Friday, June 29, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

broken. revisited...

although i've been unhappy for a while living here, i think the genesis of my latest reality check happened when i met a dear longtime friend of mine for lunch a couple of weekends ago.

i hadn't seen her in a while. i knew that she'd moved on from chicago to a bigger and better life in los angeles and i sincerely thought that we'd go to lunch and it (her success as a single woman) really wouldn't bother me... i really thought that i'd come home from lunch and say, "wow. i'm so glad that things have turned out so great for her. and so glad that things have turned out so great for me. and it's so great that i don't really want her life. that i don't regret any decision that i've made."

but then, we went to lunch. we talked. we gossiped. we reminisced. we ate. we shopped. we said goodbye. and then i got home and i could barely stop myself from crying whenever i thought about her. it's not that i regret any decision i've made. but, she has a pretty great life. she travels often - domestically and abroad. she's makes a good living from being a costume designer. she had many a tale to tell. she looked fantastic. and she was as confident as a lioness.

and i was and am jealous. it's weak of me and i hate to admit to it but there it is. i may not regret my choices, but i can wonder what might've been if i'd stuck with costume design or fashion design or writing my book... what happened to my own confidence? when was the last time i was in a position to witness and then recount a good juicy story? where did my own unique fashion sensibilities go? (ha. snort.)

then, last week, one of the few businesses that i supported in our neighborhood, hands on art children's museum, closed for business. the museum was a wonderful place to dream BIG. the paloma celebrated her second birthday there. i'l'l never forget when she gleefully painted with her feet there. we've met some wonderful kindred spirits/families there too. i heard thru the weird neighborhood grapevine that the landlords had raised their rent three times. apparently, they would rather have three empty store fronts than a children's art museum. it's always been abundantly clear that this neighborhood did not think this museum nor the larger world of visual arts were that important. so, on the last day, i went over there to say thanks and goodbye to the executive director and the paloma's teacher... i wrote a short note because i knew i would probably unplug the dam, if i opened my mouth. then, both her teacher and the director read my note and started crying... it was awful. the world just stopped there with the three of us hugging and hiding our tears, trying not to completely lose it in front of the kids. this neighborhood can make anything happen - if you know the right people or if you "fit in".

so besides the insult that is the loss of the museum and the added injury that was the reminder of my lost independence and self, the other things i don't like (in random order) about this neighborhood came floating back to the top:

* my neighbors - like the one who says things like "i'm going to the chinaman's to pick up the cleaning." (btw - the cleaner he's talking about is korean. and no, he doesn't say "i'm going to the mic's for beer.") or the other one who doesn't have any problem using the n word around her children. or the one who didn't think i spoke english (he's african american). the ones in a local "community organization" who got in trouble in the 70s for buying houses in the area because they didn't want the hispanics to move in. (they still call you to complain if you put a for sale sign on your lawn.) or the one who was running for alderman that said, "there are no hispanic or asian issues in our area because there are no hispanics or asians living in our area." or the kids who ask my kids questions like "where were you born?" (no greeting, no salutation, no nothing.)

* very few businesses - there are a handful of really cool businesses this way. and i support them as much as i can. it's the northsider in me. i'm used to walking everywhere and never needing to go further than i have to to get everything i need. in logan square, where i grew up, there was a fully stocked grocery, a drug store, a movie theatre, restaurants, clothing stores, shoe stores, etc... the only thing i remember not having nearby was a bookstore. (we always went downtown to kroch's & brentanos. ) here, i can get most things but for the most part i have to make special trips or order online. for every one kind of retail business we may have in this neighborhood, a north side neighborhood will probably have three more. the north side neighborhoods seem to sustain themselves whereas this neighborhood would rather get in a car and go to neighboring suburbs with their mega malls.

* no restaurants - there are no family friendly restaurants within walking distance. some don't even deliver. i'm trying to learn to cook more meals, but it would be nice to have a nearby restaurant as an option. the thin man almost always has to pick up our ordered meals. don't get me started on the quality of the the two chinese places we have. and we actually have to drive to the suburbs or another neighborhood to get decent mexican food.

looking back now, we were so spoiled when we lived in lincoln square and the south loop. so, if you live there now... DO. NOT. MOVE.

anyway... the kids are rousing and waking from their naps. so i have to cut this short. again.

for those of you who commented and emailed me - i can't thank you enough for coming to the rescue of this distressed damsel... your supportive words and gestures have really meant a lot to me and have gotten me thru... well, A WHOLE NIGHT AND DAY SO FAR! YAY, YOU! :) i really felt like someone heard and understood what i was trying to say and saw where i was coming from and could relate and commiserate... i LOVES all y'all in my blogging posse!

i realized today that it's been especially tough for me lately with all my local (IRL) girlfriends (the 5 or so that i have) who are going thru their own unscheduled dramas - new pregnancies, new babies, new houses, new boyfriends, new jobs, etc... i guess i'm going through some major "sistah withdrawal".

