Small Victories

Five Years

Did you know that both the traditional and modern anniversary gift for five years is wood?

Wood?!

Good thing we don’t celebrate anniversary dates with other people, because I’m pretty sure I’d be getting a lot of wooden bowls or cutting boards. Or wood statues …

Why am I bringing this up? Because today, my friends, is my fifth blogiversary. Or rather “Blog O’Versary” since it’s St. Patty’s Day. (Luck o’ the Irish to y’all …)

It’s funny, because my goal was to reach 500 posts by today. I figured … hey, why not celebrate two milestones at once.

Except, well … I somehow missed that 500 milestone about 11 posts ago. Amazing, considering I haven’t been writing much lately.

It’s been difficult, I must admit, to write lately. Work has me on a crazy schedule and I’ve had waay to many personal issues that I’ve been obsessing over lately. So that leaves me little time to sit and write.

Think I'll celebrate with one of these!

I’m hoping to make some changes in the next few weeks that will allow me to write a little more, but right now it’s just a glimmer of hope. So if the kind blogosphere could send a quick prayer up to the heavens above that this glimmer become more of a flame to light my way to a better change in my life, I’d very much appreciate it.

I realize I’m being vague about what I want to change, but I just ask that you stick with me and pray for the change that I need. If things do go the way I hope it does, then I promise I will tell you more.

Anyway, just wanted to write my little ditty for the week and … WTH … brag to people that I’ve managed to keep this blog alive for five years!

Thanks to all of you that are still out there reading … I can’t tell you (in words) how much it means to me.

Lazy Sunday

The title of this post says it all. And you know what? Me and my skinny hamster are perfectly fine with it. In fact, she’s taking a snooze as we speak.

I got some pretty good advice from people after putting up my last post. (Thanks, oh internet peeps!) One of them told me to cut myself some slack, so today (actually this whole weekend) was about doing so.

No worrying about the upcoming travel or all the expectations of new stuff going on at work. No obsessing over relationships and how to “fix” them. No freaking out about how completely messy the house is.

Just me and Hubby; watching a movie, grabbing some Dim Sum, and clearing out our saved TV shows on our DVR.

It’s been a while since I’ve done nothing but the bare necessities and it feels good. Usually I save those days for when I feel completely sick or run down.

And maybe I’m already at the latter … run down and exhausted. But these two days have been restful, relaxing and much needed.

Perhaps I’ve got to do these kind of days more often .

Thanks-IF-ing

Going through Infertility has brought me many things in my life; both good and bad. But seeing that today is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share with you what I’m actually thankful that Infertility has given me. So here’s my list:

