Movies

How I Spent Mother’s Day

In years past, Mother’s Day would have been a difficult day. Yesterday was less difficult than the previous years; less traumatic.

I contribute it to the fact that Hubby & I weren’t physically “in town” to celebrate Mother’s Day with our respective Moms and his sister. Not that I didn’t like going out, typically for brunch, every second Sunday in May … it’s just that the day has always been a painful reminder of what I’ve never achieved in life.

I mean seriously; even at Mass. Any Catholic Church I had ever gone to on Mother’s Day always always always have all the mothers and pregnant woman stand up before the closing prayer to pray over them. And every year, I would glance around the church to see which women remained seated like me.

Don’t get me wrong … such a prayer is much deserved for all the under-appreciated hard work and unconditional love that a Mom provides to their children. But for every year that I was not “included” in these prayers, the less I felt “connected” to those women who would stand proudly as they received these blessing. The less I felt as if I were a part of that “sisterhood.”

Hubby, the "Cat Burglar"

The less I felt blessed amongst other women.

This year, Hubby & I spent Mother’s Day in Chicago; opting to call both sets of Moms and wish them the Happiest of Mother’s Days. And afterward, settled down on our couch to watch a marathon of movies on TV, starting with “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”** and ending with “Sweet Home Alabama.”

And this year, instead of getting all weepy over the twenty zillion Mother’s Day commercials that ran during the TV breaks, Hubby & I would have fun poking at the sometimes fake sentiment that these ads would portray.

This year, as Hubby & I sat on our couch, feeling completely unmotivated to do much but cook meals and take our puppy-girl on an extended walk to the beach, I felt completely blessed .

Because although I remain separated from the ever-elusive “Mommy” Sisterhood … I know I’m blessed with an incredible Husband and parents/siblings, as well as 3 four-legged creatures that look to me as their Mom.

So yeah … that’s my small victory for the day. I turned my Mother’s Day Frown upside down. (Pretty positive for a currently unemployed person, eh?)

Me, surrounded with two of my three furbabies

** LOVE that film. And check out what star, Nia Vardalos, says about her experiences as an infertile on Mother’s Day.

Hubby with Rain (Yami's on the window sill and Kozzy's on her rug next to Hubby)

Pretty Asleep

Quickie entry for a Friday night. Since Hubby has an all-day conference downtown tomorrow, I’ve stupidly decided to go into work. Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Truth be told, I’m trying to get things done on a day where I’m not being constantly interrupted. As it is, it appears that the next month will be insane. And since I’d have the run of the office with no one there to bother me … why not take advantage of some peace and quiet?

So without further ado, here’s my daily activities for Lent.

Good Deed for the Day: Poor Hubby’s been working double-time lately. He’s been so busy this past week that he’s been up until the wee hours of the morning and yet still managed to wake up to get me to work on time. So the very least I could do was take his usual turn to walk our Kozzy-girl tonite just so he could take a bit of a snooze until he gets up again for another round of work.

Thankful Thought of the Day: Sleep. Right now I’m so thankful it’s time to sleep. Yeah … lame, I know. But it appears that the older I get, the more of it I need.

And since I just watched “Pretty In Pink” this evening, let me leave you with this wonderful quote that Iona said about growing old:

“Why can’t we start off old and grow young?”

Boy, Lost.

Today a Lost Boy died.

It’s sad to know that more people … more celebrities around my age are dying. First there was Brittany Murphy, who died from complications stemming from pneumonia and a history of a heart murmur. Then there was Andrew Koenig, “Boner” of “Growing Pains” fame, who died under mysterious circumstances. And now Corey Haim from an apparent drug overdose.

Corey Haim’s death hits a little close to home for a couple of reasons. One is that he is the same age as I am. Now, mind you, I don’t have any drug addictions and probably other medical conditions associated with chronic drug use, but the fact that a celebrity my age has died … well, that just makes me feel less and less invincible; which is very much unlike in my early 20’s, when River Phoenix died at the age of 23.

But the main reason I’m actually mourning the death of pretty much a washed-up ‘80’s teen star is that one of his movies happens to be an all-time favorite of mine. It was the teen vampire movie before any of those Twilight movies. Well, unless you count that one Jim Carrey movie back in 1985 …

Hearing about Corey Haim’s death had me wondering about the other actors in the Lost Boys. So I ended up doing a little IMDb research to see what the other Lost Boys were up to. Sadly, most of the other actors (with the exception of one… ) did not, in my opinion anyway, have much commercial success outside of the 80’s and 90’s.

