Mar 21

I arrived back in my village this morning after a few days in Anchorage.

Howard met me at the plane with open arms, we claimed my baggage and he whisked me away on the snowmachine and treated me to breakfast at the cafe’.

When we arrived home, Pepper’s entire body shook with excitement and Clarence lumbered excitedly over to rub up against my leg. Howard and I unloaded the groceries I brought back with me, I changed into my pajamas, and after attempting to relax in the living room, Howard suggested we retire to the bedroom for a family cuddle.

After sleeping alone for the past three nights and functioning on very little, I easily caved.

We fluffed the blankets and pillows, Pepper jumped up on the bed and rooted under the covers, Howard and I followed suit. (with less rooting of course)

I spooned up behind Howard, kissed his shoulder, my right arm thrown around his waist, his right arm pulling mine ever tighter around him. His hand wrapped around mine. Clarence hopped up on the bed, felt around until he felt Pepper’s warm lump under the covers at our feet and plopped down next to his brother.

Sleep found me within minutes. My last thoughts before slumber being ones of gratitude.

For the familiar. The warmth of bodies molded together on the family bed. Of the comfortable quiet that settles over us as we all exhale the joy of being back together again.

My boys and me. My life. My destiny.

I slept the best I’d slept in days. It’s good to be home.

The boys.

Mar 7

On Tuesday, my co-worker and I flew to a neighboring village to celebrate the birthday of a very special lady.

She was turning 100 years old.

I first met “Grandma Lena” last year when she was passing through town. I got to spend some time visiting with her, learning that she was once a midwife who delivered over 100 babies in her village, loved to bead, and most importantly was in remarkable physical and mental shape to be (at the time) 98 years old.

I was immediately smitten with and inspired by, this remarkable woman. I also made a promise to her and to myself that if it was at all possible, I’d spend her 100th birthday with her. Even if it meant I had to fly to her village.

Which is exactly what I did. My boss gave me his blessing and even allowed a co-worker to come along.

After we arrived at her home and I appeared in the doorway of her bedroom (where she spends a lot of her time now), her face lit up and she held out her arms to welcome me. I strode over to the bed and allowed myself to be enveloped by her frail yet strong arms. “Happy Birthday, Gramma” I said into her shoulder as she squeezed me tight.

“Thank you” she said through her big smile.

I checked her over and made sure she had everything she needed to be comfortable, and then I told her I wanted to paint her nails for her birthday. (I made a mental note a while back because everytime I visit with her, she’s constantly tending to her nails.) Her windowsill held an assortment of varied and sundry colors of nail polish. I pulled them down and asked her which color she wanted.

She gave me a mischievious grin, raised an eyebrow, and reached for the drawer in her nightstand and produced a bottle of powder blue polish with just a hint of glitter.

We smiled at each other.

Of course she wanted this color. It was different and special and she was 100 years old. It was the perfect choice.

As I gingerly held her hand in mine, her skin as delicate as tissue paper, dipped the brush in the polish, and smoothed it over each nail, we talked about her favorite memories, the best being the birth of her children. We talked about how the world had changed so much since she first arrived in the world. We laughed and giggled like two teenagers at silly stuff and I listened intently when she spoke of serious issues.

It was one of the most profound moments of my life. Here I was, sharing an intimate moment with someone who’d lived 100 years. And was still doing quite well. I felt grateful, my heart swelled with joy and admiration.
I eventually left so that she could take a nap before her big potluck/birthday party and so that my co-worker could have her own individual time with her as well. Later, we both joined the entire community in celebrating with her. Sentiments were expressed. Food was eaten. Photos were snapped. Video was captured. Hugs and kisses were doled out in abundance.

Finally, we heard our plane fly over..signaling the end of our visit. We began saying our goodbyes and when it was my turn, I hugged her again, and she thanked us all for making the trip over to see her.

“I love you, gramma” I said when I pulled away and looked into her eyes.

“I love you too” she said as she stroked my cheek.

As my travel companions and I made our way to the airstrip to meet our plane, my co-worker said through watery eyes: “What a wonderful day…I’m so glad we spent her birthday with her.”

“Indeed.” I said, as I choked back my own tears.

Don’t blink
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
Don’t blink
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster then you think
So Don’t blink

Alaska 2009 200.jpg

Mar 6

I just HAD to post about this.

Earlier tonight, I did a few things around the house like laundry, taking out the garbage, and more importantly, cleaning out Clarence’s litter box.  (Which, Oh. My. God.  I could do an entire post dedicated to the size of that cat’s poop)

So, after doing that, I flopped down on the couch with my laptop to do some websurfing, hoping to GOD, I could find some inspiration with which to wax the BEST! POST! EVER! (HA!)

Clarence, hopped up on the couch beside me and began purring and kneading and headbutting me.

Now, I know when we first got him, he did that a lot and without provocation.  But that was also when he wasn’t quite sure we were just another foster home and therefore had to turn on all the charm he could in order to woo us into keeping him forever.  Nowadays, he only does that when he’s out of food or needs something. (little brat…and also knows we’re just head over heels in love with him anyway)

So, knowing I’d just cleaned his litter box, topped off his food bowl, and refilled his water tank, I knew there was no other motive other than the fact that he just wanted to show his mama how much he appreciated her for doing that.

(Insert pregnant pause here)

A couple of hours later, I was transferring laundry from the washer to the dryer, feeling almost smug that I accomplished so much…ESPECIALLY tackling that nightmare of a litter box, when I realized SUDDENLY why my blue eyed, portly, orange point cat was so enamored with his mama.

Because his dumbass mother, though she cleaned the litter box, disposed of the litter, and replaced the dirty liner with a clean one, FORGOT to put clean cat litter in the litter box.

Thank you folks.  I’m here all week.