Road Trip

Four Hundred

Wow. Another week has gone by without more than a weekly update. What can I say? It’s been a pretty busy summer.

I admit that I hate taking more than a few days break from writing, because I find that my creative juices start to slow down. Not that I don’t have a lot to say — G*d knows I always got the “Talks Too Much” comment on my grade school report cards — I just find myself struggling to write these thoughts down.

Anyway … what have I been up to?

Well, El Hubs & I were “home” in Detroit early last week. In reality, it’s because we knew we had to travel to Toronto on Thursday for his cousin’s wedding on Friday. And yeah … we coulda done the 9 hr trip in one shot. But why do that when we can break the car ride up in two days? Besides, we figured we’d do some house-cleaning while we were in town for a couple of days.

Thursday afternoon, we pulled into the Greater Toronto Area and swiftly met up with my cousins for some serious catching up. One of these cousins was LJC, whom we haven’t properly spent time with since her wedding in 2008. Her youngest sister was also there and we had the pleasure of finally meeting her Significant Other.

It was an evening full of incredible fun of just sitting and talking … something I sorely miss from the years of spending endless summers with them chatting until late at night.

Friday was obviously Hubby’s cousin’s wedding. And it was an amazing time … perhaps Hot as Hades in mid-July, but so much fun! The best part of the reception … at least in my mind … was getting on the dance floor with all of Hubby’s cousins/significant others and their children (our 14 yo nephew included) to start off the night of dancing with the Black Eyed Peas’ “Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night.”

While the wedding reception was an incredible party, I must say that getting together with Hubby’s entire family (well, most of them anyway) on Saturday was also wonderful. Because even though we spent time together the day before at the wedding, Saturday’s get-together was more laid-back and relaxed. I know Hubby & I had a wonderful time … especially teaching them Canadian cousins how to play the very Michigan card game of Euchre. We think we may have created monsters. LOL!

Hubby overlooking Horseshoe Falls

And today? Well … today Hubby & I found ourselves celebrating HIS birthday in Niagara Falls. I must say, I can’t think of any better way to celebrate Hubby’s birthday than with an entire gaggle of family. Just imagine a group of 25 family members (including an Aunt & Uncle who came from the Philippines for the wedding) doing an entire bus tour of attractions. It was completely chaotic … but I know Hubby has been enjoying himself today.

Even if I did forget to wish him a Happy Birthday until another Aunt had said it to him this morning. Bad bad bad wife!! **

Now, I’m laying here in bed at the hotel, finishing up the last minutes of Hubby’s birthday by writing nothing more than a journal entry for the past week.

Hubby, however, is spending the rest of his birthday night out with the “boys.” And by “boys” I mean two of his cousins, two of his uncles, and his Dad. I’m glad Hubby’s getting a chance to spend time with them … especially since we haven’t had many opportunities to get together with family (from all over the U.S and Canada) over the past few years.

Hubby & Me on Maid of the Mist

So Hubby … before the day’s over, I just want to send an incredibly huge birthday hug and kiss to you. You are my world; my sunshine and rainbow. You are my best friend … and I’m incredibly blessed to have you in my life. I can’t wait to continue our journey in life together.

Oh … and one more thing. Not that this is incredibly exciting news (in the grand scheme of this post anyway). But check out the title of this post.

Yep … that’s the number of blog entries I’ve officially written as of today. Wow!

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** In my defense, I must add that I did remember it in the shower this morning. But since we were trying to pack for an overnight stay in Niagara with his family, it slipped my mind by the time I started pack things away! Bad bad wife!!

Eye-Oh-Waah!

(Finally! Back online and wired — or “wireless-ed” this case — to the outside world. Hubby & I have been out of town since Friday and haven’t had any internet or email access all weekend. Can’t believe how much I miss having no connection to anything! Okay, so maybe it was a blessing after last month’s Nablopomo … )

This weekend Hubby & I spent some time in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Hubby is part of the local Advertising Club in the city where he works. Every year, this Ad Club partakes in the Addy’s which is sort of the Oscar’s for Advertising. Any regional Ad Club can hold their own Addy’s, which the winners of each local club goes on to districts and then nationals. But each level has their own sets of judging.