  1. The Weight: With all those pills and shots taken over the years, I can thank IF for all that added weight gain. Of course, it’s also my un-doing that I refuse to eat any healthier or exercise any more than needed to get rid of my “not-so-pregnant” belly! On an upswing? Bigger boobs. 😛
  2. Speaking of shots … oh, those wonderful shots! I can thank IF for all the bruised areas on my thighs and abdomen I had when going through those medicated cycles. It’s not so much that I don’t know how to give a shot — I *am* a Registered Nut — I mean Nurse. It’s more the fact that I can proudly poke myself like a human pin cushion and not be scared about it anymore. In fact, if I had to do it again … Nah, nevermind.
  3. Speaking of needles … I’d like to thank my body for producing enough blood so that those vampires — I mean Phlebotomists — can take all the vials of blood they need to run their tests. But I also want to thank those blood-suckers — I mean Phlebotomists — for being so kind and patients; especially when I was having a particularly rough day.
  4. In fact, I’m thankful for all those health care workers (from the nurses, to the receptionist … even the Ultrasound tech) for being so wonderful. In the throes of IF, I may have shot imaginary daggers at your back or given you dirty looks when you weren’t looking … but reflecting back on those moments, you have all been so kind to me.
  5. In fact, there have been lots of kind folks out there that I should be thankful for. Many of them are you, as readers of my humble blog. I’ve “met” the most compassionate women out in the blogosphere that “get me” sometimes more than the people I know IRL (in real life). So to you … my readers and commenters, both past, present and future … I’m grateful that you’ve graced my life.
  6. For those folks that I know IRL that have been willing to listen to my stories of Infertility … I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me. For so long, I did not have anybody (but Hubby, of course) to listen to our “War Stories” … so for anyone IRL that has lent me their ears or provided me with the empathy I so desperately needed, I am forever in you debt.
  7. I’m also indebted to Infertility for giving me back the gift of writing. It’s something I’ve always loved to do as a young kid, but something that I could never take on as a “career.” So I’m thankful for my tiny space in the Cyberworld where I can continue to write (as often or as seldom as I’d like) about my world; about my feelings. And about my thoughts, as crazy as they can be.
  8. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for writing about my Infertility, I wouldn’t have been able to come to some sort of closure with my Infertility journey … even if it wasn’t the outcome I expected. So there. I’m thankful that writing about IF has opened up a new path to my “new” future.
  9. Not only am I thankful for my blog and the ability to write … I will always be thankful for those IRL family and friends that read and acknowledge my blog. For the longest time, this blog was the only way that I could tell people about my Infertility so that I could “save face” in my culture. Knowing that I could still tell my story and yet not feel ostracized in the presence of my family and those Filipino family friends has been an absolute Godsend. It has given me strength in the midst of adversity.
  10. But the most important thing I’m grateful that Infertility gave me is my relationship with my husband. Nothing more has tested our wedding vows more than Infertility has. It brings new meaning to the words “In sickness and in health” and “For better or worse.” I know many couples that can say the same thing and have gone through adversities (even those who had gone through other crises other than Infertility) that know exactly what I mean. My marriage is stronger because of Infertility and my love for Hubby has grown deeper than I ever thought it would. It’s thanks to Infertility that I know the meaning of unconditional love; one that will last through the test of time … with or without children in our lives.

So those are the things that I’m grateful that Infertility has given me. I’m sure I can come up with more things to be thankful about … and not necessarily good things, but I’m trying to stay  on the positive side these days. So I think I’ll leave those parts out.

How about you, oh IF internet peeps? What are you thankful that Infertility has given you?

And for those non-IF folks … it is Thanksgiving, after all. Tell me what you’re thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

 

Cemetery Gates

Dad, circa 1968

I visited my Dad’s grave alone for the first time last week. It wasn’t something I specifically went out of my way to do … I just felt compelled to go there one cold morning.

I had just dropped Hubby off at his new place of employment and had nothing on my own work schedule until a 12:00 pm meeting. And since I had been in Chicago, I hadn’t had a chance to visit Dad for the past two weeks.

I don’t know what the “etiquette” (if there is one)** for how often one should visit a loved one’s gravesite. I’ve never had to deal with a direct relative’s (let alone a parent) passing before; never had a relative buried in close proximity to where we lived.

The closest experience I had to losing someone I felt incredibly close to was well over 20 years ago. And when I look back now, I have to believe that being part of my Godmother‘s journey — especially that last year when I was a Senior in High School — is what pushed me to believe I could make a good nurse. Or at the very least, she taught me to be compassionate in the midst of pain and sorrow.

After her passing, my Mom and I made it a point to visit her at least once a month. But as I had started university that fall, I must admit that the visits started to become more scarce. In fact, the last time I visited her grave was 11 years ago during the funeral of another close family friend. Even after all those years of not visiting my Godmother, I couldn’t help but open those floodgates once I saw her gravestone.

Hubby clears a path to Dad ...

Since my Dad’s passing, I’ve made it a point to try to visit him once a week. Usually it’s on a Sunday after Mass with my Mom, followed by brunch and a trip out to the cemetery. Regardless of the weather … and believe me, there were those horrible Snow-maggedon days this past winter … I’d be at the cemetery. Hubby even went with me during the three weeks my Mom was in the Philippiness, just so that I wasn’t alone.

It’s now been close to 4 months now, since my Dad died. Every time we’ve been to the cemetery, I still feel the unexpected loss of my Dad. I might not shed a tear when I’m physically there at his grave site (perhaps to appear “strong” in front of my Mom?), but once we’re a distance from the cemetery, I still break down in tears. I still feel the intense sadness I did the first time I visited Dad’s new living quarters; which happened in the dark of night, less than a week after his burial.

