My Bad Dog

Lola was my good girl/bad dog. My Mom and I brought her home as a puppy my junior year of college. I can’t remember why we picked her out of the litter of yellow lab/golden retriever puppies, but she was adorable. She was supposed to be for my high school aged brother, but Lola belonged to everyone. She didn’t play favorites.

I was moving to New Orleans for a few months for my junior winter, so I only had a few weeks with her as a tiny puppy. She cried in her kennel downstairs, a poor idea since she had just left her Mom and siblings, so she spent the night in my bed. She slept in my bed almost every night I was home. I’ve always thought those early weeks imprinted on her because although my time at home has been infrequent, she’s always greeted it with boundless enthusiasm.

Our first car trip I put her in a cardboard box to drive her over to my friend Maria’s house to show her off, but before long she wriggled out of the box and onto my lap. It’s not easy to drive stick shift with a puppy on your lap, but I managed. For twelve years my Mom and I have said “puppy in a box!” and laughed each time.

Whenever I’ve come home she’s gone ballistic. She runs around me in circles until she calms down enough to bring me one of her toys. As she’s gotten older and her arthritis has gotten worse, I’ve taken to sitting on the floor to try and entice her to my lap instead of her frantic laps. It’s had 50/50 success rate.

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She was full of love. When I’d go home to visit she’d continuously check my door to see if I was awake yet. It crushed me when I forgot to tell her goodbye one trip and my Mom told me that she’d waited outside my door the next morning. One of our favorite games was calling her up on the bed, she’d be so excited she’d jump up and roll around and them jump down and run around and then repeat 5-10 times.

Like any lab/retriever she was ball obsessed and she loved to swim. I taught her to jump off the dock at my parent’s pond. She loved me enough that after I had jumped off a couple of times and called for her each times, she eventually couldn’t take it anymore and followed me in. It was all we could do when she got older and more fragile to keep her from jumping off of it in her later years.

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She could have amazing discipline. She’d play tug of war with you and give it everything she had, including menacing growls, but as soon as you told her to stop, she’d let go and sit, waiting for you to tell her when it was play time again. She’d do just about anything for a treat. She also smiled a lot and often looked at you as if she were saying “isn’t this just the best?”

Lola lived to twelve years and she never stopped going in the trash or running off if she was loose for any length of time. She particularly liked to run up the road to my parent’s closest neighbor’s house and shit on their lawn. She also occasionally pooped in the dining room, she had quite a cover job going for a while with my parent’s other dog getting blamed and only got found out when Bogie passed away. She snapped at most of the cats and occasionally bit them if she was feeling particularly grouchy. She never really liked other dogs other than a few exceptions. But she loved us like crazy and she enjoyed every day of life like it was the best day she’d ever had. She was my good girl/bad dog.

Lola’s had multiple lives. She’s had leg problems for a couple of years, had some adventurous dining decisions, and has had some very close calls. I’ve said goodbye to her every time I’ve gone home the last couple of years because I knew each visit might be the last one with her and I wanted to make sure she knew how much I loved her.

Dogs are the worst. They make us love so hard and never live long enough for it not to be crushing when they go. She’s a piece of home that will be missing.

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A Milestone

Yesterday was two years from my last chemo treatment. The week before I had my oncologist appointment that marked two years. Two years is the highest risk for reoccurrence for the cancer I had. I made it.

Once I hit the 5 year mark I’ll really be kicking up my heels (next highest risk),  but getting to two years is huge. I’ll no longer have to see the cancer ward once a quarter, it’ll be down to twice a year. I can breathe a little easier. I can remember a little less.

Thank you everyone who has helped made this difficult road a little easier. See you in 2017.

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Some Days Are Awesome

Everyone tells you that the first 6 weeks are the hardest, and I am seriously hoping that’s true. Yesterday was a tough one with lack of sleep and fussiness. I also may have spent some of Thanksgiving sobbing in the dark because he wouldn’t stop crying and it’s really heartbreaking when that happens. Today is a good day though.

I took issue, before I had my baby, with people calling it a job, usually in the context of “the hardest job” or “hardest working” when referring to at home Moms. I understand better now why it gets the comparison, but I still don’t think it’s applicable or fair to either side. My baby is not a job, I know this because he can’t fire me and I’m not getting paid. I also don’t get time off right now. It was pretty rare that my job cost me a full night’s sleep. I could also call in sick to my job and take vacation.