So why were we in Cedar Rapids? Well, because Hubby was asked to judge that local chapter’s entries. And because this was sort of “last minute,” the flights out there were a bit too expensive. So instead, he decided to drive. And well, because it’s a nice 7-plus hour drive from where we live, I hated knowing that he’d be driving that long distance by himself. Which is why I tagged along.

Wintery Freeway Shot on way to Cedar Rapids

Wintery Freeway Shot on way to Cedar Rapids

While he and two others spent the whole day on Saturday judging, I spent most of the morning and half the afternoon in the hotel room. Except, as I mentioned above, we weren’t able to get any internet access. Instead, I flipped through the limited amount of channels on the telly and watched random things. Like a History Channel episode on the Classic Seven Wonders of the World. And High School Musical 1 and 2. And multiple episodes of Han.nah Mon.tana. You could say I was just a little bored.

Mid-afternoon, I finally decided to drag my butt out of my jammies and showered. Afterwards, I decided I’d do the half-hour drive down to Iowa City and surrounding Coralville just to check it out. Iowa City was a pretty college town. Lots of students milling about and lots of shops down the little center area. But it was too frickin’ cold for me to go walking out there by my lonesome. (Heck … it was bad enough that I had to fill the car with gas in that 20-some degree temperature; which doesn’t even include the wind-chill factor!) So then I decided to head to Coralville where I saw a Bar.nes & Nob.les off the freeway. And really, I went there strictly so I could pick up Book Three in the Twi.light series.

I mean after all, I finished the 2nd book earlier that morning while mindlessly flipping through the TV.

Ugh. I can’t say that this trip was majorly exciting. However, knowing that in June of this year Cedar Rapids was completely devastated from major flooding … well, it kinda puts things into major perspective. Especially after watching some of the TV spots that were up for judging for Addy Awards. When talking with some of Hubby’s peers (the ones that sponsored his stay) during dinner one night, I asked the obvious question; which was how bad did it affect the city?

To put it mildly, it devastated Cedar Rapids. When we drove through the streets of the downtown area, our host would point out exactly how high the water levels were. One particular building, you could tell it reached about a story and a half high. Even the server at the restaurant talked about how the entire room we were in was completely submerged under water. There was one instance, we were told, that residents saw some CNN newscasters out on boats, fishing in the middle of the “street.” Because there was, indeed, fish swimming in the streets.

And as we drove along, you couldn’t help but notice how many storefronts were closed. How the actual restaurant our host wanted to take us to never reopened after the flooding. How there were still houses close to the river that appeared to be abandoned with no hope of ever being rebuilt. And there were other stories of house boats that were found piled up at one end of a road. While another pile, this one of derailed boxcars from trains, were stacked up at the other end.

The stat we Hubby & I read was that one in four businesses never reopened after a major disaster. Of all things, we read that bit of info on a billboard. On the freeway. In the southwestern-most end of Michigan. On the way to Iowa. (How weird is that?)

To see that reality of those numbers in front of our face five months after the flooding was, to put it mildly, was tragic. To know that, indeed, many of these stores would never reopen in the city’s downtown business district was heartbreaking. And to know that it would take years to rebuild what was destroyed was just plain sad.

Sun setting in the college town of Iowa City

Sun setting in the college town of Iowa City

Those TV spots that Hubby was given to “judge” told the story of what happened during the floodings. The video shots alone were reminiscent of the same video real I remember seeing after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. And to know that the Iowa floodings happened not so far away from my home … it was certainly eye-opening. And the sheer enormity of this disaster made me realize that natural disasters can happen anywhere. Floods in the midwest. Hurricanes on the East and Gulf coasts. Earthquakes on the west coast (and even other midwest area places you’d never think of). Tornadoes in the heartland. Either way, I think this has made me realize that all of us could be one step away from catastrophe.