This week I believe that I was compelled to go to the cemetery on my own; not because I hadn’t gone in two weeks. But rather, because I wanted to test how strong I could be; if I could survive going at it alone. I wanted to know if I could be strong enough to cry in front of him and still be able to pick myself up and drive away. After all, if it wasn’t for my Hubby during that first late-night visit, I might have spent the night on top of Dad’s grave.

So with a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee in my hand (it was 20-some degrees outside at 8:30 am, after all), I walked from my car to Dad’s grave. I told him some funny stories and told him how much I missed him. And I cried. And cried. And cried.

Afterwards, I picked myself up, said a few prayers, and walked back to my car. I sat in the car for a bit, warming myself up and drying my face off from my frozen tears. And after a few minutes, I drove away.

So now I know: I am strong enough to go to the cemetery on my own. However, I also know that I’m still raw inside; I’m still tender around my heart.

And I wonder if it’s ever going to go away***.

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

** What do you think, oh Internets? Anybody who has had experience in losing a parent … how often did you visit them in the beginning? And …

*** Will the intensity of how I feel right now ever go away?

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

One of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. EVER.

New Directions

I had a life plan.

Never mind the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life (at least in regards to a career), but by the time I was 15 years old I had a general sense of how I wanted my life to turn out.

I wanted to get married by the time I was 25 years old and have my first child by the age of 27.

And because I had this notion that thirty years was a ginormous age gap between my last child and myself, my goal was to quit “baby-making” by the time I was 30 years old. This notion came from the first hand experience of a 15 year old who not only dealt with a big generational gap but a cultural gap as well.

But yeah; I’d have all the kids I could bring into this world before I turned 30 years old.

Obviously, this life plan never panned out. I mean … geez. I even pushed “actively trying” for that first child into my mid-30’s. We had already gone through all the infertility treatments we could (financially and emotionally) put ourselves through. We had even seriously considered other options to bring a child into our lives; either through domestic adoption or international adoption.

But in the end, Hubby & I made the decision to move on with our lives without children.

*****

There have been many reasons why Hubby & I decided to close the door on the quest to have children. One of which was to regain some sanity in our lives.

Living in 28-day increments, in which any given moment can produce the tiniest bit of hope, can be exhausting. Especially when the next given moment can quickly turn into a major disappointment. I won’t lie … it has been incredibly nice  to step away from living in four weeks of constantly worrying about whether or not I’ll see two pink lines.

Another reason was obviously to start moving on with our lives; to start planning a “new future” without children.

When that “life plan” I dreamed of at the age of 15 was completely derailed by infertility, I know I spent a lot of time and energy trying get it “back on track” … In other words, I fought tooth and nail not to head down the child-free “railroad track” that my life was already on.

Making the decision to move on with our lives was not an easy decision. But when we finally decided on the child-free path — this “railroad track” (if you will) — it was as if I could finally allow my life to move forward in the direction that my life and our marriage was already on. I could finally stop struggling to get “back on track” and accept that perhaps we were never meant to be on that particular “track” at all.

****

A "chance" photo, shot during our trip to Banff,  Alberta

A "chance" shot taken from the road in Banff, Alberta

****

Today I turn 38 years old. I’m obviously very far from where I thought I’d be by now; in that “life plan” I concocted at the age of fifteen.

If my life turned out as I planned it to be, I would have had at least one child somewhere between the ages of 7 to 10 years old. And I probably would have begun to think of returning to the work force after being a Stay-At-Home mom once the 7 year old started first grade.

But it’s not … and today I can finally say that I’m actually really okay with it. Maybe it has to do with age, but I’m finally to a point where I no longer have focus on the dream or “life plan” I had always had in my mind.

Instead, I can finally accept that this is where Hubby & I are meant to be at this exact moment in time. And we can forge forward in this new uncharted direction in our lives.

Bullet The Blue Sky

It’s another warm and sunny day here in Chicago; been like this since last week. Not that I’m complaining … I’m just hoping the Blue Skies stay through the Memorial Day weekend. Especially in Detroit.