So yeah … here’s what I found:

  • Jason Patric (Michael): Oh boy, do I ever remember my 15-year old heart crushing on Jason. But then he kinda fell off the face of the earth … until 1997, when he starred opposite of Sandra Bullock in Speed 2.
  • Jami Gertz (Star): Oh, how I wanted to be Star in the movie … I wanted to be the glamorous Boho chick that Michael fell in love with. Of course, the only other movie I can remember her in is 1996’s Twister.
  • Edward Hermann (Max, the head vampire): You know … I remember many silly movies that Edward Hermann starred in over the years … he’s definitely one of those character actors. But for me, Edward will always be the Richard Gilmore, father of Lorelai Gilmore in one of my favorite TV shows of all time, The Gilmore Girls.
  • Dianne Wiest (Lucy, mom to Michael and Sam): Is it sad that the only other movies I can remember Dianne starring in (besides a couple Woody Allen films) is as the mom of Winona Ryder’s character in Edward Scissorhands?
  • Barnard Hughes (Grandpa): Here’s definitely one fact I didn’t know … apparently Blossom (as in the TV show) and Michael & Sam shared the same grandfather!
  • Alex Winter (vampire Marko): Out of the two“lackey” vampires (David excluded), Alex is the only one that ever went on to anything remotely successful following the Lost Boys. Oh yes … he went on to star opposite of Keaunu Reeves in non other than Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Whoa!
  • Jamison Newlander (Alan Frog): He’s the lesser known of the Frogg brothers. As for films following the Lost Boys? Next to nil. BUT … he will be seen in the THIRD film in the Lost Boys series, Lost Boys: The Thirst. Apparently he was in the second film, but his scenes got cut. Ouch.
  • Kiefer Sutherland (David): Oh geez, hands down the most successful actor in the motley crew that is the Lost Boys. Let’s see … he’s done LOTS of films following this movie and has pretty much kept busy up to this decade. Most famously known as Jack Bauer from the TV show 24. BUT … do you remember his high profile engagement to Julia Roberts? And how the wedding was canceled three days beforehand? And how Julia ran off with his “best man” … who just happened to be … da da da dum … Jason Patric?! Yeah, I figured you might have!

And finally, last but certainly not least …

  • Corey Feldman (Edgar Frog): The other half of the “Two Coreys” and costar with Corey Haim (and Heather Graham as Mercedes) in License To Drive. But I also have fond memories of Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland starring in Stand By Me, with none other than River Phoenix. (Funny how they all run in the same circles … ) The most recent film I saw him in was in Lost Boys: The Tribe. And yes, he’ll also be reprising his Edgar Frog role in Lost Boys: The Thirst. Let’s just hope it’s not as cheesy as The Tribe was …

Anyway, thanks for the stroll down memory lane. And seeing as I don’t have a copy of the original Lost Boys in my film collection, I might have to go out an buy it!

RIP, Corey Haim. Hopefully you’re no longer “lost”

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Every Day Lenten Activities

Every Day Good Deed: Today was another one of those days where I simply just sat and listened to a coworker vent about her frustrations in her personal life; sometimes offering my perception of a particular situation when asked. Sometimes I wonder if that’s just my nature to be a listener and to be an empathetic set of ears … or if I really am doing a good deed. But I suppose if whatever I do offers the other person comfort … I’d like to count it as a good deed.

Every Day Gratitude: Today I’m thankful for the fact that my hard work over the past year has been recognized. In an economic situation where most people struggle to find a job (and keep one), I consider myself lucky to have gotten a merit increase in my salary this year. G*d must know how much we need that little boost!

Well that’s it for the night … I’m obviously not any type of vampire, because I just can’t seem to keep my eyes open.

Mad as a Milliner

There’s a good portion of me that believes I’m mad. Not mad, as in angry … Rather mad, as in crazy.

And I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing either.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently saw “Alice in Wonderland” with Hubby and our friend, J. And as we usually do after seeing a movie, we went out to eat so we could discuss our review of the movie.

While all of us agreed that the movie had some stunning visuals a la-Tim Burton style, we varied in our overall assessment in the movie. But, as I know that Hubby and J will likely write their own review of “Alice in Wonderland” … I’ll stick to my own review.

Simply put, I love pretty much all Tim Burton films. Well, except for “The Corpse Bride” and that’s only because I haven’t seen it yet. All of the movies have a certain charm to them, with characters that you can’t help but like.

“Alice in Wonderland” also has this bit of charm; Helena Bonham-Carter is excellent as the Queen of Hearts … I love that she’s this wicked queen with insecurity issues and a need to be loved. And Alice? Well I just totally fell in love with her. She’s smart. She’s brave. And she’s a little “mad” herself.

However, the movie has a few shortcomings; things that kill me to admit… While I love Johnny Depp’s performance of the Mad Hatter, I just didn’t get a good sense of character development. The same goes for Anne Hathaway’s White Queen.** But who knows? Maybe the DVD/Blu-Ray release will reveal more scenes that were cut from the final version of the film.

And while the ending is predictable (which movies aren’t anymore?), it would have been nice to see … or rather feel … more trepidation or angst leading up to the finale. And as much as it pains me to say this … There’s this bit part at the end involving the Mad Hatter that just seems altogether strange; at least in the anticlimactic timing of it.

Yet despite these shortcomings, it’s the overall message that this film provides that has me loving this film. In particular, it’s the opening scene that stole my heart.

This scene begins with Alice’s father passionately discussing the expansion of his “business,” outlining a trade route that, to his investors, sounded like an impossible feat. As he does this, he notices a young Alice in the doorway of his office. It’s late at night and Alice apparently woke up from a nightmare. So Alice’s dad excuses himself and brings Alice back up to her room and tucks her back in, all while Alice tells him about her strange nightmare that involved a talking rabbit and a mischievously grinning cat. Afterwards, she asks her father whether or not she’s gone mad. In which, her father touches her forehead and says, “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers.”