So while I was utterly frustrated by the lack of good TV programming or access to the internet … I feel like I can’t really complain about it. Because truthfully … rebuilding this city and its community is much much more important than making sure I’m up to date with all the latest news.

I pray that the community of Cedar Rapids continues to plow forward and rebuild.

Show and Tell: That "Just Married" Look

showandtellWow. I seriously can’t believe I’ve made it through half the month for NaBloPoMo. It seems like a week in, I was already struggling to find stuff interesting stuff to post about. And now … I’ve reached the halfway point.

So today, I decided to share a picture of Hubby and I on our honeymoon. And based on the picture, where do you think we went?

Hmmm …. jackets and sweatshirts, cuddling close to each other. Probably some place pretty cool in climate, eh? Maybe hiking in one of the state parks in Washington … or perhaps Alaska even?

Honeymoon

Nope. Hubby and I went to Hawaii. Yep, if you could only pan out a little further in this picture, you’d see that we’re both wearing our Doc Marten sandals with no socks … and completely freezing our tushies off.

That’s because we made the trek up Mt. Haleakala on the island of Maui, just to watch the sun rise over the summit of this dormant volcano. To put it in words would be near impossible. Just know that it was simply gorgeous.

But back to the picture. Can’t you tell how incredibly happy we are? By then we would have been married 9 days (even though the date displayed one day ahead …. what can I say? This was pre-digital!) and this would have been the second to the last day of our honeymoon.

To say that we enjoyed our trip would be an understatement. We started out in the island of Kauai, which was absolutely perfect for us to unwind from all of the wedding events. You see, Kauai is more of a quiet island (as compared to Oahu or Maui). Not too much going on throughout the island, but lots of beautiful scenery. We stayed at the Hyatt in Poipu, which is the southernmost city of the island. And we were absolutely spoiled rotten there. The oceanfront view, the beautiful gardens on the property, the multiple swimming pools and lagoons, and the incredible daily brunch spread that, to this day … cannot compare to any other brunch we’ve had. We took a raft up the Na Pali Coast and snorkeled at one of the isolated beaches. We drove up to Waimea Canyon and met a orange tabby cat named Simba, who was adopted by the vendors in the area. Oh, and we went on a helicopter ride, where … because of the extreme motion sickness I experienced … I realized it was not my life’s ambition to be a pilot. Although, what I do remember was beautiful. In all, we spent about 6 days on this island, relaxing and basking in our newlywed state.

Then it was off to Maui, which after spending almost a week in “seclusion,” seemed like a major metropolis as compared to Kauai. It was definitely an island with many more sites and activities. Oh, and lots of shopping too! We stayed at the Embassy Suites in Ka’anapali, which is on the northwesternmost part of the island. In order to get there, we drove through Lahaina, which was, at one time, the center of the world’s whaling industry with ships from around the globe docking at this port. This has certainly made Lahaina the “seaport” village that it has become; lots of storefronts and boutique shops line its streets.

Along with the aforementioned 2:00 am drive up to the “House of the Sun” to watch the sun rise, we also made another beautiful day trip to the east side of the island. Which, if you’ve ever been to Maui … it’s almost like being on a completely different island. Where the west side is more arid and dry, the east side is more lush and green. The highway to the east is widely known as the “Road to Hana” and it’s a wondrously windy road with more than 50 bridges, many of which are only one lane. Along the way, we passed by numerous waterfalls; some of which we were actually able to swim under. And at the end of our journey, we reached the “Seven Sacred Pools,” which are actually a series (of more than seven, may I add) of pools formed by cascading waterfalls that literally tumble into the ocean. It was stunningly beautiful.

By the end of the 11 days we spent in Hawaii, we were well rested and ready to start our lives as newlyweds. What we absolutely loved best about our honeymoon was that we were there together, exploring a place where neither of us had ever been before. On our very own. With no timetable or schedule to go by. And to this day, this was one of our most favorite (if not the favorite) vacations of all time.

