Dec 31

2008?  What shall I say about it?

We suffered several losses this year.  Howard’s job at the university (due to budget cuts, they shut down the entire campus here in the village) came first last May.  I know I didn’t tell anyone but you know?  It’s just not something I felt like sharing with the entire internet.  Plus, I know people in my family judge worry more than they should.  We’re doing fine though.  Of course there have been major cutbacks in spending but somehow, someway, we’ve managed to keep our heads above water, maintaining two households and not getting behind on one single bill.  Living in a small village means finding more than part time employment can be a challenge, but we’ve made due just fine.

I had more than my share of health scares and issues.  But  you  know?  I’m as healthy as I can be right now.  If nothing, it was a huge lesson in taking better care of myself.  Mentally and Physically.

Katie and Lucky both died within six months of each other.  That nearly put me through a wall but they both lived long and happy lives.  I still miss them every single day.  They will always be my “first” babies.

And finally, the house we rent was sold out from under us so we have to be in a new place by February 1.  By the time we heard that news?  We felt like old hats at having bad news thrown at us.

But the good things?  I’ve made huge strides in my education this year.  Having 3 sessions of CHA training under my belt, I’m certain that career wise, I’m moving in the right direction.  People tell me I’m a natural and that feels good.  It feels natural.  I couldn’t ask for a better job, better coworkers, or a better boss.

When Howard lost his job, the entire community stood up for him and his coworkers.  They fought, wrote letters, made phone calls, and even if it was ultimately in vain, it was inspiring and heartwarming.  It made us thankful once again, to live in a village such as this one.

When Katie and Lucky died, so many of you emailed, called, left comments, etc.  I couldn’t ask for better readers or better friends.

This past year has taught me resilience if nothing else.  It’s taught me how to get back up when I stumble.  That no matter what Howard and I are going through, we can get through it together.  That we are loved far more than we love.  That we are given far more than we give.  That as easy as it is to feel sorry for ourselves and blame others, we choose to take the rougher road.  We learned to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, deal with life, and try our best to move on.

Having said all that sappy stuff, I have to admit that I’ll be glad this year is over.  2009 has surely got to hold better things.

Here’s hoping that the New Year will be better, wonderful, and fabulous for each and everyone of you.

Now for the special shout-outs:

Howard.   Love of my life.  My heart.  When you do little things like drive 90 miles in one day just put up a Christmas tree to surprise me?  When I come home to a spotless house and a hot lunch and dinner?  When you call our friends in need and ask them if you can do anything for them?  It makes me proud to be your wife.  It makes me want to aspire to be more like you.  Everyone tells me I lucked out in the spouse department.  What can I say except….”I absolutely did.”

Dustin.  Brother by chance if not by uterus.  Once again, you’ve been an absolute champion for me this year.  I sometimes feel like I rely on you too much but I know that you’d level with me if I ever did.  Thank you for being the best friend anyone could ever ask for.  Thank you for being my own personal eternal optimist whenever I need a dose of it.

Julie.  Light of my life.  My hero.  You have transformed this year.  You’ve found your confidence, your gumption, your independence once again.  Just like you said this summer..”The real Julie is back!”  And you are honey.  Back, better, and more beautiful than ever.  Your newfound happiness radiates all around you and I am so thankful that we got to spend so much time together this past summer.

Jen, Heather.  You’re still there.  In  my corner.  Anytime I need you.  You both are what TRUE friends are made of.   Each of you more beautiful and amazing for it.  My only complaint?  Is that I don’t get to see either of you as often as I’d like.

Tess, Amy.  My “blog buddies” but so much more.  Our friendships have grown beyond the superficial.  They have become lasting ones.  The ones that really count.  Thank you both for your friendship.  (And Tess?  Thank you for spending lost weekends with me in Wasilla!)

My family.  Thank you for always accepting my honesty.  For always loving me in spite of everything.  I’m proud to call you family.

Now go!  Have fun!  Go and ring in the New Year with people who made this past year special for you.

2008?  Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!

Dec 27

I nearly fainted when Dusty confessed to me that he’d never seen “It’s A Wonderful Life” after I told him that Howard and I watched it on Christmas Eve and I wept, yet again, even though I’ve seen the movie well over 20 times.

Then Holly and I were talking about the famous scene where George and Mary can’t hold back their feelings for each other any longer.

As Holly and I swooned, Dusty rolled his eyes at us but really, in my opinion, it’s one of th e sweetest love scenes from any movie I’ve ever seen.

And it’s one of my favorite things about Christmas I look forward to every year.

If you haven’t seen the movie, maybe this scene will entice you to see it.  And if you’re feeling depressed and down on your luck, like many of us are this year?  Then you should most definitely watch it.  We should all take a lesson from George, Clarence, and the fine people of Bedford Falls.

