Cities

How Winter Kills

Like the snow in Metro Detroit, I’ve been in and out of everyday life. And like the snow, my mind should be ever present during this particular month, since it’s supposed to be the month of new beginnings; of making resolutions to change things.

But like the snow, I’ve only surfaced in bits in pieces whenever life seems to be most inconvenient.

This depression sucks.

No. I mean literally. It sucks the life and energy out of me. And throw in a (un)healthy dose of anxiety with it … well it just makes life all the more interesting.

I’m trying my best to move past this depression; doing all that I can physically and clinically do, but the weight of this sadness seems to be omnipresent.

Thank God for an understanding Husband; one who has stood by me through thick and thin. He’s been there through the low-hanging, non-anxiety moments and all the way through the high-octane drama-fueled moments. Sometimes I wonder – scratch that – I always wonder how I’ve managed to find my soulmate and my best friend who still loves me despite all the baggage I carry.

If anything, Hubby (and the furkids – although the fur-dog has been on my last nerve lately … ) is the reason why I keep getting out of bed every morning.

Even though I’ve written the occasional post about the grief I’ve been experiencing, I know I’m not usually so outright with my depression. But it has been suggested to me that I start writing more about it, because this seems to be the only outlet where I can openly talk about my struggles.

And although this blog is (and always will be) about living child-free after infertility, I thought that this was my little corner of the universe where I can tell you about my life, both good and bad. So here’s where I lay it out on the line:

  • I’m still grieving over the death of my father. Between my two parents, it’s become apparent to me over the past year and a half that I truly was a “Daddy’s Girl.” I thrived in the moments when my Dad would play around with me and tease me. And there were the silly jokes the two of us would play on each other that only the two of us would get. And I miss those things horribly.

 

  • In the same aspect, I realize how much different my relationship with my Mom has always been; particularly now that my Dad had passed. I’ve always known that we never had that “Mother-Daughter” bond that is constantly seen in movies and TV shows; we’re just two very different people. And without Dad being there as a buffer, this relationship has only intensified … and not always in a positive way.

 

  • Even though it’s been over a year since deciding to move back to Detroit, not a day goes by that I don’t miss living in Chicago. I miss the city and the atmosphere. I miss the late night trips to Dim Sum or Korean BBQ with my cousins. I miss walking.

 

  • But what I miss the most is that Chicago represented a new life for me. A life where Hubby & I carved out a place for ourselves; where the two of us really started focusing on us as a “Family of Two.” And while I love my hometown and take pride in telling people that I’m from Detroit, I miss that part of our lives where we were just far enough from “home” where Hubby & I could be our own family.

 

  • And finally … even though Hubby & I have decided that child-free living after infertility is our life, there are still those days where I worry about our future and what other things in our lives we can contribute to the greater good of our world. Will all I have to show at the end of my life is that I’ve worked hard for a living? That I loved my family and friends to the best capacity that I could? What about my legacy? What will I leave behind? And will I have made a difference in someone’s life? I know now that having kids won’t necessarily “satisfy” or provide answers to all of those questions, but having lost my Dad … and knowing the person he was … this is something that weighs heavily on mind.

 

I could probably go on with more “issues” that seem to run endlessly through my anxiety-ridden head, but these are the ones that are constantly in my stream of consciousness. These are the things that keep me from doing the things I would normally enjoy doing.

Like reading.

Or knitting.

Or taking pictures.

Or writing.

Or simply watching TV.

But I’m trying … at least I’ll try to work on the writing bit.

And maybe Mother Nature will be kind enough to work on a mild winter for the rest of us.

Shop Locally

Hubby & I started yesterday in Royal Oak & Ferndale … but today is the day to shop at your local small businesses. If we all shop small, we’ll be giving our economy a big boost!

So shop locally … while thinking globally

Planning To Fall

My Niece, Emilia Grace on her Christening Day

It’s Labor Day. Where did the summer go?

No … Seriously, people. Where did it go?

Tomorrow all the kiddos in Detroit and its surrounding suburbs will officially all be back in school.  Which always prompts me to question … why didn’t I go into a career that allowed me to always have summers off?

I’m not ready for autumn … which, if today’s weather in Metro-Detroit is any indication (high of 64 degrees), means that I’m definitely not ready for the cooler climate. And, seeing that autumn has always been my favorite season is absolutely pitiful.

Maybe I need to re-think this whole “favorite season” deal.

Even the Lil Texan thought the MI weather was too hot last week!