Unfortunately, all my honeymoon photos have not caught up with the digital age at this time. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to scan them in. Until then, I’ll just have to enjoy the beautiful picture of us up in the “House of Sun.”

Now; make sure you go and check out everyone else’s Show and Tell posts!

Recharged

Last week went by in such a blur; not so much because it was a short work week from having Labor Day off. I think it had more to do with the emotional downfall I seemed to be experiencing since the days before Kairi’s birth.

Yes, I sucked at trying to stay off the not-so-amusement park ride, otherwise known as the roller coaster of infertility.

But today … this week … I am making an effort to pick myself up and move right along. As to where I might be moving along to on this IF journey still remains to be seen. I still have a lot of “issues” to work out before I can completely move on.

This relatively small turn in tides is due to a few things that have happened as of late. First of all, writing this post was certainly cathartic, despite the brief bit of guilt I felt for about three days after posting it.

Then there were those readers … those friends … who actually made the effort to comment on both of those posts. Your words do mean a lot to me and I do take what all you say very much to heart. It shows to me that, despite the ramblings of anger, sadness, guilt and confusion, I’m not alone in feeling or expressing them. To me, that makes me feel less of a silly, pathetic person who “obviously can’t let go” and more of a real person with justified thoughts for all those emotions. I cannot thank each and every one of you enough for all your kind words.

And not that I’m fishing for more comments about my posts … but for those IRL friends and even those that may just be “lurking” … trust me, a simple acknowledgement (whether by comment or quick email) to those bloggers that may be calling out for some love or support goes a LOOOONG way. And you never know, this may be the only way a blogger is able to let you in past the brick wall he or she may have inadvertently built around his- or herself.

The last thing that helped me get through this difficult time was a quick trip to London, Ontario to attend LJC‘s bridal shower this past weekend. The two-hour drive one-way would be the first time I’ve ever made that trip by my lone self. During my childhood, the trip was made with family. And in the later years, it would always be with Hubby.

Hubby was supposed to be with me on this road trip. However, a last minute decision (like less than 2 weeks) on his family’s part to throw a surprise birthday party for his mom on the same day as the shower threw off those plans.

Part of me was honestly kinda ticked at that. We had already made plans to make the trip to London to do a quick getaway from “things.” And when I mean “things,” I mean that we knew that the weekend before would be surrounded by “all things baby.” Not that we didn’t want to be there to meet Kairi and congratulate the proud parents, but we knew … at least I knew … that I would need to step back and recharge our emotional batteries.

Hubby & I as "Positive & Negative"

Hubby & I as "Positive" and "Negative

Because I knew that, even though we made the effort to physically visit SIL and Kairi twice while they were in the hospital, seeing that vision of “Mom and Baby” would stick with me (and to some extent, Hubby) emotionally long after we kissed and said goodbye to them.

But now it was just going to be me going to London. And poor Hubby was going to stay at home and help out with the surprise party. And the introduction of Kairi to the rest of the family. Hubby, unfortunately, would have to deal with the family & friends ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Kairi (rightly so, by the way … did you see how cute she is?!) and then turning to him to say, “Still no kids for you, huh?”

So yeah, that’s what ticked me off. And what also made me feel guilty for leaving Hubby there to fend for himself.

I also can’t deny that I was also excited to go to London by myself, either. This quick overnight jaunt to visit with the cousins I always felt were the “sisters I never had” … Well, this would be the first time in a long time that it would be “just the girls.” It would give us the opportunity to talk about “girl things” and other things that we haven’t been able to talk about in a very long time.

And although I didn’t get to spend as much time with LJC, as she already had other wedding-planning related plans, there was still a good time to be had. Also, the one “sister” from Calgary wasn’t able to make the shower either. But despite this, I was still able to spend lots of time with the youngest “sister” and her Mom (my Uncle’s wife) and her Mom’s two sisters. And while it may sound strange … for the longest time, I thought that my cousin’s aunts were also my aunts by blood as well.

