Detroit

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.

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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.

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30 Seconds at The Fillmore

Sabbatical

Almost a week and nary a post. <sigh> When did life suddenly get so busy?

But before I go babbling on about shtuff, I want to send a great big THANK YOU for all the wonderful birthday wishes I got last week. It truly means the world that I have friends, both IRL and online, that care so much for me.

I must admit, Hubby & I started celebrating my birthday the Friday before the holiday; kicking it off with SIL’s birthday in Detroit. Since the two of us (SIL & me) share birthdays exactly two days before and after America’s Birthday, we have tended to celebrate our birthdays in some combined manner; typically either on the Fourth of July or on her actual birthday. So yeah, we ended up at lunch with Hubby’s side of the family and exchanged gifts at that time.

And because I had been dying to get into the water again (one day at the beach two weeks ago was obviously not enough), I twisted Hubby’s arm by dragging him to the local waterpark in suburban Detroit. We lost track of time, spending close to four hours of swimming in the wave pool and floating down the lazy river … and it was wonderful!

My only complaint? When did my 38 year old body begin to need an hour nap after spending that much time in the water? Geesh … I can remember spending hours and hours in a pool and STILL have enough energy to stay up all night during the summers.

But after a wonderful nap that Saturday, I got to spend some quality time with my youngest cousins (Dad’s side); taking them to Mexican Village downtown Detroit and driving them around to show them more than the relatively non-diverse suburbs of Southeast Michigan. (Think old Detroit Train Station … ) Yeah, I think we opened their eyes to the tragic beauty of Detroit.

Original Exterior and Interior of the Detroit Train Station
(Michigan Central Station)

Current Exterior and Interior of our Tragically Beautiful Train Station

On my actual birthday, Hubby & I were back in Chicago. My Mom tagged along with us to meet up with some of her university friends (from back in the Philippines! In the early-to-mid 1960’s!) It was a very hot and humid day, but we managed to have lots of fun at the Art Institute of Chicago (my Mom’s a BIG Van Gogh fan) and at Millenium Park. We had lots of fun taking pictures next to and underneath “The Bean.” Afterwards, we hit a Chinese Restaurant closer to our apartment and ate dim sum along with the traditional Noodles that each person should eat on their birthday (it represents Long Life).

So yes … that’s what I’ve been up to this past week. That … and doing some website stuff for one of Hubby’s friend (and getting paid for it … woo-hoo!).

Oh, and did I forget to tell you that I got a job?! Not just any job … the traveling job that I had been wanting! Woo-frickin’-hoo!! The only downfall is that I’m not going to be able to start until the end of August. Which means … yeah, still no major cash flow into our bank account.

The upside to it all? (Other than actually being able to say that I’m technically no longer unemployed … ) Now I can tell people that I’ve decided to take the summer off for a sabbatical! Tee-hee!

Again, thanks for your birthday wishes AND thanks for all the good vibes and prayers y’all sent my way in regards to my job search. You guys are AWESOME!

Careless Memories

My Favorite D2 album

In the past two months, Hubby & I have spent more weekends in Detroit than we had here in Chicago. That’s the most we’d been home since the beginning of the year.

Needless to say, we’ve been listening to a lot of good tunes in our digital library during five-plus hour drive home.

Lately I’ve been on a Duran Duran kick; thanks to Hubby downloading their entire digital library. And it’s been fun singing Rio and Hungry Like The Wolf at the top of my lungs somewhere between Battle Creek and Jackson. But I must admit, I’ve been playing their first studio album more than the others.

It’s that album, simply titled Duran Duran, that reminds me of being 12 years old again and camping in Kitchener Ontario with my cousins. Where we’d play that cassette tape over and over again, most likely driving our parents insane.

It’s fun listening to the songs that never made it to the radio; those B-sides or other non-single-worthy ones. (Night Boat, anyone?) It’s like going back to visit an old friend and reminiscing about old times. Remembering how things were back in those days.

Duran Duran’s first studio album was very … New Wave. Lots of synth and distorted guitar; awesome awesome bass lines and — as I listen to it more and more — some incredibly complicated drumming.

Not that I don’t like the rest of their albums … I just wonder what it would’ve been like if they stayed in that New Wave sound, rather than heading to a more Pop-oriented direction. Perhaps they wouldn’t be as mainstream. Perhaps they would have never hit it big. Who knows?

I had that thought in my head since our drive back to Chicago last week. And that thought lead to another one which had me contemplating a couple “What If’s” in my own life.

Now, I must clarify before I head down this path … I typically don’t do this; travel down the road of “Shoulda, Coulda , Woulda.” Especially since I’m usually pretty deliberate about the choices I make in life.  (Well, at least I am now … ) So what I’m about to write below, is more of a … dream sequence, if you will.

*****

A "New Romantic" Duran Duran

When Hubby & I got back from our honeymoon, we started house-hunting. After seeing quite a number of houses, we finally narrowed it down to two. One was closed to both our places of employment and perfect as a “starter home.” It was only built two years prior; and it had more of a modern feel to it with open ceilings and skylights. It was one we thought would be easy to resell if we needed to move to a bigger place once we had our kids. But for the time-being, it would have been a perfect two-story home for the two of us.

