Saying Good-Bye to My Best Friend

As a sophomore in college, I was in the midst of thinking what was I going to do post-graduation. I had two ideas: Peace Corps or a dog. On a whim, I stopped by the local animal shelter and fell in love with an out of control black lab named Juneau. I had wanted a dog and chickens for as long as I could remember. However, my mom is neither a dog or a chicken person. After having both dogs and ducks, I very much understand why my mother was not going to get the 10-year-old me either.

Juneau was a little over a year old when I took her home and both of us required lots of training. She was there next to me throughout my 20s and early 30s, a fixture in my daily life while I was her entire life.

Together we’ve hiked mountains and hills across Alaska.

 

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She eagerly endured the car trip to DC and then back to Alaska. Always up for a car ride and an adventure.

We learned about ticks together as we explored the East Coast.

She was there when I received my undergraduate degree, my masters, and my first job. I sobbed into her fur after many break-ups. She accepted my husband as one of the pack when she realized he was here to stay. She was with us when we got married and thoroughly enjoyed her mishap with nacho cheese that night.

She has had her toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean.

She wanted to be everyone’s friend, and most everyone wanted to her friend.

 

She tolerated dress-up and endless photo-ops.

 

She was always up for an adventure even at the end when her body was no longer on board. She still gave life everything she had. She did everything with overwhelming enthusiasm. Two traits I want to emulate.

Friday we had to say good-bye to my best friend. As much as I would have wanted her to live forever, I couldn’t allow her to live in pain for me. After 14 years of non-stop adventure, she was ready to go even if I wasn’t ready. She was everything I imagined my first dog would be, I simply wish she could of lived forever.

 

 

Turns out I am a mother!

Mother fucking awesome! Damn, my friends are the best and are on a roll! I had this card waiting for me when I got home today.


This got me to thinking of all the support I’ve received from both people I have met physically and those online. I got all kinds of emotional up in here.

EcoFeminist sent me this print this winter representing the support of this online network of amazing women. These friendships and understanding have made this journal bearable. How did women do this before the Internet?!? I owe a lot of my current level of sanity to her.

One of my best friends took the time to fold and mail me 1,000 cranes for good luck. I also have a pillow from her that says “My career plans were more exciting when I was five.” which cracks me up daily and a wooden duck that she hand carried all the way up from California that joined us on a hiking trip through Cordova before winding up in Fairbanks.

Then when my 2nd round of IVF failed back in August 2016 and I was at the lowest I’ve ever been (I was flat on the bottom of rock bottom), another best friend (I have a lot of bests) sent me a feeling journal to record how I feel. She filled in a few pages and allowed room for me to expand. I cried reading it then and cried again today re-reading it.

My husband also restocked the wine fridge today and is currently digging out my hammock! My hero!

I’m feeling very emotional, sentimental, well taken care of, and loved today. Man, my friends are mother fucking awesome! Getting all weepy.

The Power of Thoughtful Friends

I didn’t get on Facebook yesterday, and most of those that follow infertility blogs know exactly why.

Yet because I’m putting off getting work started this Monday, I log on. Yesterday, a good friend sent me this:

Thinking of you

I have some really thoughtful friends in my life that have made infertility a bit more tolerable.

My Day In Pictures


This literally and figuratively sums up my week. It’s late (yes, 10 pm on a Friday is late) and I just want to be home. My husband took a few hours off work and we went to see David Sedaris. I needed that laugh. Now, I’m very capable of putting the limp-along on but I did mention it is late and I’m oh so deflated after this week? Instead, my husband is going to pick me up and this will be dealt with tomorrow.

Along with this:


And tomorrow I’ll have all day to cuddle with these:


The egg is in there for size comparison. As in – they exited an egg that size mere hours before. Granted, cuddling will have to wait till I pick my husband up from work, deal with the flat, and a filthy dog.

Simply Empowering

When I was living in D.C., I heard about a program called Girls on the Run (GOTR). I looked into it but with the long commute to and from work, I was never able to participate. Fast forward a few years when I move back to Alaska and GOTR is brought to Fairbanks. I signed up to coach and even raised funds through their Solemate program.