After all, Hubby & I did survive the sweltering high-90 degree weather with 100% humidity of Orlando. Like we did the previous two days here in Detroit, which were just as hot and humid. All I need is a beach nearby with some nice soothing waves … and I’d be golden.

Okay, maybe not so much “golden” but more “bronze.” After all, I tan nice and brown … like most of us Filipinos do. But you get the point.

Yet seeing that Hubby & I live in the Midwest with (unfortunately) no plans to move to a warmer climate in the immediate future, I suppose I need to embrace what I’ve got in front of me.

So with that said, here’s my list of things I look forward to doing with Hubby this fall:

  1. Leaves changing brilliant hues of red and orange
  2. Freshly-made Apple Cider and warm doughnuts
  3. Haunted Houses and Hayrides
  4. A resurgence in my need to knit and crochet
  5. College Football  – GO BLUE!

How about you, oh Internets? What’s your plans for Fall?

Holding It Together

The last thing I needed to do was to drop all the keys into the kitchen drawer to the right of the stove. That was the directions given to us by the building manager. Hubby was heading out the front door to the apartment that we had been only partly living in over the past year.

Now the apartment was empty; all the furniture taken apart and stored in the rented Penske truck that caused such a major hassle earlier that morning. All of our belongings since moving to Chicago more that 2.5 years ago were now in boxes, also in the rental truck.

I couldn’t help but feel sad; feel like, once again, I was a failure. After all, I had moved to the city of Chicago in hopes of forging a new life for me outside of my suburban life in Michigan; outside of our families, who had now been inundated with babies and kids in general. The move came at a time when I needed it most; when the latest birth in the family had proven too much for me to deal with both physically and emotionally. I’m not proud of how I had acted  after the birth of Hubby’s niece, but (as much as I love her to pieces) I felt as if I was spiraling downward into the deep abyss of Infertility depression. Again.

So yes, moving to Chicago was a way to stop me from free-falling. It was a way for me to step back from Infertility and focus on something new. It was a way for me to look at my life from a different perspective without the emotional ties or memories of what had happened in Detroit since the day Hubby & I decided to start our own family. And now, I was moving back to the same place I had “escaped” from back in December of 2008.

Hubby noticed the sadness in my eyes as I headed to the front door after placing the keys in the kitchen drawer. “It’ll be alright,” he told me, placing his arm around my waist.

“Aren’t you even a little sad?,” I asked him knowing how much he loved Chicago. I would have thought that he would have been a bit melancholy over the whole move.

“We’re together,” Hubby told me. “And really, that’s all that matters.”

I knew he was right; after all, wherever Hubby is will always be home. Yet I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I would be moving back to those same emotional ties and memories that I had left behind. To be honest, it felt more like I’d be moving back to even more emotional memories, especially since I had lost my father less than 9 months prior. How would it feel to go home again? To see all the places I had been to while in the throws of Infertility treatments? To see family and friends again, many who still to this day ask us why we don’t have kids? To know that I had failed to give my parents … my Dad especially … any grandchildren? To know that the only grandchild my Mom has lives a thousand miles away?

I reflected on all these thoughts on the long drive east on I-94. As Hubby followed behind me in the Penske truck, I could feel myself slowly sinking into the deep abyss. After all, 2011 was supposed to be less emotionally stressful than last year … Especially since 2010 was far from stellar. Nothing could possibly top the year I got fired, dealt with another pregnancy in the family (this time much better than in 2008), took my career in a different direction, and unexpectedly lost my Dad (and not to mention a beloved fur baby within the same week).

But as easy as it would be to let the abyss swallow me whole, I knew I had to find the positives amongst all the negative. So while listening to the entire INXS back catalogue I tried to reflect on what Hubby & I accomplished in the short time we lived in the Windy City.

“We made it to Chicago,” I thought, knowing that we had always talked about moving there since our days in college. As much as we loved the Detroit area, we wanted to experience true urban living.

“We mastered public transportation.” I added that to list, knowing full well that growing up in the Motor City pretty much meant that everyone drove themselves around in their cars rather than utilize public transportation.

“Learned more about Chicago than just the Magnificent.” I chuckled at that one, since we loved heading into the various neighborhoods and exploring the intricacies of the city.

“Spent more time with my Chicago cousins,” I thought; grateful for this fact, especially since these were my Dad’s nieces … and none of us ever expected that Dad would be taken from all of us so quickly.