So after all the guests had left and the dishes cleaned, it was no surprise that we all sat down in the kitchen to relax. After all, that’s where I can remember many long conversations and discussions taking place in my youth. Except this time I’m much older, as is my youngest “sister.” And we’re talking about American and Canadian politics. And infertility. And all of my “aunts” and my “sister” are asking me honest-to-God actual questions and actually looking at me and responding to me at the appropriate times.

Yup, that’s right. These family members that I haven’t had much contact outside of weddings (and more weddings) over the past ten years were genuinely interested to know how I was doing, and how I was dealing with things. Real people. Right in front of me. Showing empathy and compassion for me. What. A Breath. Of. Fresh. Air.

And at exactly the right time that I needed it, too.

It was precisely what I needed to energize my batteries so I could still keep going (and going and going) …

A "Hula"-va Birthday

Happy Birthday, dear Hubby of mine! I know I’m a day late in posting my birthday wishes to you on my blog, but as you already know … we had one busy weekend!

First there was heading out to the movies on Friday night to watch “The D.ark Kn.ight” which you and I agreed was awesome. Too bad He.ath Ledg.er won’t be around to reprise his role as the Jok.er … 🙁

And then Saturday … on your actual birthday … we spent the day in Ann Arbor, our stomping grounds during the fall football seasons for the Wolverines. Wasn’t it fun checking out the Ann Arbor Art Fair? I love going to there every year because it always reminds me of the summers when we were still dating and the fun and interesting conversations we’d always have on the way to and from the Art Fair. I just find it humorous that we always come back from the Art Fair with more books from Shaman Drum Bookshop and clothing on sale from the various boutiques than we do actual art work! It’s just so sad that very few indie record stores (that actually sell vinyl) exist in the area anymore …

Ann Arbor will always bring back such fond memories of us and our college years … when we would spend countless hours driving back and forth from Oakland University and the University of Michigan, just so we’d be able to spend time together. Remember the times we’d risk life and limb in the dead of winter just to make it to each other’s place? Apparently not much has change in the eighteen years since we’ve been together (not to mention the twenty LONG years that we’ve been friends).

Okay, so that’s not exactly true. I mean, geez … we did age twenty years since then. We finished college and we’ve managed to have pretty successful careers. We got married and we bought our house. We’ve managed, between the two of us, to fill our house with books. And movies. And music. Not to mention photo albums. And cool electronic gadgets. And computers (many of which have been relegated to the computer “graveyard”). And pets, which have become our little mutt of a family.

But let’s not forget the one thing that has always filled our home and our hearts since that incredible day almost 12 years ago. And that’s the love that we have for one another. The one thing in my life that I am most grateful for. I thank my luck stars every day that we share the same love for one another, the same heart.

So today … err, or rather yesterday … I want to wish you a wonderful birthday. May the fun and happiness we’ve had in Ann Arbor and in every moment of our lives … continue for years and years (and years) to come.

Dawn of Summer

It’s Sunday Morning around 7:30 am. Except with the time difference, it feels like an hour later.

Yesterday, Hubby & I made an impromptu trip to Chicago. Initially we were supposed to go with my parents to visit Dr. Bro & Dr. SIL, but instead we went alone. Last minute, we were booking a hotel room so that we wouldn’t have to bother the busy docs so much.

Imagine our suprise when we got into our hotel room and saw a view of Lake Michigan. It. Was. Spectacular. And to top it off, we scored a corner room which just happened to be the best view of Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. I’ve been to Chi-town many times in my life, but have never had the opportunity to have such an incredible view of Lake Michigan.

You see, at the last minute the cheapest room we could find within the downtown area was at the Congress Plaza Hotel. And even then, it was a little on the pricier side than what we would have like to spend. But, oh was the view definitely worth it. Especially at around 4:30-ish when I specifically set the alarm to watch the sun rise.

It was a thrilling moment this morning, looking over Lake Michigan’s horizon and anticipating the sunrise. Watching the sky turn different shades of a pastel-like rainbow as I waited patiently for the sun to make his (her?) appearance seemed to be very symbolic of my life at this exact moment. At least I hope it is.