GOTR is a program designed to empower young girls through running. I participated as a coach for one semester while working a full-time job, going to school full time, and student teaching. Then medical issues hit and I had to bow out.

Today was this current group of young women’s end of GOTR season 5K run and celebration. Margaret from work went with me – the above photo is of her painting a runner’s face. Pre-race there is face painting and hair spray. I ended up with a blue and white heart plus covered in hair glitter. It’s for the kids, right? Then I ran with the girls on their journey. I encouraged them, I asked them about their day, and we had fun in the sun as a big supportive community for these young women. A celebration of them and their achievement – they moved their amazing bodies three whole miles!

I see myself in them. I started to run when I was about six and haven’t stopped since. I hope they continue to run. It is amazing what running can do both mentally and phsycially.

I went looking for the photo of me before my SoleMate fundraiser marathon. I found so many running photos! I also notice that I’m smiling in all of them – even the ones that were taken at the finish. That good old runner’s high! Simply looking at my past running photos make me grin ear to ear. In three weeks, I’ll be doing my 4th sprint triathlon with my mother. It took me a few years for me to convince my mom to try it and now she is unstoppable. Challenging both your mind and body is simply empowering.

And today, a team of runners attempted to break the 2-hour marathon. Almost. 23 seconds shy! It was something to watch! To think a human can run 26 miles in a little over 2 hours in absolutely AMAZING! I imagine in my lifetime, the 2-hour barrier will be broken. Probably not by me, but I do hope to do a sub-4 marathon eventually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cabbage and Mud

Before I went outside to take care of the ducks, I made sure the cookies were put up, and the baby gates were in place. I forgot the damn cabbage. Did you know you can leave fresh eggs on the counter at room temperature? The answer is no, no we cannot leave our fresh duck eggs on the counter. My dogs will eat anything and everything. If it is on the counter, it must be yummy. Even a quick trip to the bathroom, the counters must be food free, those mongrels will take advantage of me when my pants are down. They have no mercy.

The baby gates. We have no children, yet our house is littered with baby gates and mud. Lots of mud. Baby gates allow me to keep my dirty dogs confined to one area of the house. My dogs are the dogs that after wallowing in a huge mud puddle would then go roll in my bed. FullSizeRender 10.jpg

They are, for the most part, well-behaved but they are dogs. Alaskan dogs. It is spring, and so we are all bound to get a bit muddy and a hankering for fresh veggies.

 

 

 

 

Our Splendid Stories

I have two hours before my last flight home. I’m heading home from a week workshop in Washington D.C. The workshop was good, but it was what happened after hours that really made my week. The past three years have been hard between trying to build a family and my husband’s disorder. That is putting it mildly. My heart had hardened and became more guarded than Fort Knox.

A combination of time, some degree of acceptance, the kindness of others, and overwhelming support from loved ones have helped heal my heart and to let my guard down.

While in D.C., after dinners, I would walk with workshop attendees. One told me of that her husband of 20 years was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was dead six weeks later. She never thought she’d ever marry again or this was how her life would be. Her new husband brought kids into her life, which was another twist in her life story.

The following night, another gal talked about how her Mr. Right had gotten hit by a bus (figuratively), and if she ever did meet him, they would never be able to have kids due to an emergency hysterectomy.

Also while in D.C., I visited a good friend that is on bed rest at the hospital with preeclampsia for her second donor egg IVF (deIVF) baby. Everything is going well minus going stir crazy on bedrest. In a few weeks, she’ll have a second daughter. She looked so beautiful and pregnant.

Then all of the stories I follow through blogs.

The splendid stories you hear if you pause and listen. All of our stories are as unique as we are. More importantly, the triumph over these hardships is simply incredible. No matter how tragic life can be, there is still a lot of joy and hope to be had.

My next chapter may not be the one I wanted or expected. Life is always coming up with new twists and turns. I’m coming to terms with that and re-learning to enjoy the ride. I spent the last six-hour flight next to a bright-eyed one-year-old baby girl, and it was a delight instead of hours of sadness. It is refreshing to look at a baby as a positive rather than a reminder of what we cannot have. You don’t know you are okay until you are there*. And as my Cinnabon box said, life needs frosting.

*Quote from the movie The Hollars that I watched one of my many flights in the midst of many of movies.