Here’s the scene: (Watch and enjoy) 

Dec 25

Merry Christmas everyone.  Now get off the damn computer and go spend the day with your family and friends.  Oh yeah, and open some presents, already!

Dec 24

Meet Clarence:

Clarence

Howard and I were sort of in the market for another animal, but were unsure as to whether we wanted a dog or a cat.  Pepper has been desperately lonely and sad since Lucky dog’s passing and a new animal seemed like the best solution.  So, Howard and I decided that we’d look at dogs and cats (only from shelters or rescues) and trust our gut.  We would know “our” animal.

Needless to say when we saw Clarence at an adoption fair, then his foster mother read his biography…”good with kids, good with dogs, good with other cats…already declawed, microchipped and neutered..”, it only took one look in his big blue eyes to know we’d found Pepper’s new brother.  And the adoption fee?  Only $20 bucks!  Howard gave them a little extra and we brought him home.  His original name was Archie but he never answered to it and we really didn’t think he looked like an “Archie.”  It just didn’t seem to fit his personality.  The name “Clarence” was a name we both really liked and it just suits him.  Cool, laid back, Clarence.  And you know what?  He answers to that.

And I have to also say that he’s even better than we expected.  He purrs like mad, LOVES to head butt, kneads his huge paws, loves to snuggle and absolutely ADORES Pepper.  He purrs and head butts him anytime Pepper goes around him.  Pepper is enamored of his new brother.  He was so happy when he saw he had a new sibling.  In fact, Howard said he hadn’t seen him that excited in weeks.  Clarence didn’t even fan his tail when Pepper ran up to him.  He just took it in stride like he and Pepper had been brothers forever.

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear he was the equal combination of Katie and Lucky.  Not that I’m comparing him to either of them but it is amazing how his personality reminds us of both of them.  And how he just immediately fit in with his new family.

He’s also proof positive that you don’t necessarily need a kitten or puppy.  He’s an adult cat around 3 years old.

His foster mother called him “an angel” and she teared up and hugged him for a long time when we picked him up.  “He’s a sweetheart…you’re going to be very happy.”

We are.  We so, so are.  He was the best Christmas present we could give to ourselves and to Pepper.

Dec 23

Tonight, while driving back to Wasilla from Anchorage:

Howard and I were softly singing to the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love?” in the car, kind of lost in our own thoughts.  You know…those comfortable kind of silences…

Howard breaks our individual reveries with:

Howard:  “You know?  Up until about a year ago, I always thought that song said “you come to me in a submarine, instead of a summer breeze.”

Chrissy:  “Really?  Only a year ago?”

Howard:  “Yep” *embarassed look*

Chrissy:  “Oh my God, that is too funny.”  *guffaws*

Howard:  “Listen to the song…’you come to me on a submarine..’”

Chrissy:  “Wow, it does kind of sound like that.” *still laughing*

Howard:  “Well, it talks about deep love and all that.  A submarine makes perfect sense.”

Chrissy:  “You REALLY thought it said that up until a year ago?  I could see being a kid and thinking of that.  Oh my God, it reminds me of Brian thinking that Dixie Chicks song said “He’s 2 inches 4 instead of he’s 2 and she’s 4.” *cracks self up*

Howard:  “Hey, at least mine made sense.”

Chrissy:  *wipes tears from eyes* “I guess…by the way…I’m blogging about this tonight.”

Howard:  “At least you’ve got something to blog about.”

Chrissy:  “Touche”

Dec 21

I also just wanted to point out that I acknowledge the paradox of having both a bible verse and the work “Fuck” in the same post.

Thank you.

Dec 21

Whew!

I have so much to say but you know?  I’ll save the bad stuff for my end of year post.  Where I reflect on 2008.  For now?  Let’s focus on the positive stuff.

Like how many of you emailed me just to make me smile.  Fuck man, I can’t say it enough.  My friends rock.  You’re all so awesome.  I am so lucky and should really not whine so much.  I wasn’t fishing or asking for it?  But you guys just do it anyway and I love that.

Session III is done and I got through it with little upset.  It was, by far, my hardest session yet but my final scores were:

Open Book: 98

Closed Book:  97

Well Baby OSCE: 96

Prenatal OSCE: 100

Point of Care OSCE:  100

I’m so glad it’s done but I also have to say I’ve had more fun in the last three weeks than I’ve had at any other session.  Binni and Susan have become more like family than friends to me.  We all just got along so well.  I have laughed more than I have in a long time.

When we each got off the plane Friday night, we waited until all three of us were disembarked, then we made our final walk, laughing and chatting away until we got to baggage claim and said our tearful goodbyes.

You know?  I have to find the positives in all potentially negative scenarios.  With everything going on in my life, I was seriously questioning whether or not I would make it through this Session.  But fate intervened and brought two wonderful women into my life who supported me, cheered me on, motivated me, and gave me the strength to finish out those three weeks.  In fact, I think we all did it for each other.