i'm still not sure about the whole job thing... i really don't want to work. i love being a stay at home mom to my kids - most of the time. i just want to feel like i'm the best mom i can be instead of feeling inferior to all the moms who drive. and the bottom line is i just don't want to live here anymore - getting a job really wouldn't change that. a former longtime resident of the neighborhood said to me, "consider yourself a pioneer in the neighborhood. you know what they say about pioneer life? it ain't easy." i'm still processing that one.

there is some good news - i started my new ceramics class last night which was VERY cool... the students were pretty involved in their projects but that's ok, i'm there to learn ceramics. i'll have to post pics of the two trays i built as soon as they're fired up and all pur-tee.... the class only lasts six weeks, but i think i'm going to continue to take night or weekend classes in one interest or another. then, i was asked to contribute to another blog, filipina moms - thanks, MJ! and last but not least, the cicadas should be completely gone by july 4th (HOO-RAH!) which means my self imposed house arrest will be lifted. (seriously, i have been afraid to leave the house for almost six weeks. enotmophobe. long cockroach infested story.)

and today, the paloma had her first day of play camp. i was worried when i left her with her camp counselor who didn't look like he was into ballet or pink stuff or princesses. but, she LOVED it. and then, she high-fived him when we left without any coaxing from me. she'll be attending that three times week. and possibly, kid yoga, once a week.

hopefully, things are turning around... please stick around and i'll keep you posted.

Monday, June 25, 2007

broken.

so. it's finally come to this. i have to find a job.

i hate where we live. i hate it so much that i'm feel like if i don't get out of this area for a certain number of hours everyday i will blow my brains out.

and we can't afford to move - financially, physically, emotinally. this neighborhood is a great place to live and raise children... if you drive. which i don't. and frankly, it's also great if you're caucasian or african american.... if you're anything else, you're a minority and you feel like it - well, i certainly do.

i don't even know why i'm blogging about this... i hate to talk about it. i hate to think about it. i've exhausted all my real life friends and family with it... but it's the only thing that's on my mind and i feel like a weed has implanted itself into and wrapped tighly around my core. i feel trapped. i can't leave. i can't stay.

i hate the idea of going back to work to a job that won't pay me enough to justify my working... a job that will reduce me to a mindless cog in a machine.... i can't think of a job that would fulfill me and pay me enough. i can't think of a job that would pay me enough that would fulfill me.

the thin man said yesterday, "you're just not happy being a mom." he's right. i'm not happy being a mom that i'm not and trying to be someone i'm not EVERYDAY... i want to be the mom i am - an independent city mom who doesn't drive. and i can't. not while living here. my children deserve better than what they're getting from me now... resentment, anger, fear, depression, frustration...

it's hard for me to admit but the reality is someone else will do a better job of caring for my own children than me.

it's been very difficult to blog lately. i find it hard to open up and talk IRL or online... i'm trying to put on a good show, i'm trying really hard to keep it together... to be patient... to see the bright side...

but i feel completely broken.

Friday, June 22, 2007

tough week...

i was desperate for a laugh... here's an oldie but a goodie...

happy friday, everybody!


Friday, June 15, 2007

Down In Front! Passenger Side!

just an fyi - i have a new post up at chicagomomsblog.com called "Down in Front! Passenger Side!"

i'm sorry there's been a blogging lag again - i am still treading water... this being our second week out of school.... trying to re-invent the wheel develop something resembling a schedule... while avoiding cicadas... and staying sane....

i'm hoping to post something special and original for father's day but if i don't get to it:

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! to my papa, my stepdad and my beloved thin man and all ye o'er hep daddios! xoxoxoxo

Thursday, June 07, 2007

chicago filipino events - june 2007


june 9 - bowling tournament at classic bowl, 8530 w waukegan road, morton grove, 847.965.5300

june 10 - philippines independence motorcade @ 5200 n. lakeshore dr, (foster avenue beach ?)

june 10 - philippines independence picnic - labagh woods, foster & cicero

june 10 - (and every 2nd sunday of the month) tagalog mass at st james catholic church

june 12 - 9:00 am, philippines independence day flag raising, daley center, washington @ clark

june 16 - philippine independence week committee gala dinner & ball, hyatt regency o'hare

june 16 - kalayaan dinner, ball and queen coronation, wyndham hotel

june 17 - the songwriter & the songbird musical @ pickwick theatre, 7pm, 5 s. prospect, park ridge, il.

june 30 - appreciation / awards night @ chandler's banquets


* that's a t-shirt above that i bought at cafe press here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

AlterKNITS



i forgot to mention that last week, i had the opportunity to do a knitting workshop with Leigh Radford, author of AlterKNITS and Oneskein, at my wonderful local yarn shop, My Sisters Knits.

i had seen the book numerous times before and loved how imaginative and innovative the projects were. i hadn't ever taken a closer look because the projects seemed to be a little advanced for someone at my level, but i always wanted to try knitting them eventually especially, the crepe paper crown, the paper lanterns and the recycled t-shirt rugs.