“But I’ll tell you a secret,” Alice’s father adds, while Alice looked at him completely stunned. “All the best people are.”

It’s this message that gets carried throughout this film; the perception that Alice should not have to settle in life. Nor that she should be afraid to believe in herself. Whether it’s about accepting a marriage proposal to someone she doesn’t love … or whether it’s about believing that she is smart and brave in every day life. It’s about believing that she can be a little “bonkers” but still be strong.

And that’s the part of the movie that I can best relate to. That sometimes the craziest moments in life can also be the most rewarding.

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Daily Lenten Good Deed: Nothing beats finding money on the floor. Of course, if you just happen to see who dropped it … and that person wasn’t aware of the missing moolah … who’d know that it was you that took it? My conscience would. Which is why I did what any good person would do, which was let the person know that his cash had dropped out of his pocket.

 

Hubby is *MY* Mad Hatter!

Daily Lenten Thanks: After spending a weekend away from my other furbabies*** … I always miss them something fierce by the time I return home to them. And their constant need to cuddle with me for the first couple of days afterwards tells me that they missed me too. Today I’m so thankful I’ve got these two  furballs that provide me with all the unconditional love their little kitty hearts can give.

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** Although I admit that I’ve never completely read Lewis Carroll’s series of books on Alice; nor have I watched any movie versions. So maybe this is why I feel the lack of character development in this movie.

*** Because the third furbaby, Kozzy, always gets to come along on the five-hour car rides to and from Detroit.

Blades of Glory

The 2010 Olympic Mascots

I admit it. I totally love watching the Olympics; and particularly the Winter Games. Oh, don’t get me wrong … I love the Summer Games, too (particularly any of the swimming events). However, there’s something about the danger of any of the Winter events that makes it more … thrilling.

I mean, even Pairs Figure Skating can be dangerous; as I’ve imagined various scenarios of ice blades or toe picks landing on places that they shouldn’t be. Especially as one of the pairs actually had such a nasty incident back in 2007.

And take a look at the Georgian luger, Nodar Kumaritashvili. Even though I don’t endorse looking at any of the videos of the crash … for those that have seen it, it’s just simply horrific. I just feel for his family and for his fellow competing countrymen.

Anyway, last night I watched the beginning of the Men’s Figure Skating competition. And as Hubby & I listened to some of the commentary while watching the French skater, Florent Amodio and the Canadian skater, Vaughn Chipeur perform, both of us could not stop giggling. Simply because it reminded us so much of some of the “commentary” done on the movie “Blades of Glory.”

Let me explain.

Jon Heder’s character is Jimmy MacElroy. He’s a very … for lack of better description … “feminine” male skater. And in the movie, “video interview” goes a little something like this:

“He’s a child of privilege. A classic skater, defined by elegance, precision, and the ability to endure great pain. He was plucked from an orphanage at age 4 by billionaire champion-maker, Darren MacElroy. Once a breeder of some of the most successful racehorses in the world, Darren had turned his attention to nurturing athletically advanced human orphans. His ultimate find came in the form of skating wonderkid, Jimmy.”

Uh huh; incredibly cheesy. And then there’s Amodio. As he skated, the commentator gave us his biography:

“… found on the streets of Brazil and eventually adopted as a young infant by a French couple. He started skating at age four when long-time coach Bernard Glesser discovered him in a public skating session.”

Then there’s Will Ferrell’s character, Chazz Michael Michaels. He’s a very skilled skater, but too much of a rebel. Chazz’s biography in the movie goes a little like this:

“At age twelve, Chazz escaped a life of running cigarettes and illegal fireworks by becoming a star in Detroit’s underground sewer skating scene. The only skater to win four national championships and an adult film award, which is not to say this ruffian heartthrob doesn’t have a softer side. He recently published a book of poetry, ‘Let Me Put My Poems In You.'”

Uh yeah. Too frickin’ funny … I especially enjoyed the whole “nod” to Detroit. Then the commentary on Vaughn Chipeur:

“He likes cars. He likes loud music and rock ‘n’ roll. And he’s got the same style on the ice. He’s strong, athletic and macho, which is a refreshing. He’s found a style that suits what he likes. The audience really responds to it, and now the judges are responding to it, which is great.”

Oh … come on . Y’all have to see a little similarity there, don’t you?!

Anyway, the whole point of this post wasn’t to poke at Men’s Figure Skating. Quite honestly, I do enjoy watching the men skate as well. I just simply enjoy a male figure skater who is athletic, yet graceful. But not so graceful that it looks too … dainty.

No, the point of this post is more about how much I love the concept of the Olympic Games. I love how all these various nations can gather together in the spirit of comraderie and competition. How individuals who represent their country can still cheer for their fellow athlete. And really, isn’t that what sports are supposed to be about? Competing for a title, yet still respecting the sport?