Last Monday, I had a follow-up appointment with my GYN to go over the current treatment I’ve been receiving for endometriosis. Yes, I’m talking about that God-awful drug called Lupron. After reviewing the ultrasound results from my last date with the US tech, my GYN gave me the option of continuing on Lupron for one more month (to make it a total of 6 months) or stop it after receiving the Month Five dose on that visit. Guess which one I chose?! Uh-huhn … one last shot in the rear, and I was skipping out of that office knowing that I no longer had to endure the side effects after this month.

And after this month, I’m looking at the end of yet another dark period in my life. Hopefully this means no more awful headaches. Or no more of those d*mn hot flashes. But most of all? Hopefully no more of that rainbow of emotions from extreme happiness to anger in a flash of a second. And hopefully no more tears brought on suddenly by a tidal wave of sadness or of feeling completely overwhelmed by something as simple as getting up for the day.

I’m literally hoping it’s the dawn of a new day in this period in my life. And seeing as yesterday was the Summer Soltice, otherwise known as the first full day of summer, I’m hopeful that I will find the inner strength in me … the power of the sun, if you will … to climb out of the horizon of darkness of and into the light of a new day.

How appropriate, because two weeks from today, I will be celebrating yet another year of life that I’ve gotten through. And this birthday, I want to celebrate the fact that I was born and not focus on the fact that I will still be childless at the age of 36.

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And now pics from our impromptu Chi-town Trip

Nieces and Nephews

Hubby & I are back from Chicago and from visiting with my brother and SIL. Dr. Brother is finishing his last year of residency at one of the major hospitals in the Chi-town area while Dr. SIL works in the ER at another area hospital. But despite their hectic schedules, they took the time out to spend Saturday afternoon and most of Sunday entertaining us.


And it's Slytherin Green to boot!

Not that they honestly had to do too much to entertain Hubby & me. Really, all we wanted to do was spend time and hang out with them. We spent some of our time walking around the Bucktown / Wicker Park area, thinking that perhaps we could afford things from some of their upscale resale shops … uh, yeah. Guess I’m a little to used to finding great deals at the local Sal.vatio.n A.rmy. But I did manage to find this really cool shirt. Okay, so I didn’t so much “find” it … rather I copy off my SIL’s idea, as I just loved the whole “snarkiness” of it all.

The other part of our time was spent doing our favorite pastime when we’re together … and that’s eat. If there’s one thing that I wish we had around where Hubby & I live is rows and rows of restaurants and bars with varying tastes. There’s only so many times you can eat at a chain restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I love my A.bee’s Triple Choco Meltdown, but perhaps I’d like to try something … I don’t know … a little less manufactured? So yes. We ate … and we stuffed ourselves with some great food. Tummy was definitely satisfied!

But the real reason for our visit? Yes … it was to see my “nieces” and “nephews.” The four-legged variety, that is. Oh boy, did we ever have fun with the boys. They are way too loveable! But rather than tell you about them … here’s some pics of them along with their “sisters,” Mocha & Sophia, who have ruled (and continue to rule) the household.

The sad thing? Come this summer, my brother and SIL are moving to the Pacific Northwest. Dr. Brother managed to secure a one-year fellowship out there and Dr. SIL has also managed to obtain a few job offers. This means that in order to visit them and the “nieces” and “nephews,” we’d either have fly out to the coast OR take an extremely loooong road trip.

On the Road

This is what you get for
making faces at the camera!

Hubby & I have been getting a little antsy lately. We’ve both been crazy busy at work lately and were looking for a little adventure. So we decided to take a little road trip this weekend.

The catalyst for our trip was to head back to the west side of the state to attend a surprise birthday celebration for one of our friends. The look on his face when he saw that we drove such a distance today just to celebrate with him was priceless.