Right now I am 24-7 Moming it. I’m breastfeeding so that means I’m the only source of food, so if he’s up, I’m up. We also don’t have any sort of schedule yet because he’s a newborn so I’m not leaving him for more than an hour, which I’ve done once in 16 days (but who’s counting). He’s made me happier than any job ever has and my last two jobs haven’t made me cry. At work anyways. I’m also pretty good at my job, I am a complete novice to baby care. I watch in awe as other experienced Moms can hold him and comfort him seemingly without any effort, while it’s more of a 40/60 success rate for me.

But today is a good day. Today is one of those awesome, I am so glad to be on maternity leave and not at my day job, days. Last night we managed to avoid any 2-hour awake periods, so I got sort of a fullish night sleep in my shifts. I was able to eat breakfast and coffee at a reasonable hour while he chilled in his swing. We had a secret project that we did this morning that went awesome. And we just went for a 45 minute stroller walk that got him to sleep and got me and Wallace some exercise, and one of my best friends called and I got to catch up with her while out and about. I finally looked at our insurance options and was able to make a decision on where to add him. And I ate lunch at a normal time before I was starving and desperate for food. Tonight my parents are coming and will get to meet him for the first time.

Today is a good day.

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I’m Thankful for Nono

2016 was a rough year for our country. A lot of terrible and tough things have happened and a lot of people are ready to close the books on it and not look back. For me, however, 2016 is a year I will treasure forever. 2016 is when we welcomed our son into the world.

It’s been a tough journey getting to him. It started in 2014 and was derailed by a cancer diagnosis. I had to deal with the risk that chemo brings of never being able to have kids. But I was lucky and got pregnant soon after my doctor gave me the green light this year. That was followed by a pregnancy that was anything but glowing. I had trouble gaining weight due to the nausea that plagued me for almost the entire pregnancy, I was exhausted, sore, and all of the normal pregnancy challenges. I spent several hours in the hospital when I went into preterm labor, afraid and not ready. Luckily Nono decided to wait a few more weeks. We had another scare when my midwife picked up an arrhythmia and there were also concerns about his growth. After hours spent in fear limbo, we were again cleared. Finally Nono joined our family after 32.5 hours of labor, healthy and without needing a c-section.

It was love at first sight. Even though he proceeded to poop on me twice within his first few minutes of outside the womb life. Everything I had been afraid of in becoming a Mom (what about everything I would be giving up? what if I didn’t bond immediately? ) faded away and didn’t matter at all. Being a Mom is like breathing, it doesn’t require thought. My world shifted in an irrevocable way and I didn’t even feel it happen.

There are challenges. I cry pretty much every day. I think the blog “why is my son crying” could have a precursor blog for new families called “why is Mommy crying?” Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s hard, there’s a lot of crazy emotional surge going on post baby. The struggle is real.

There’s a lot of things you can’t prepare for. I understood I wouldn’t be getting much sleep, but it’s different knowing that in theory and living with not knowing how much sleep I’ll get in a night or when I’ll get woken up. It’s really tough. Most physically tough things you have the ability to tell yourself you just need to get through an amount of time and it’ll get better. It may be years before I can sleep in my own bed and get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Luckily the reason that I’m going through sleep deprivation torture has the sweetest face and I love him with all of my heart. Once I manage to get myself up it’s all better, sometimes I sit there at 3am just looking at him as he’s fallen back asleep and marveling at how beautiful he is.

I also have an amazing partner in this that I am thankful for. He continues to take care of me through the good stuff and the tough stuff and he’s also head over heels for our beautiful son.

So thank you 2016 for changing my life in the best way possible.

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The Day After

As many of us are, I’m reeling from the results I saw when I woke up this morning. I honestly thought this was impossible, even as close as things were last night. The repercussions of this are impossible to know, other than they will last far beyond four years. I cried.

The last time I cried was when Bush was elected, I was a teenager and too young to vote and I sat up by myself and cried. Today I’m an adult about to have a child and I feel like the Bush election was nothing compared to what has just happened.

So I had a long hopeless feeling cry this morning.

Then I took a shower and picked myself back up.