Yami cuddles with Quatchi, one of the Olympic Mascots

In US sports today, I can’t say that’s a 100% true. Especially when we live in a country obsessed with “superstars.” Not saying that all super-athletes have no respect for their game … in fact, there are some professional sports out there, like Hockey, that still seem to respect the game. I’m just saying that sometimes other material things (<cough>money <cough>) get in the way of that respect.

So that’s what’s refreshing about the Olympics for me. Sometimes it’s not even about cheering for my country (although, with that said … Go USA!), it’s about cheering for everyone that has even made it to the games.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

Oh, and sorry … I have just one more dig at Men’s Figure Skating. Some of these costumes are ridiculous! Foremost is Johnny Weir’s “Rock the Tassle” black unitard with pink trim.

But the one that *got* me the most was the outfit AND music used by the Italian skater, Samuel Contesti. Not only was he dressed in jean overalls (conveniently “shaped” in the “right spots), but he skated to a very rockabilly-blues song by the J. Geils Band.

It just seems odd that an Italian man should be wearing a very “hillbilly outfit” while skating to a very American song. Very truly a “Starbust Contradiction” …

Walt in the World?!

My cousin, who otherwise loves the Disney Channel, recently made a comment about how Disney hates Asians. She commented on how many of the Asian actresses or cartoon characters on this network tend to be portrayed as either b*tchy or ditzy. Well, other than Mulan, that is.

And even though my cousin might disagree, I do think Lilo (from “Lilo & Stitch”) can technically be considered an Asian. Because … and follow along with me here … The Philippine Islands are located in the Pacific ocean. Therefore, Filipinos are considered Pacific Islanders and are lumped into the “Asian/Pacific Islander” category (as “dictated” by the US Census Bureau). And seeing as if the Hawaiian Islands are in the Pacific …

Yeah, so that’s my logic in explaining Lilo’s Asian-ness …

But my cousin’s comment reminded me of something that was pointed out to me by one of Hubby’s cousins last summer on our trip to Disneyworld. While at Mickey’s Toontown Fair, we stumbled upon one of the biggest mass-marketing stores inside the Magic Kingdom. Inside this store were rows and rows of toys from various movies. One entire section was dedicated to the Disney Princesses.

What Hubby’s cousin pointed out to us was this:

308

Rather inconspicuous, don’t you think? I mean really … Snow White, Belle, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty in one package. Princess Jasmine, Ariel, Mulan and Pocahontes in a separate package.

The “Classic Princesses” (although, I question if Belle, created in 1991, is considered a “classic”) in one set, at eye level on the shelves. And the rather “unique” Princesses (an Arabian Princess, a Redheaded Mermaid, a “China Doll” and an American Indian Princess) in another set, located at waist level on the shelf below.

To me, it’s one of those things that make you go “Hmmmm ….”

Anyhoo, going back to my cousin’s initial comment … the reason I’m writing about this topic is because I’ve often felt the same thing about the way that American mass media portrays Asians. And specifically Asian-American females. It seems as if we’re perceived as being one or the other.

Yeah ... Lilo is a "Pacific Islander"

Yeah … Lilo is a “Pacific Islander”

Bitchy or subservient.

Intelligent or ditzy.

Foreign-born or Adopted.

As an American-born and bred Filipina (and even for those that may have been born “abroad” but spent there formative years growing up in the US), this is a rather annoying (and not to mention incorrect) observation that has not often been voiced aloud.

I can’t tell you how many people have asked when my Hubby (who is also Filipino) and I moved to the US. And did we marry each other before moving here? Or did we marry after one of us became a US citizen? (The answer is NO for both questions, btw … we met in high school here and subsequently married here six years after we started dating.)

And while I’m on the same subject, I can’t tell you how many of my Asian girlfriends who married “non-Asians” have been told by others that they thought they were “mail order brides.” Just because they married outside of their culture.

Or how about when I was working at the beside as a Registered Nurse in a hospital setting? I found myself taking care of many American Vets who served in either WWII or the Korean/Vietnam wars. And many times, I was told that they could “never understand” me because my Chinese / Vietnamese / Korean / Japanese accent was “too strong.” Even though I speak perfectly clear English with my hometown Midwestern accent.

I could go on and on. Like my first job at a local fast food establishment; where my boss thought that Asians were “too smart for their own good” and should not be allowed to work the cash registers. Or even this incident, mentioned in one of my much earlier blog post. But then it would seem as if I’m merely “complaining.”

The truth is, I hope that others would see that not all Asian women fit into any one stereotype. That we are all unique, just like every other woman out there. That like every Disney Princess out there, we want to be recognized for the unique strengths we can offer to this world … regardless of how we physically see our “outer” reflections in the mirror.

And so, to bring it all back to Disney … here’s a song from one of my favorite movies of all time; one that sometimes hits closer to home than I’d like it to.

Emily Goes Stalkerazzi

293Oh yes. The day has come.

The day where Emily takes being a fan to another level. And becomes a fanatic.

But d*mn, was it worth it!

Let me paint the picture. As I’m busy at work earlier in the morning, preparing for a day chalk-ful of meetings and more meetings, I receive a phone call from Hubby.