Then as my thoughts turned to family, I remembered the biggest positive that came out of Hubby’s and my short stint in Chicago. Of all the things that happened while we were living in this “Second City,” I had actually accomplished the one thing that I had set out to do when we first decided to move out of our hometown. We had finally separated ourselves from all the emotional baggage that came with Infertility and found our resolution to our journey. And while it wasn’t the outcome that either of us had hoped for when we set out to start our family 14 years ago, it was one that the two of us could live with.

“So what if there are days — like today, for example — that I’d still feel like a failure?,” I thought, as the sun finally began to set on that hot August evening. “At least we have each other.”

And all I could think of at that moment was Hubby’s words: “We’re together,” Hubby told me. “And really, that’s all that matters.”

A Song I Wish I Heard On The Radio

Day Eighteen – A Song I Wish I Heard On The Radio:

I was 13 when “Pretty In Pink” came out in the theaters. And I absolutely loved the movie and (of course) the soundtrack. It’s because of Andie that I dreamed of working at a record store when I was old enough to get a job. Lucky for me, I was able to fulfill that dream.

There’s also this idea that I had, thanks to “Pretty In Pink,” that — once I was old enough — I’d be able to get into bars and clubs (with the requisite fake ID) where I could sit and listen (or even dance) to all the alternative music I wanted.

Read more »

A Song That I Can Dance To

Day Nine – A Song That I Can Dance To:

I must embrace my Detroit Techno on this day. What else can get me up and dancing than some great solid beats and bass lines?

Although “Good Life” by Inner City was known and embraced as a good old Chicago House classic, the man behind the groove is a Detroit Native. In fact, Kevin Saunderson was known as one of the “Belleville Three” … a trio of artists credited with the invention of Detroit Techno.

Read more »

Forgive

Sidewalk Grafitti on the streets of Chicago. Took this shot from inside the car on a rainy day.

Thought this would be PERFECT for what’s supposed to be “The Rapture” …

30 Seconds at The Fillmore

Ticket To Ride

Almost a week without a post. Yes, I’m trying to get better at writing at least one post a week here. At least thats my goal.

As it turns out, I’m on a train heading back to Detroit from Chicago. Hubby and I drove back to Chicago in mid-March, but he had to get back to Detroit before I returned from my Boston work trip this past week. Anyway, this just means that I have a little window of opportunity to sit and write without being distracted.

Dr. Bro, LJC and me at Disneyworld

Being a “Road Warrior” for work has given me the opportunity to spend more time listening to music on my digital library. After all, many times I find myself in airports for just enough time to check my email, but not enough time respond to them. Or else I’m literally on the road driving to a location hours away from where I started. Either way, music is my constant companion at these times.

It’s refreshing for me, because music has always been part of my life. One that only recently re-entered at full force after years of focusing on a career. Or trying to get pregnant.

My parents always had music on in the house and in the car. In fact, many of those road trips we’d take as a family involved worn out cassette tapes or — gasp! — old 8-tracks.

One of my favorite memories is my first trip to Disneyworld at the age of 6. My parents packed my brother, my cousin (who would later be known as LJC) & me in our tan wood-paneled station wagon along with our two grandmothers and an uncle and drove down from Detroit to Orlando. During that trip, I believe my parents only took a handful of 8-tracks; ones that we would constantly repeat, only because we couldn’t get any radio reception when driving through the mountains.

Let’s just say that by the end of our trip, the three kids knew all the words to every Neil Sedaka song, as well as all the singing parts to the Grease soundtrack. And it’s apparently a memory that keeps on giving, because Hubby can attest that I was recently able to identify a Neil Sedaka tune!

Another 8-track that was in the wagon during that trip was one of many Beatles compilations that my Dad threw together. It was from that home-made “playlist” (created circa 1978) that I learned the words to most of the Beatles songs. And to this day, every time I hear “Ticket To Ride” I have this incredible urge to belt out the song.

The 1978 Road Warriors (minus Mom)

It’s one of those childhood memories I keep stored close to my heart. And one that usually surfaces whenever I hear any song that reminds me of road trips and spontaneous singing.

For instance: Today on the train, “Tiny Dancer” came  up in “shuffle-mode.” The first image that came to mind was my favorite scene in “Almost Famous.”

Or the other day I thought of “Harold & Kumar” when hearing Wilson Phillips “Hold On” on the radio.

Regardless of the song, each one brought me back to my own road trip memories and how much fun they were when music was thrown into the mix. And hearing each song certainly gave me the urge to break out into spontaneous singing. Loudly. And at the top of my lungs.

And, in the midst of the chaos that my life has become of late … It made me happy.