This election will change us as a country, but it does not change us as individuals. I am still an #independent #nastywoman. I still believe that everyone who is not a heterosexual white man deserves the same rights and opportunities as they do. This just means the next four years will require a greater effort from me and everyone else who feels this way to do our best to continue to fight for these things, even though the laws that are passed or struck down may not align with this. We have to take it one day at a time and do our best to fight for ourselves and each other.

Thank you to my friends that campaigned for the democrats. You put personal time and money into trying to fight this and I know this must be hitting you all even harder and just want to say that I really appreciate what you did.

To the democratic party, fix your shit. Somehow you’ve become far more currupt than the republicans and you lost this election. In my eyes, the republicans didn’t win this, you lost this. You fixed your own election, got caught, had scandal after scandal, and now the country will pay. You have four years to figure out how to be better. Do it or get out of the way.

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She’s With Me

I voted early. Being 9 months pregnant, I didn’t want to miss my opportunity and I didn’t want to risk standing in long lines that I physically might not be able to handle. I also didn’t want to risk them running out of our Blue Dog “I Voted” stickers.screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-9-32-12-am

I voted for Hillary. Being a female liberal, about to have a baby, in my 30s this shouldn’t surprise or upset anyone. It was a given. I’m an independent so I don’t align myself with the Democratic party (and have never been prouder than that given this election cycle) but the republicans really don’t even try to talk to liberal independents, so presidential cycles are thus far automatically a democratic vote for me.

This election cycle has been the most brutal and most disappointing of any that I have been aware/a part of. It’s left me unable to use the hashtag “#ImWithHer” with my vote.

I’m not. I do think that she is the best option for president in our current candidate field, I do feel awed that I was able to vote for a female presidential candidate who has a real shot at winning, and there are pieces of her that I feel proud of and aligned with.

But there are also a lot of things that I feel disappointed by and can’t dismiss. I’m not going to get into them because seriously, we’re almost out of this shit, why bother? But I’m not with her.

However, she’s with me. And that is actually a lot more important to me in a presidential nominee. I don’t donate money to presidential candidates, I don’t think I should pay to have someone be president, I’d rather my money went to providing help to people in a more direct way and not to bloated egos and hateful political ads. I want candidates to prove to me that they’re good enough for my vote.

Hillary is with me personally because she supports Obamacare and wants to improve it. I’m a woman so I benefit in a lot of ways from Obamacare for my healthcare. I’m also a young cancer survivor so I have a preexisting condition that insurance providers are not a fan of. I’m also about to have a baby so I use my insurance often between the cancer and baby check-ups, and Obamacare provides longterm healthcare coverage for my kid.

I’m also a female professional. I work in an industry where there is no wage equality or consistency or transparency and is often structured with lots of women working under all male management. Equal pay is important to me, and when I live in a state where it just voted down, I look to Hillary as someone who may be able to help.

I’m also about to take maternity leave in a state where FMLA is the only available option unless businesses choose to offer more. This means that there are lots of women who don’t get FMLA based on the size of the business they work at or can’t afford it because it’s unpaid. It’s a real issue of inequality and honestly it would be nice to see some of those pro-life motherfuckers spend some of those millions of dollars in services to help women post birth instead of giving me fetuses on billboards.

There are a lot of other reasons that I think Hillary is the best choice for president in this election cycle, but these are the main reasons that she’s with me.

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Nasty Woman as evidenced by the pirate cat, alt necklace, guns hanging from my ears, and you can just tell from my eyes that I’m opinionated…

Liar, Liar: March 16th

It is super weird when you first find out your pregnant and you can’t tell anyone. Especially when it’s your first pregnancy so your mind is totally blown and you’re trying to act like everything is normal instead of irrevocably different.

So for those living in a cave, people tend to keep things secret first trimester because it has the greatest chance of miscarriage, which unfortunately is much more common than people think. So you’re faced with the thought process of “would I want to talk to this person if that happened” and the answer is usually no. So that fun guessing game you like to play, outing your pregnant friends? You’re being a dick. Stop it.

So anyways, I found myself in the liar camp, which was super hard for me because I’m paranoid, carry a guilt complex, and am normally an over-sharer. Seriously, it’s miracle that I kept this under wraps. (more…)