“I know where you need to be later tonite,” Hubby tells me. And as I question him why, he tells me, “You need to be at the AMC River East tonite.”

“Because … ??”

“Because it’s the premiere of ‘Public Enemies‘ and Johnny Depp and Christian Bale are supposed to be there.”

“Really?!,” I just about screamed, as my cubicle neighbor looked up from shuffling songs on his iPod.

294“Really,” Hubby confirms.

And so that’s all I needed to hear. Hubby, the awesome husband that he is, met me after work and accompanied me to the downtown movie theatre off of Illinois Street in Chicago. And there, on the barricaded street, we waited along with the thousands of other fans.

Patience finally paid off as we started to see unmarked black SUV’s pull into the street. And a few moments later, we began to hear screams from the crowd. First Christian Bale came out to the crowd to sign some autographs. Then, after more screaming and a walk down the red carpet to the media tent … my man, Johnny Depp hit the street. And walked down to greet his fans.

Lucky me, happened to be towards the very end of the street where Johnny decided to begin his trip. And also lucky for me, I managed to be up against the barricade.

Oh yes, girls. I got face-to-face, up close and personal to the one celebrity my awesome husband once gave me permission to leave him for.

295As Johnny was about three fans away from me, I tried to help this tween-age girl move up to see Johnny and get his autograph. But then the crowd around us pushed us up against the barricade. Johnny happened to notice that and paused in front of us long enough to make sure she was okay before signing her book. Then as he looked at me through those blue-tinted sunglasses, he reached out and squeezed my arm.

Seriously, people. If Johnny asked me to run off with him to a faraway island at that very moment, I wouldn’t have given a second thought. (Sorry, Hubby. But you did give me permission … )

But of course, we all know Johnny wouldn’t have done that. And in reality, I could never leave the incredible man that is my husband. Because even though he doesn’t own a Caribbean island and make millions of dollars like Johnny does … I am absolutely in love with my Hubby; the one man who allows me to go all Stalkerazzi and still loves me for who I am.

And now, for your enjoyment (and mine) …


The Inexplicable Feeling of Loss

I fully admit it. I’m addicted to watching certain tween shows. HSM? Loved it … have such a crush on Z.ac Ef.ron that just seem so …. wrong. (But then I think of D.emi and As.hton and go, “Hmmm ….”) Li.zzie McGu.ire (especially the movie)? Yep, like that too. So it was no surprise to Hubby when I told him I wanted to see Ha.nnah Mon.tana: The Movie. (Hey, what can I say? Being the music chick I was even at an early age, I always “wished” I could be a Rock Star!)

So today we headed off to the movie theatre and sat amongst many a grade school/middle school girls with their friends/parents and watched the movie. And even Hubby had to admit it …. that it was actually quite good. And “good” as in not a glorified Hollywood version of the TV show. That was most likely due to the fact that the movie was set primarily in Tennessee (now whether it was actually filmed there, I don’t know).

263For those of you that don’t know the story behind Ha.nnah Mon.tana, the show is based on the life of Mi.ley Stewa.rt, a teenager (Mi.ley Cy.rus) from Crowley Corners, TN who moves with her father, Rob.by Ray (Bi.lly Ray Cy.rus) and older brother to Malibu, CA to follow her rising career in music. In order to to live a “normal” teenager’s life outside of the music business, Miley and her father develop her alter-ego, Ha.nnah Mon.tana, to be her Rock Star persona. Trying to keep a duel-life prompts hilarity, a-la-Disney Channel style.

The movie was definitely a change in pace from the TV series in that Mi.ley returns “home” to Tennessee for a father-ordered “Ha.nnah” rehab. And it is, in general, the story of a teenager trying to find her true self amongst the pressures of being pulled in fifty zillion directions. And yes … I’m totally a sucker for those kind of movies. (Hellooo … “Pretty In Pink” anyone? “Some Kind of Wonderful”?!) So if anyone loves those types of plots … I totally recommend it to you. Yes, it has its cheesy moment, but it’s at the very least … rental-worthy.

The point of this post really was not to do a film review of this movie. After all, even though I write about a variety of different topics here, this blog is still primarily about dealing with my inability to have children. It’s a blog about loss.

So what does “Ha.nnah Mon.tana” have to do about loss? Well first of all, let’s talk about the fact that we were surrounded by leagues of tweens and even more 6-9 year old girls. And let’s talk about the moms that they were with. As I looked around, I saw that many of the women taking their kids to see the movie were right around my age. Which would have probably made them anywhere between 22 to 30 years of age when they had their kids. And seeing their interactions with these girls … well, yeah … why shouldn’t it break my heart just a little? After all, this is what I would have done for my girl if I ever had one. I would have let them dress up in all their “Ha.nnah Mon.tana” clothes and let them “pretend” to be a Rock Star. I would have stood in line early at the theatre to try to get the best seats in the house (dead center of the theatre). I would have asked them to invite their best friend along. I would have done all that, if that was something that they really wanted. And if I ever had the daughter to do this for.

But alas, that isn’t the case. And therefore it’s Hubby and I that sat at the end of the row, discussing how that dad or Grandpa (along with Hubby, himself) was a wonderful man to endure sitting through a movie just for their daughter/granddaughter. And how we would totally do these things for our kids just because we loved them.