Then we figured since we were already out that far, we’d keep heading west and visit my brother and his wife in Chi-town. Well really … I wanted to visit my two “nieces” (the kitties Mocha and Sophia) and “nephew” (the adorable Wrigley). That and meet the newest member of their family “Ryan,” who is another rescue greyhound and actual litter mate of Wrigley. This should be fun … let’s see how four adults, two cats and two big dogs can all comfortably move around in a not-so-big condo.

We have no idea what else we’re going to do during our trip to the Windy City. We’ve been there so many times that we’ve pretty much exhausted all the “tourist-y” attractions. Except maybe go up the top of the Sear.s tower, which I’ve never had any inclination to do anyway. I think we just wanted to take some time to get away from the every day grind. We all need those mini-vaca’s every once in awhile …

In the mean time, here’s a photo that my SIL sent to me of Ryan. Apparently he has quite the same demeanor as his brother Wrigley … so I’m sure that I’ll be falling in love with him as well. Too bad they couldn’t keep the whole baseball field theme with the names and call him “Bennett” (as in one of the original names for Tiger’s Stadium) or “Trumbull” (as in “The Corner” of Michigan Ave and Trumbull, where the old stadium used to be). But the names Wrigley and Ryan do sound pretty darn cool together … so I’ll let them keep it. 😛

I’m sure I’ll have more pics of the “nieces and nephews” when we get back … so be prepared for an onslaught of pet pics in a later post. But for now … we’re off to Chicago!

Me, Bartleby and Ta.rzan

Hubby & I spent the night on the west side of the state Saturday night. We were out that way specifically to catch the theater debut of one of our friends. (I’d tell you more about the play, but “I’d prefer not to.” But I do have to say, I do think our friend did a wonderful job.)

We’ve been to this town before (the most recent to see the Cowboy Junkies about five years ago), but never got a chance to really check the place out. But since our friend lives out there, we managed to get the “grand tour” of the area which included a trip to a local brewery that produces the only beer my alcohol-allergic / beer-loathing Hubby will drink. Seriously didn’t know that this brew was locally-produced.

Anyway, we ended up staying the night because the play didn’t even start until 11:00 pm. And then afterwards, well … of course we ended up going out and grabbing a drink afterwards. So we booked a room at one of the local hotels just to rest our heads for the night. After all, it’s a decent 3-hour ride back to Detroit and we weren’t about to make that drive after being out until 2 am. (Okay, maybe we would … if we were still college-age!)

The next morning, I turned on the TV in the room (while Hubby started to get ready) and started flipping through the channels. As I flipped, I stumbled onto the Dis.ney channel that happened to be showing the animated film, “Ta.rzan.” I don’t know what possessed me to keep the TV on that channel, but I suddenly found myself sucked into the movie.

There’s something about Dis.ney animated movies that I really enjoy. Especially the ones that were produced from “The Little Mermaid” onward. OK, so there were a few that I could care less about (hmmm … “Emperor’s New Groove”?), but overall I’ve liked their films.

In fact when planning our wedding, Hubby & I created a “Three Wishes” theme, including designing our own invitations (which, back in 1996, was definitely not a common thing to do) based on the movie “Aladdin.” It started with a porcelain figure of Jasmine & Aladdin that Hubby gave me when we were still dating which we thought would make a great cake topper. Then we chose “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” as our first dance and then gave little ceramic genie lamps as our favors. Yes, I guess you can say we had our own version of our “Dis.ney Fairy Tale” wedding.

But I digress … What struck me about watching “Ta.rzan” was the whole “Boy being raised by a gorilla” thing. Specifically the part where Ta.rzan found out how he came to live with and grow up with a pack of gorillas. Now, I’m assuming that most people have seen this movie or are familiar with the story. However, if you haven’t and you have the urge to read the book / watch the movie … then I suggest you skip the next two paragraphs.

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If you recall that in the movie (because the movie actually does vary a bit from the book by Edward Burroughs), Ta.rzan was brought up by a pack of gorillas and was always regarded by the other gorillas as different. This, however, didn’t matter to his “Mom,” Kala, who brought him up as her own, after losing her own baby gorilla by the same leopard who killed Ta.rzan’s parents. When Ta.rzan stumbles upon Jane and is surprised that there is a person who looks similar to him, he tries to learn from Jane (and her father) as much as he can about his “kind.” Ultimately, Jane is supposed to be leaving back for “merry olde England.” As Ta.rzan had ultimately fallen in love with her, he has to make the decision to either remain behind or go with Jane.