The second home was older and a bit further from our work places. It a ranch-style home with bigger bedrooms and a finished basement. It had a large kitchen and dining room where we could see having family gatherings. Oh, and the best part (at least for me)? In-ground pool in the back yard (it’s the Cancer in me that looooves water!!). This was a house that was was ready for a family; ready for a couple to start their family.

So, out of the two … which one do you think that Hubby & I chose? I’ll even give you a couple seconds to think about it.

.

.

.

.

We chose the first house. Well, rather *I* chose the first house; Hubby defaulted on me to make the decision.

To me, it made more logical sense. Close to work. Easy to sell (so we thought at the time). And perfect as a “starter” home. Oh, and not to mention quite a bit less in price than the second house.

And I truly did love our house. It was funky; it was cute. And it was close to two “downtown” locales where we could hang out on a nice sunny day.

Except now it’s been close to 14 years — not to mention a move to a different city — and the house remains ours. There had been no need to “upgrade” to a bigger house since the kids never came. Nor was there the finances to do so, after all the infertility treatments we had paid for. And when the opportunity to move to a different city amidst the economic downfall of 2009, our house remained (remains) in our name.

So this is where I start to wonder “What if.”

As in “What if I chose the second house? Would we still be living in Suburban Detroit? Would we have had no reason to move to another house … let alone another city? Would we have those children we always wanted? Would Hubby & I have stayed in the same jobs … or better yet, move up in our respective careers? Or, better yet … would I have finally been able to be that stay-at-home Mom that I always wanted to be?

*****

My Cousin got to meet JT back in the late '80's. Totally jealous!

At the end of August, our lease will be up on our 2nd floor walk-up in Chicago. With Hubby freelancing and diligently working at trying get financially vested in a “virtual” ad agency that he & two others have started … well, the income hasn’t been too steady and reliable.

And me … well, let’s just say I’m still unemployed. For now. Which means that I have no income coming in at the moment. (Cross your fingers that I’ll not be unemployed for much longer!)

In any case, this means that our stay here in Chicago may be time-limited. Although not completely set in stone (things change from day to day), it looks like we’ll be moving back to the house in Suburban Detroit. The same house that contains many of those memories that I hoped to put away once we moved to Chicago.

Realistically we know that it makes sense to move back and regroup, so to speak, until our house sells. But emotionally … I feel as  if I’ve failed in my goal to start anew.

I know it’s futile to think of what could have been; especially if things didn’t turn out the way they did here in Chicago (in regards to my employment). And I know that my life experiences and the decisions I’ve made in my life have made me the person I am today.

But sometimes … just sometimes … I wish that I could peer into my future so that I can make the right decisions now.

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(Just for you, Kara … )

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Emily Admits to her First Groupie Love

Split

Like the current Stanley Cup Finals series, the ApronStrings Household is split.

For those that aren’t sports nuts like the two of us, that means that the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers are both tied with two wins apiece after Game Four in the seven-game series.

Not that I mean to say that Hubby & I are at odds with one another … well, at least when it comes to our relationship. Rather, we’re at odds when it comes to cheering on which hockey team we think should win the coveted Cup.

I should start off by saying that, first and foremost, I will always cheer for my hometown Detroit Red Wings wherever we live. But since they failed to make it to the finals this year … I had no choice but to choose an “adopted” team.

I should also add here that if I had my druthers … and if the Red Wings weren’t going to make the Finals … I would have absolutely loved to see two different teams vying for the Cup this season. And those two teams would have been the Vancouver Cannucks and the Montreal Canadiens. To me, it only seems fitting that the year Canada won Gold in a Canadian Olympics, then they should also deserve to have Stanley return home … at least for the year.

And yes, Mrs. Spit. I know this would have made you very very happy, also. 🙂

Instead now, Hubby & I find ourselves — for the first time in our married lives — rooting against each other. Him cheering for a team, simply because they’re considered the underdogs of the series. And me cheering for a team, for the mere fact that this team’s town has become my adopted town.

Hubby cheers for his team, simply because his opposing team has long-been rivals of the Detroit Red Wings. While I cheer for my team because it’s been 47 years since this team has won the Stanley Cup.

Either way, it’s been fun watching the series with Hubby. And it’s definitely made watching the NHL’s “second season” much more interesting.

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Meet Al the Octopus; the Detroit Red Wings mascot. For Wing Nuts, like ourselves, throwing octopi onto the ice during Playoff Season is a long-standing tradition for the Red Wings Franchise.

As for how Al got his name … he was named after Al Sobotka, the general building manager for Joe Louis Arena; and the wonderful soul that picks up every thrown octopi and twirls it over his head.

Sidelined

Hubby & I "backstage" at Movement 2007

Ugh. So much for making it down to Movement this year. Nope; instead I woke up Saturday morning feeling craptastic … which led to an entire holiday weekend of coughing and congestion. Boo.

Hubby & I did end up making it to the premiere of The Drive Home on Friday night, though. And it was absolutely wonderful.

And since I’m still not feeling a hundred percent better yet, methinks I’ll send you over to Hubby’s blog to read about it. All I have to say is that watching this movie reminded me of why I’m still proud to call myself a Detroiter.

If you’re interested in watching some interesting facts about Detroit Techno and the history leading up to the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000, click here.

Oh, and Hubby’s review? Click here.

That’s it for now. *cough cough*

See you when I feel better. *blows nose*

*Mutters, “I do have snots for brains … *

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