264The second part that got to me were the various parts of the movie where Mi.ley talks about her mom (played in flashbacks in the TV show by Bro.oke Shi.elds). Su.san Stewa.rt apparently died three years before the series began. (Not in real life; just the show. Mi.ley Cy.rus’ mom is still alive.) And it’s those moments when she reflects as to whether or not her mom would be proud of her if she were still alive … those were the moments that had me unexpectedly bawling my eyes out.

At first I couldn’t understand why it was that I was dropping those crocodile-sized tears. To a Tweener Movie, nonetheless. But then I reflected on what happened to me yesterday at work when my manager (who was off that day) called me in regards to an email she wanted me to send. She apparently noticed something in my voice because she asked me what was wrong. That took me by surprise as I didn’t realize I sounded anything different than how I normally was. So when she asked, I told her about my Grandma Rose … and then I suddenly felt my eyes swelling up with tears. Totally unexpected because I thought my waterworks were otherwise under control; but apparently not. And that’s when she told me to go home; to take the time to mourn. To use my bereavement time that I was entitled for.

At first I resisted; saying that the funeral was in the Philippines. I mean, it’s not like I was going to actually be attending a funeral service/mass. Plus, I figured that as long as I kept myself busy I wouldn’t think about how sad I actually was. But apparently, that’s not what Grandma Rose wanted me to do. Because no sooner than I had told my manager I was going to stay until the end of the day … we received the news that the department would be closing early for the day. So I took that as a sign to use my bereavement time for this coming Monday.

In any case, this inexplicable feeling of loss … this sadness I have over the passing of Grandma Rose … is something I know I’m going to have a hard time getting over. Even now as I type this, I’m starting to well up in tears again. There are moments, like sitting at the local Borders and reading magazines, when I’m perfectly fine and happy. And then there are these moments when all I want to do is cry over the loss of my Grandma.

In 1973, Grandma was awarded a plaque for 43 years of service with the Bureau of Public Schools (another pic "borrowed from yet another cousin!)
In 1973, Grandma was awarded a plaque for 43 years of service with the Bureau of Public Schools (another pic “borrowed” from yet another cousin!)

The irony of this all is that this feeling of loss … well, it’s the same loss I felt (or rather, still feel) over the many months of negative pregnancy tests, the failed IVF attempt … and even the loss of my one frozen embryo that we “let go” one year after that IVF cycle. It’s this sadness that’s so difficult to explain … to write down into words. Whether it’s the loss of the ability to create or sustain life, or the loss of a well-lived life … it’s still the loss of life.

And as evidenced by today’s reaction to seeing mom’s around the same age as I am taking their kids to the movies … I still have those days (five years after IVF) where that feeling of loss surrounding my infertility are still very potent and strong. But there are also those days where I can take it in stride.

The same thing, I know, will happen with my feelings over the loss of my Grandma. There will be those days where all I think are the happy moments I had with her and how incredibly full her life was. But there will also be those days … like today … where all I can feel is that inexplicable feeling of loss.

And this … this is yet another lesson I’ve learned from my experienced with infertility. And yet another lesson that my Grandma (who remained a schoolteacher up until her 80’s ) has taught me in life.

Thank you for that one last lesson, Grandma Rose.

Two Dolla' No Holla'

8bt“Two Dollars! I want my two dollars!”

I love that movie. “Better Off Dead” is one of those classic John Cusa.ck films from the ‘80’s that remind me of many-a-slumber parties. (You know, back when the other girls were fixing their hair and putting on make-up while I sat in my sleeping bag clearly just watching rental video after rental video …) I loved the Asian guys that pretended to be that sportscaster from Wide World O’Sports (hey, it’s St. Paddy’s Day … gotta get my O’ on. 🙂 ). And I love how Lane’s mom tried to cook her “Fraunch” dinner for the cute little exchange student that Lane should have noticed much sooner. Oh, and I loved the fact that they used a little Howa.rd Jo.nes on their soundtrack as well.

In any case, my mind sometimes (oh, who am I kidding … always) works in strange “tangential thinking” ways. I started off by thinking, “Two Years, Wow!” and obviously ended up thinking of a newspaper boy on a bike trying to collect his money.

G*d … does anyone else remember the days of neighborhood kids being the newspaper deliverer and collector of payments?! Now it’s always an adult that pulls up in a car … chucks the paper out their car window where one hopes it lands on the doorstep … and then it’s the newspaper that actually hounds you by phone for their twenty dollars or more.

Oh geez … see what I mean? Tangential thinking.

See the whole point of this post was to reflect how it’s been two years today since I started this blog. And what started out as wanting to express something in a journal entry somehow ended up here in the blogiverse.

2yrI remember clearly sitting in a café in A2 while Hubby and his BIL (my SIL’s Hubby of less than a year at the time) went off to do their comic/gaming thing. I was still struggling with the news of my SIL’s pregnancy and found myself slowly losing grip on my sanity. I knew, after a few months of counseling, that I had to find a way to deal with all these repressed emotions. Except besides this counselor and my husband, I didn’t know anyone else I could talk to about these feelings of anger and jealousy … and the subsequent guilt that always seemed to follow those emotions.