So even though I might not be an American Idol contestant, I think I might just sing aloud. At least in the privacy of my own home. Or car. Or shower.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Your turn, oh Internets … What song makes you think of road trips? Or what song makes you break out your singing voice?

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Related Posts:

Emily’s Living Journal

Emily hears her Own Voice

Emily’s Pitch is a little Black

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Oh, how I miss our old station wagon ...

Home = Heart

In the midst of traveling between Chicago and Detroit, I wrote a quick Twitter/Facebook status update:

Anybody else ever feel “homesick” even though you’re technically “home”? Because that’s how I’m feeling right about now.

~*~*~

Seattle 2010; our last trip with Dad

I made that statement mainly because I had been sorely missing my Dad at that moment. Hubby & I were back in Detroit with the intention of being available for my Mom as she began packing for a three-week trip back to the Philippines. I intended to drive her to the airport the day of the trip, but, as it turned out, I had to be out of town for work. So instead, my Hubby — the awesome man that he is — took her to the airport.

The Monday before I left for my out-of-town business, Mom and I had a chance to spend the day together. We had lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, followed by a mani/pedi at a local salon.

I should add that, while I know most women are “close” to their mothers, my Mom & and I have never really had that type of “girly-girl” relationship. My Mom was my mother;. She was the authority figure of my childhood. And even though I’m a grown up now and can make my own decisions, I do take into consideration her opinion — even though I may not always follow it.

After the funeral (and after the rest of the world returned to “normal”) I found myself wanting to be closer to Mom. Partly because I wanted to share my grief with her: I wanted to be with someone who could understand the loss of a person I loved dearly.

The other part was because I just didn’t want my Mom to feel so alone. After all, Dr. Bro had Dr. SIL and Emilia Grace. And me? I had my wonderful Hubby; the sole person that has been able to hold me up and keep me together. But my Mom now had no one. And if — God forbid — I had been the one to lose my spouse, I know that I’d be utterly devastated; completely undone.

~*~*~

Photo of the 'rents, using the QuadCamera App on my iPhone

~*~*~

So yes, that is the reason why the day before I flew out of town (and three days before my Mom left for the Philippines), we found ourselves at the salon getting our nails done. Afterwards, I helped her with some other mundane tasks around the house, all the while dreading our good bye. I knew that when I hugged and kissed her for the night, it would be the last time I’d be able to do so for the next three weeks.

Alas, the time had come and I couldn’t put it off any longer. After all, I myself still had to pack for my business trip the next day. So as I kissed and hugged her, I told her to be safe and have fun. This trip was planned months before my Dad’s passing … and it was meant to be a trip full of reunions with her high school and university classmates. And I encouraged her, as always, to call me if she needed anything.

As she hugged me back, she said, “I wish you were coming with me.” And in that instance, I really wish I was. But before either of us could get teary-eyed in front of each other, I stepped out the garage door and waved at her once more as the door began to close.

My car wasn’t even at the end of the street when I called her on my cell phone. “I’m just a phone call away,” I told her once again. And, in between her tears I could barely hear her say, “I know.”

I cried the whole 15-minute car ride back to my Detroit home.

~*~*~*~

Later that evening, I thought about what it was like to be back in Detroit: back “home”, where I met and married Hubby. The same place where we bought our first home; where we suffered through more than 10 years of infertility.

And I thought about where I had been earlier today: my childhood home. The backyard where I learned to climb trees. The driveway where I learned to ride a bike. And I thought about my childhood bedroom (which is now my Mom’s “computer room”) and the countless memories I had growing up in that house.

And I felt absolutely homesick.

Picture of our 1st Home with Dad and Kozzy as a pup

I wanted to be that child again. I wanted to be at that home, babysitting my younger cousins; playing hide and seek in our 70’s-decorated, finished basement. I wanted to break out my old turn-table and blast out some ’80’s 12-inch vinyl remixes and just dance to my heart’s content. I wanted to play the piano again and pretend I could still be a member of some world-famous rock band. I wanted to be under a blanket on the couch reading a silly book I had checked out of the library.

Most of all, what I wanted was to be under the same roof as my Mom. And my Dad.

I know that’s no longer possible. My Mom … well, despite being worse for wear (what, with the loss of her spouse and all) truly needs her own space to grieve. She no longer needs to “take care” of her adult kids.

And my Dad … well, he’s simply no longer here on this earth.

But my Husband is here; and he’s been here for me through everything that I’ve been through for (close to) 15 years. And in reality, I know that — regardless of whether we’re in Chicago or Detroit — Hubby is my home.

And I couldn’t be more grateful.

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