Anyway, because I’m admittedly lazy today, I’ll have to do one of those bullet updates as to what I’ve been up to. Because contrary to popular belief, I’ve been a bit occupied.

  • Applied for every Case Management position available in the Hospital and Health Insurance settings in both Chicago and Detroit
  • Never received any phone calls from any companies located  or based in Chicago
  • Received calls and set up a few interviews with companies located in Detroit
  • Interviewing by phone today for the position which requires traveling (cross fingers, peeps!)
  • In the mean time, helping Hubby’s friend out with populating pages for WordPress-powered websites and getting paid to do this. Woo-hoo!
  • Somehow knew my blogging skills would get me some sort of work … 🙂

Anyway, wish me luck on the interview I’ve got scheduled for this afternoon. This is the one that I really would love to try out. It combines my clinical knowledge and my love of teaching/training. And, if I should be so luck to get it, would allow me to live anywhere as long as I’m close to a major airport. So … once we have our house sold, Hubby & I can look at moving further west!

I promise, more witty and inspiring posts at a later date.

A Folgers Moment

Hubby & I are back in Michigan for a few days; and I must admit that it’s good to be home. Especially after the past couple of weeks, post-employment.

Would LOVE this view with my Morning Java ...

I won’t lie. I’ve been completely stressed out over the unemployment issue. Between Hubby not getting paid in a timely manner (despite working non -stop on multiple jobs for the past few weeks) and me not bringing any income … we’ve been up late and night worrying about finances. And my job hunt has been painstakingly slow (well, at least in my eyes anyway).

So being in Michigan … and not having to be back to return on Monday to a non-existent job … has been nice. Minus the multiple loads of laundry we’ve brought back with us and cleaning up around the house we now consider our “home away from the city”, we should be able to relax … even for just a little bit.

We came home yesterday afternoon in time for Tyler’s Confirmation; where Hubby was given the honor of being his Sponsor. Afterward, we spent time at the In-Laws trying to convince Kairi that we were, indeed the same Auntie & Uncle she visited earlier in April. And after dinner, we spent time trying to sharpen Tyler’s Scrabble skills by playing a couple of games. So by the time we arrived back at our house, it was pretty late and it took all of a few moments before the dog was fed and we were in bed for the night.

Hubby & I crashed so hard that when the alarm I set on my phone went off this morning, I picked my phone up and “answered” it. And while I admittedly slept well in our wonderful non-IKEA queen-sized bed … I have to admit that I woke up feeling stressed. It’s as the minute my eyes opened, my mind bypassed neutral and went straight into overdrive.

Yeah. I’m that pitiful.

In any case, after a few moments of tossing and turning in bed I got up to take a very anxious Kozzy out for her morning business. After all, If I couldn’t calm myself down … the least I could do was calm Pacey McPacer down. So I took puppy-girl and headed out our front door. As she did her business next to a couple of bushes on our front lawn, I sat on our porch to take in the morning air. Then Kozzy decided to do the same thing; laying on the grass to bathe in the morning sunshine. It was … the most relaxing moment I’ve had in a looong time.

And because I had to share the moment with my best friend, I went back in and grabbed Hubby. We sat there for a spell, taking in the sights and sounds of a beautiful Sunday morning and absorbing the tranquility of our surrounding. No trains passing by in the distance, no traffic down the street … no taxis honking at the cars in front of them. Other than the sounds of birds chirping and the slight breeze passing by, it was so quiet.

A Couples Massage would be nice right about now ...

Unfortunately, we had places to be by lunch so we reluctantly went back in. Even Hubby agreed that it was a nice calming moment … saying that the only thing that would make it better is if we could go to the spa and get a massage**. And I couldn’t have agreed with him more!

But wow … what a perfect way to collect our thoughts and start the day. If I could find away to capture that moment and relive it every morning, I totally would. But then I guess this wouldn’t be a moment I’d be able to treasure forever.