I felt that somehow no one else could understand what I was going through. I believed that everyone I had previously talked to about these things thought I was nuts to be “obsessing” about how unfair it was that I couldn’t produce a child. And I remember thinking how it seemed as if everyone was moving forward in their lives; starting their families, achieving new milestones, etc … all while Hubby & I remained left behind, unable to move forward.

It didn’t help that March was an anniversary month for Hubby and me. It would be the month that so many years ago, we received the news of our one and only failed IVF attempt. And for the life of me, today I can’t even recall the number of years it’s been since then. (What does that say about where I’m at today?!) But two years ago, those emotions … that feeling of lost was still as deep and painful as it was when we first received that devastating news.

In a single sentence … two years ago today, I was a wreck. And writing about how I felt seemed to be the only way to articulate such complicated emotions. And so hence, Apron Strings for Emily was born.

So where am I at today? Well … writing about my journey has certainly had some impact on my life. Both good and bad … and sometimes just downright ugly.

gobaugTHE UGLY: My relationship, though better since moving, is still a bit strained with my SIL. The distance has definitely proved to be a good thing though. But this, of course, is at the sacrifice of not being able to see my nephew and my 6 month old niece as often as I’d like. Despite all this, my instincts (which tend to be spot on quite often) tell me that all this heartbreak will eventually pass in time. Perhaps one day our lives will once again be back “in sync” with one another like it was so many eons ago. And perhaps it won’t. But either way, only time will help mend all the broken layers of skin that this deep deep wound (as in “Stage IV Decubitus Ulcer”) has caused.

In any case, we’ll be seeing them next month for sure though … as they make the trip to visit us in our new digs. And I seriously can’t wait!!

THE BAD: Uhm … the obvious one is that Hubby and I are still without kids of our own. This also means that I haven’t been able to provide grandchildren to our parents, nieces or nephews to our siblings, or cousins to our nephew and niece. It still eats at me … at least once a month, during those incredible waves of emotions I get (Thank you, wacky hormones!) …but at least it isn’t every day like it was for years and years (and years and years).

THE GOOD: I’ve found out that, contrary to my psychotic (as opposed to psychic) beliefs, I am not necessarily alone in this infertility journey. I’ve found the incredibly wonderful and much needed support I’ve been looking forthanks to all of you readers and commenters.

Also, I’ve finally decided (just recently within the past 6 months) that my life no longer has to revolve around my inability to have children of my own and have decided to focus on other parts of my life. This means I can finally move onto deciding whether adoption should be our next step. OR if accepting child-free living is the path to take.

goalBut the best part of this point in my life is this: After years and years of holding all my anger and sadness inside, I’ve finally found my voice … and the medium in which to express this voice. For someone who has been used to (and quite frankly brought up to) stifling any bad feelings aside, well that’s … Just. Simply. Incredible.

And just like a yearly “work performance” eval … not only do I have to summarize all that has happened in the past year … I should also be thinking towards the coming year. SO … what exactly are my goals for the next year?

  • Work on above relationship with SIL. I’m still thinking time and distance for now is a good thing. Perhaps my thoughts will change over the course of the year.
    .
  • Continue to more forward. I need to remember to take steps by putting one foot in front of the other, and make an effort not to take any steps back. I need to build a momentum to keep me moving in a positive direction … whatever direction that might be. (Adoption? Child-free living? Focus on career and ultimate dream of moving out to the west coast?) But I do need to remember to keep moving, otherwise I could find myself stuck in the present (or the past) and in another “rut.”
    .
  • Leave the past in the past. This specifically means that I need to focus on not looking back at the negative. And if I do look back, it’s only to realize how much stronger I am because of what I’ve been through.
    .
  • In that same sense, I need to not concentrate on any negative thoughts. Focusing on any negativity is going to get me into those “What if?” situations that will also keep me in that same “rut.”
    .
  • Continue to blog. This … this is my (free) therapy. It’s one of the few ways I can openly and honestly talk about how I’m feeling. And it’s a way for me to work through these complicated emotions of anger and loss. Otherwise, I’d be back to where I started. And as I look back on my very first post and realize how much I talked almost all in “riddles” and metaphors … and how I couldn’t even write the word “Infertility” in that first post … It’s then that I realize just how far I’ve come.

voiceAnd finally, before I wrap up this extremely long post, I want to thank all of you for allowing me to work (and continue to work) through all of my concerns. And thank you for faithfully reading all about them.

Because, really? What’s the point of finding my voice if I didn’t have you … my readers, my friends and my family … to listen to (or in this case, read about) it?

Oh, and because today is St. Patty’s Day … I also wish all of you the Luck O’ The Irish!!

luckee

Afterglow

I’ve just boarded the train in Ann Arbor heading back to my place in the city. And even though the breathtaking scenery of the Huron River is around me, I am feeling blue. I’ve just said good-bye to Hubby after a fun weekend and – even though we deny it till the very last moment – I am terribly sad. It’s as if these train tracks, the same ones that took me to him on Friday, are pulling me further and further away from him. And I hate it.