Before Ta.rzan’s decision is made, Kala tells him the truth about his parents and how, after her own son died, she raised him as if he was her own child. After he makes his decision to follow Jane, he turns to Kala and tells her that she will always be his mom.
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Uh, yeah … and that’s where the tears started flowing. (Thank God Hubby was in the shower at that point!) I kept thinking that if I was Kala, I would would be absolutely heartbroken. Proud of him, but utterly heartbroken for myself.

First of all, it’s the whole “mother who loses her own biological child” thing. How can that not relate to how I’m feeling? Okay, so I never was able to get pregnant on my own and have never physically lost a pregnancy. Or worse, a baby. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to grieve about not being able to have my own biological baby. And how about those that have experienced failed IVF’s alongside with me? Or those that have experienced ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages? Those are all losses.

And then there’s the whole “being raised by someone that didn’t give birth to you” issue. Uh … that would totally relate to adoption. I know that my journey through infertility has taken me down the adoption path. And I know that every day I am one step closer to becoming just as strong as Kala wanting to raise a child that isn’t biologically part of me.

I know that adoption is my fate and once I have my child, I will be so totally, utterly and unconditionally in love with him/her. BUT … I can’t help but think that somehow, somewhere down the adoption path I will truly start to freak out about the possibility that this child might not love me or feel that the love he/she has for me is not as strong as it would be if I were his/her biological mother.

Huhm … I just realized that perhaps my child would probably think the same of the love that I would have for him/her. He/She could be thinking … “Does she love me as if I were born from her womb?” Well, the answer to that is yes. As I’ve never been able to experience pregnancy, I guess I wouldn’t know the difference between loving a child that is biologically mine or loving one that was brought into our family through adoption. So my future son or daughter … I want to let you know this right now: I will love you, because … to me, you are my own child.

Damn Dis.ney … why must you always produce movies about orphaned heroes or heroines that overcome adversity. Do you purposely peer into my heart and see which one of those heart-strings (or better yet, my apron strings) to pull?!

Dropping the Ball

NYC Times Square on New Years Eve

So I’m sitting in the basement of my in-laws house ceremoniously waiting for the Times Square Waterford Crystal Ball to drop. This has become an annual event for me, especially after having married into this family. Typically, it’s a house full of aunts and uncles and cousins running around doing anything and everything. I do recall many-a-New Year’s karaoke-ing and/or playing the latest PS2 games we got for Christmas. (This year, it’s the new Guitar Heroes III for the Wii … woo-hoo!)

However, this year is a little more subdued. First of all, many family members are now located in other parts of the US. Second of all, many of the cousins are a bit older in age which means that many of us have made other plans or have other obligations. But the main reason this year is pretty quiet is because this past Christmas, my husband’s grandmother was admitted to the ICU in Virginia. She’s been in and out of the hospital since Thanksgiving, but this latest episode has been the most severe. In fact, Hubby & I were pretty worried about her that we made the 12-hour trip to visit her and spend time with Hubby’s aunt to hopefully give her a little moral support. We were told she was pretty alert even after her emergency surgery, but by the time we visited her she was already heavily sedated. We spent this past weekend there and unfortunately there wasn’t much change in her condition by the time we left yesterday morning.

The New Waterford Crystal New Years Eve Ball

As of this evening, we are told she is more awake and is doing well. She’s still in critical condition, but it appears she has taken a step forward towards getting better. We are all hoping and praying that she keeps moving forward. And we’re also hoping and praying that all her doctors, nurses and caregivers stay sharp … because the only ball we want to see dropping is that Times Square Ball.

Let’s hear it for 2008 … may we be stronger, healthier and happier than we were in 2007.

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