I have found two sisters for life.  I am so grateful.

Howard met me at the airport on Friday night and had chocolates, flowers, and our sweet Pepper dog waiting for me.  I was happy I could introduce him to my new friends.  Seeing him lifted my spirits even more.  And to top it all off, when we arrived in Wasilla, we pulled into a plowed driveway and I walked upstairs and saw a lit Christmas tree.  Howard had driven all the way out earlier and shoveled the driveway himself, put up our Christmas tree, and then turned around and booked it back to Anchorage to pick me up.  He’s so good to me, it brings me to tears.

We’re spending the weekend at our gorgeous house and I’m sitting here lounged on our new couch that’s barely been sat on in the past year.  Howard is still sleeping and I’m enjoying the silence.  I can see the Talkeetna mountain range out the window from where I’m sitting.  Pepper is curled up beside me.

I realize that little peaceful moments like this are what make the painful things bearable.

We return to our village on Tuesday.  Back to the reality of our lives.  Back to more friends who make life bearable.  And life goes on.

Yesterday, while shopping for a few things, I found a gorgeous painting that compliments our kitchen motif.  There was a bible verse written on it.  I knew I had to buy it once I read what it said:

“…rejoice in our suffering, suffering produces perserverance, perserverance-character, and character-hope…Romans 5:3″

And really it does.

Dec 15

Dear God,

Apparantly, you find it funny to keep throwing wrenches into whatever fragile happiness I seem to have this year.

I am sick of it.

I give.

I just need some help.  Right now.

That is all,

Chrissy

Dec 7

Not only is this an anniversary of a day that will “live in infamy” this is also a day that I will forever be grateful for.

My friend Heather was born on this day a certain amount of years ago (don’t worry Chun, I won’t give away your age.) We don’t talk a lot but when we do, it’s as if there have been no lapses in time.  We’ve known each other since we were in middle school.  She was the gorgeous, tall, willowy, blonde friend that I always envied.  While she felt awkward about her strikingly good looks, I always thought she was one of the most beautiful women in the world. I still do.

And it’s not just because she’s aesthetically pleasing.

Heather’s always there for me when I need her.  Always has been.  No matter how much time passes between us.  No matter what’s transpired between us.

She’s a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a best friend.

I love you, Heather.  Happy Birthday!

Dec 6

Whew.

I can definitely say that this session is much more intense and challenging than Sessions I & II.  However, I am loving it.  It’s all about female/male repro, pregnancy with labor and delivery, and well baby and child.

My roommates, Susan and Binnie, are just fabulous.  Turns out that there are only 3 of us because our other classmates could not make it here on time.  And being this session is only 3 weeks, missing just a couple of hours is impossible to make up.  But it’s fine.  We told Binnie (She was placed in the apartment nextdoor) to move over to our side of the duplex and we’re all just happy as clams.

I have to say that as much as I’ve enjoyed my flatmates in the past, this time is the best so far.  We all have the same sense of humor; we love to laugh; and we’re all taking the class seriously.  Binnie taught me how to bead and I’m crazily addicted.  So much so that we’re staying up way too late at night, talking and beading and laughing.

Yesterday morning I woke up with a horrible stomach ache and could not keep anything down all day.  I was nursing warm ginger ale and saltine crackers all through my morning lecture class.  I had two prenatal patients yesterday afternoon in clinic and I had to strategically find ways to excuse myself to throw up.  At one point, my preceptor was in the bathroom with me, holding my hair back.  But dammit, I stuck it out.  My patients didn’t appear to notice anything awry except for maybe my bloodshot eyes and pale face.  I smiled and went right to the next part of the exam anyway.

One of our labor and delivery instructors is from Tennessee!  Her accent is twangier than mine but of course, you get the two of us together and we’re all the more twangier!  It’s hilarious but comforting at the same time.

She’s also my advisor and during my weekly evaluation yesterday, she told me there were no problems, I was progressing as I should be and to “rock on!”  Then we sat there for the rest of the hour and visited with each other.  In fact, Binnie and Susan did the same thing with their advisors because we’re all doing very well.  Yesterday, the director was going over continuing education and he told us that we three would be wonderful PA’s or NP’s.  That was really cool.  It’s great to be in such stellar company.

I’ve also noticed that the atmosphere is way more relaxed.  I think it’s also because there are so many people who drop out of the program after Session II. So to see us back means that we’re committed to completion and I think it means the instructors can invest more in us personally.

So, it’s been great.  It really has.  The stress level is healthy, my roommates are awesome, and in spite of the stomach bug, I’m chugging right along.

I still miss Howard and Pepper. And of course, my bestie, Dusty.  But I’m thankful that I’m off to a good start all the same.

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