we wanted to do without feeling rushed.

To my NC family and friends who read this blog on a regular basis…thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking time out of your busy lives to spend time with us this trip.  I love you all beyond any and everything.

Sep 23

Back in June, on our show’s “season finale” (which I’m beginning to think was the series finale because Dusty and I have yet to start up our show due to every circumstance in the world) I found and played this song.

It brought back so many memories of NC summers.

Especially of when I was a young teenager.

We’ve all had those summer romances that left us breathless and dreading Fall when reality would come barging back into our lives and the romances fell out of touch and life went on.

I downloaded it from iTunes before leaving on vacation and played it several times while driving the roads I used to haunt back then.  It became my summer anthem for a few short weeks.  Not for any particular romance or memory other than perhaps of being young and carefree.

Would I go back in time and do it all over again?  Probably not.  Being a teenager was hard enough the first time.  I like being an grown-up and all the joy, pain, and meaning behind being one.

But I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.

(It also reminds me of his other song “Love At First Sight.”  Julie and I would would sing it going down the road in her Sunbird belting out “LOVE AT VERSAILLES!” because that’s what it sounded like and because she and I were dorks.  We still are.  And we’d still sing it exactly that way if it ever came on the radio and she and I were in the same car. *sigh* I miss my Julie)

Sep 21

I’m in Anchorage for the next week for Tobacco Treatment Specialist training.

Ah, to be back in town with restaurants, movie theatres, and of course, traffic.

Suffice it to say, I do not and will never miss traffic.

Having the entire day to myself, I went to see “The Women” which was hilarious.  At one point, I was nearly crying, I was laughing so hard.  I have no doubt, I’ll be torturing Howard for months just from the one-liners I took from that movie.

Afterwards, I went and got a pedicure, and did a little shopping.

Then I went to New Sagaya and got my usual favorite Chinese Take out.

I also couldn’t resist buying a slice of Tiramisu for dessert.

After dinner, I relaxed in the room, talked on the phone to my Anchorage friends and got a call from Howard that our friend Tonya gave birth to her baby this afternoon.

In short order, I grabbed my keys, threw on a sweater, snapped up my purse and hotel room keys and zipped over to the hospital.

Where I proceeded to ooh and aaah over a perfect 7lb 1oz baby boy named Triton Kash.  I held him until both of my arms were sore and gave Erik and Tonya hugs, promising to visit again before they leave to go back to our village.

The only thing that would have made it better was if Howard were here with me.  Of course, he and I would have been fighting over little Triton because he and I both love us some babies.

Chick flicks, retail therapy, pedicures, and newborns.

Could it get any better than that?

Sep 17

Suturing humans is MUCH MUCH different from suturing pigs’ feet and rubber prosthetic arms (which is what we practice on in session).

Suturing a finger? Is probably the most difficult area to suture.

Which was why today was my lucky day.

My mentor said I “did great.” My patient seemed satisfied with my work. We refrained from telling him that he was my “first.”

I think I threw up afterwards. (from nerves, not all the blood)

Which means that suturing is totally going to be favorite thing to do when it comes to practicing medicine.

Sep 16

Dusty’s beloved grandmother died peacefully this morning. Not two hours after I woke up with an overwhelming urge to call and check on him (he’s in Oregon with her). We had a wonderful conversation about the afterlife and how Elaine was at peace with her final chapter.

She was a sweet woman who I vicariously loved through Dusty. She and I would always send messages to each other through him and her love for her very special grandson was obvious. His love for her exuded as well. He and I have very similar relationships with our maternal grandmothers. It’s one of the many things we bonded over when we first met.

I am overcome with an enormous feeling of helplessness at not being able to comfort him, his sisters, his mother, and his aunt Susie. All friends of mine and Howard’s. But I am thankful that she went out of this world, no doubt; surrounded by a family who loved and adored her. A family she helped create and must be so proud of. A family who has become a second one to me and to Howard.

Dusty, we love you all more than we can express.

Rest in Peace, Elaine.

Sep 13

Has anyone heard Bret Michaels’ new single “Fallen?”


My old friends know how much I love this man’s music. In fact, my old friends would gladly hold their lighters in the air and sing along with me.

(Just ask my Julie)

I’m a rocker at heart, what can I say? And I love Bret just as much now as I did when I was wearing concert t-shirts, ripped jeans, and styling my hair like all the other glam rock bands of the 80’s.

Anyway, in lieu of using the new song as my Saturday Song Lyrics…I present you with his video singing said song.  (Or the link to it anyway) Because really. Those eyes. That voice. Those abs!


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