I haven’t been writing much over the past week because I’ve been busy. I find the more time I spend apart from writing, the more difficult it is for me to write. And I hate that.

And now, with the two things I’ve admitted to hating out of the way … and with about 4 hours before hitting my final destination … I now find myself having that time to write.

MH & AF circa 1988

MH & AF circa 1988

I’ve got my iPod on listening to the (new) INXS* song, “Afterglow.” I love this song, because it’s so beautiful. And it’s a song that I could totally hear Michael Hu.tchence singing, rather than JD “Fortunate-that-he-was-picked” from Rockstar. Sadly, it’s a song that was written by MH’s songwriting partner Andrew Fa.rriss. And perhaps I may be reading into the lyrics too much, but I’ve interpreted it as a song he wrote about dealing with life after Michael’s death. And how he has been trying to “let him go” so that he can move forward with his own life without Michael.

It’s perfect for how I’m feeling right now; having just left Hubby standing on the train platform. Not that I’m “letting him go” or anything. It’s more that I’m feeling like I have to go on living life without Hubby once again … at least for another 5 days until the weekend comes once more. You would think that I might have gotten used to it by now, as it’s been two months now, but it’s still as painful as that first day Hubby drove off down the street of our new “place” and back to our home in Michigan. The only thing that’s holding me together is that the end is now in site. And hopefully by the end of this month, I will finally be able to call this place I’ve been living in for the past two months “home.” Because Hubby will always be home for me.

And suddenly I’ve got that line from “Lilo & Stitch” in my head. “Ohana means Family. And Family means no one get’s left behind.”

*Sigh* ….

So … what to write about now ? Hmm, perhaps I could tell you about all the fun I had at Hubby’s Ad Club Awards show yesterday. You know … the same awards show for which Hubby designed the poster made completely out of Legos (with some assistance from his personal Lego Engineer, of course ). Well, because Legos was such a big thing for most of the “Creatives” (as they call themselves …) back in the early 80’s, the overall theme turned into a whole 80’s night. Well, at least the rest of the items that Hubby designed (the invitations, the programs, banners, etc) had a whole ’80’s feel to it.

D2 circa 1983

D2 circa 1983

To complete the 80’s theme, Hubby and I decided to dress the whole 80’s part. This is where I’d probably insert a picture of Hubby in a white blazer coat, black dress shirt unbuttoned at the top with a black tie loosened around the neck (a la Dur.an Dur.an circa 1981). Or even one where I’m dressed in a 80’s mod dress complete with black stirrup leggings and kitten heel pumps. (I would have done the whole side-ways ponytail, but then my grey hair would have really stood out …) Unfortunately, neither of us remembered to take our cameras with us. So instead, I’ll share this true 80’s picture of me (circa 1985), in a dress that’s quite similar to what I wore. And no … my dress was not the same pattern … (Damn … thought I had it with me on my laptop here. Guess I don’t. I’ll have to scan it next time I’m back in Detroit …)

It’s always a fun night going to these Addy Awards. Being around Creative Folk is pretty darn funny. They usually have some interesting stories to talk about. Most aren’t too stuffy where they can’t take a joke or tell a pretty good one. Typically every year there’s some sort of theme around the awards. I think I already shared with you a picture of Hubby & I as a Ringmaster and Tightrope Walker during the circus-themed one. Then there was the one where everything revolved around solving some sort of crime, a la CSI … except in this case CSI stood for Creative Scene Investigation. And of course there was the whole “Austin Powers” Groovy theme; in which one couple dressed up as Dr. Evil and Vanessa Kensington. That was pretty darn funny!

So the Lego theme this year found the Creatives sitting around tables with various pieces of Lego surrounding the table centerpieces. People were encouraged to play with them, build things with them. If someone from their table won an award, when they came up to accept the award they were instructed to add Lego piece(s) to a Lego board up in the front of the room. The goal was that at the end of the night, everyone would have formed a communal sculpture made out of random Lego pieces. Well … the final piece was definitely a mish-mosh of various random Legos representing, what I overheard someone else call a “funky carnival.” And if I had my camera … this is where I’d share how absolutely imaginative some people got.

Opt.imus Prime

Opt.imus Prime

But the even more surprising Lego sculptures were found at the end of the night. After the festivities ended and as I went around collecting all the Lego pieces at the tables, I found random pieces of Legos shaped into various animals or house-like structures. I swear, someone even made a ginormous robot that looked like it should have been Optim.us Prime from the Tran.sformers. Really, I shouldn’t have been too surprised … I mean after all, I was supposed to be surrounded by the most creative people in the local industry.

Overall, it was a fun weekend. And because we both were away from our respective living areas (we stayed the weekend in Lansing, MI where the awards show was), it was nice to be in a place where neither of us had to “leave” one another at the end of the weekend. Both of us were going back to our places … albeit alone.

But, thank G*d, not for much longer.

~~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~~

* I find that I’ve divided INXS into two categories; the old INXS (with Michael Hu.tchence) and the new INXS (sans Michael Hu.tchence).

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