I wouldn’t be able to document my own personal “Folgers Moment” …

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

** The irony? Our Kozzy-girl is the one with a Spa Day. She gets to go to the groomer tomorrow and get a bath and her nails trimmed … or, as I’ve been calling it, a “Pedi-Pedi”! Is it wrong that I’m jealous?!

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)

Westward Wind

Well, I was right. Today’s small victory was that I made it out of bed today … especially since we didn’t get home from our midnight screening of Iron Man 2 until about 3 am this morning.

Oh wait … I said that I’d be out of bed this morning at a decent hour. Yeah. That didn’t happen until … well, let’s just say it was after noon.

Although, I do admit that Hubby & I took turns trying to calm our dog Kozzy down from all the horrible lightning and thunder that started after we got home from the movies. Our poor girl … she totally hates thunderstorms; and this morning’s storm was a wicked one.

This commercial makes me crack up. Every. Time!

So yeah, that’s my excuse for climbing back into bed at 9 am and staying in there with Hubby until well past noon.

Let’s see … real accomplishments. Hmm … started to follow Ferris Bueller on Twitter? Managed to eat an entire bowl of fettuccini alfredo? Cashed in a coupon for a free beverage at the Border’s Cafe?

Okay … seriously. My real victory today was finally realizing that I could look for jobs in whatever city Hubby & I would like to live. I mean realistically I knew this, but to actually put it into action and start applying outside of Chicago or Michigan? Yeah … that only started today.

Where are we looking at? Well our dream has always been to live in Hawaii … but even *I* know that’s not feasible at the moment. (Plus, there weren’t many RN Case Manager jobs out there. I should know; I checked!) But we’ve also had the dream of moving out to the West Coast. Seattle or Portland, to be specific.

Probably more Portland, if I was being honest. After all, moving to a big city like Chicago where I’ve been exposed to a handful of … ahem … back-stabbing, career-driven people, I’m finding myself a little more hesitant to move to another big(ger) city like Seattle.** And Portland just seems to be more “our pace” and our lifestyle. So yeah … living in the “Rose City” (or in its vicinity) would be right up our alley.

So imagine my surprise when I found a few jobs out that way that would fit my current career path. So I’ve now gone about and applied for them.

Who knows what will become of those applications, but at least I can say that I’ve tried. And if nothing ever does come out of it; well then maybe moving out west isn’t what’s in our cards at the moment.

But we will make it out west one day. We will follow that proverbial “Yellow Brick Road” out to Portland or the “Emerald City.” Because that’s our dream … our goal. And it’s always good to have a goal in mind, right?

Yep; trying to remain positive amidst all of this chaos.

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

** Perhaps this is just reflective of my ‘tude at the moment after being “burned” by this place … Otherwise, I know that I love this city.

The Wicked Don’t Rest

Lest you think I’ve been resting on my laurels** this past week, I’ve been actually quite productive.

Apparently a "laurel" is a flower

Well, okay … except for the first few days where, I guess you can say, I was storing up my reserves. Yeah. That’s what I was doing.

<Quickly throws piles of tissue on bed and sofa into the pockets of her pajama bottoms … >

Seriously though, Monday morning I spent some time sorting out some paperwork and making a few important phone calls. And Tuesday, I spent the day updating and rewriting parts of my resume.

Yesterday was spent online all day searching for jobs that match my career history and filling out tons*** of applications. And today … well, it’s slowed down a bit; but at least I put more out there.

The other important thing I did was update my LinkedIn page. Oh, and ask for some recommendations from previous peers. Hopefully this will come in handy in helping me, at the very least, get some interviews.

And then there's THIS Laurel ...

So that, my dearies … is my small victory of the day.

Tomorrow’s? Most likely getting out of bed at a decent hour; seeing that Hubby & I are treating ourselves to a midnight showing of Iron Man 2.

Hey, gotta have some fun now. Don’t I?!

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

** What IS a “laurel”**** anyway?!

*** Okay, I exaggerate a bit. Maybe more like a quarter-ton.

**** Huh. Just found out that the “laurel” referred to in the idiom is interpreted  as an achievement. Guess I haven’t been resting on them; seeing that unemployment isn’t exactly an “achievement” to be proud of …

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