so, when i heard that she was coming to do two workshops. i jumped at the chance to meet her and excercise some creative process. it. was. awesome.

in the beginning of the workshop, she showed us samples and works in progress of projects in her books - some examples were made from recycled/felted thrift shop sweaters, shibori felting techniques and unusual kntting materials like fabric strips of silk or t-shirt jersey. she talked about "knitting outside the box" and challenging one's perceptions about knitting and how to knit and what to knit with and why.... she asked us to write down why we didn't feel we were able to complete the "ultimate" project a small post it note. then, she gathered up the notes and threw them in the trash. :) later, she recalled that a former student actually knitted with tulip leaves after taking the workshop...

then, came the hands on portion of the workshop. there were numerous brown paper lunch sacks on the large conference table we were seated around. leigh asked us to pick one out and open it up. inside each of the sacks was some random material that could be knitted. my bag contained some silk fabric strips, other knitters found jersey t-shirt strips, fishing line, tulle, crepe tissue paper, mylar ribbon and audio cassette tape. after casting on and knitting a few rows, we talked about how easy or difficult it was to knit with and possible options for projects or stitches/patterns. then, we picked another bag. my second bag contained fine gauge copper wire, other knitters found pipecleaners, tennis racket line and raw untwisted yarn (i forget what that's called).

afterwards, we did something akin to a writers exquisite corpse. we all cast on about 20 stitches and then picked knitting instructions out of a hat. the exercise was to show how we could come up with interesting organic shapes without guides.

then, we did two exercises re: color theory. in the first exercise, we picked random collages/layouts from magazines and picked yarn butterflies to imitate the color pallettes in the layouts. then, we either culled or added to the pallette. it was interesting to see what colors i was drawn to and also what colors were obviously the primary colors and which were accent colors.

the second exercise was really interesting. we closed our eyes and picked three balls of yarn from a bag. then, leigh provided us with a pretty easy (fair isle sorta) pattern that combined the three yarns... it was really enlightening to see which trios actually looked good together and which didn't. some were obviously going to turn out as good trios, and others... not so much.

i only enrolled in the first workshop (because i had already done shibori work, which was the focus of the following evening's workshop) but after that class i was really disappointed that i hadn't signed up for it.

so, if you're remotely interested in creative process ('cause even as an illustrator and writer, i definitely found myself drawing parallels) i highly recommend that you seek out a workshop with leigh radford. she's so knowledgeable, so accomplished, so open to sharing ideas and techniques and just a lovely, friendly, funny, nice person to meet. you really won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 04, 2007

first day of summer vacation...


it's only 10:30 am and already i want to kill myself. there is NO WAY i will survive until september.... the epitaph on my headstone will read:

"here lies mamazilla, who lost her battle
with glitter glue and googly eyes"

UPDATE: after i wrote this post, i started thinking more about summer vacations past and wrote "what i did on my summer vacation" on chicagomomsblog.com

Friday, June 01, 2007

you know you need a date with your husband when...

...you both are (self) diagnosed with "babysitteri apatheticus".

the thin man and i are getting better and better at pursuing our personal interests and activites outside of the home, parenting and our marriage... soon, he'll be returning to playing volleyball once a week, possibly more. he's also been to a handful of chicago sporting events. he's hoping to golf a little more too. i have been able to attend concerts, speaking engagements, girls nights out and knitting workshops and later this summer, i'll be taking a ceramics class once a week.

however, years ago, when we first met and throughout most of our dating life, the thin man and i would dance at least five nights a week. we met in the fall of 1997 at a lindy hop level 1 dance class at the metronome dance studio in san francisco. among the many things we found we had in common, we also shared a love of lindy hop and music. and since then we've been together, our pendulum in constant swing (no pun intended) between war, restoration and peace.

we used to be able to explain to others and to ourselves that we couldn't go out dancing or to a movie or to pursue any of the interests that ultimately made us the multifaceted people we loved being and fell in love with because the paloma or the pork chop were too young to leave with babysitters.... we used to be able to explain that we couldn't find a babysitter. now, the reality is neither the thin man nor myself is really ready to leave them with sitters, which in this neighborhood are in abundance.

we say we are ready. we are intellectually ready. but, we TOO easily talk ourselves out of calling the neighbors' teenaged daughters or even family members whom we all trust implicitly. it's not logical. we know our neighbors' daughters well enough and they all possess great references. most of our family members have children of their own, the same ages as ours. but, the fear that something unforeseeable might happen, that we might be out too late, that we might not give the sitter enough notice, etc... it's just easier for us to pawn babysitting duty to one another. the sitter is reliable, trustworthy, free, can make dinner, is loved by the kids, doesn't need a ride home, etc... see? babysitteri apatheticus.

we're still talking and talking about taking a weekend trip to new york city. just the two of us. the impetus was one FREE plane ticket that the thin man received during a promotion for an airline. i think he got it a year ago and we're still talking about it. so, maybe we need to take baby steps. maybe winning a $100 amex gift card and $100 cash for a babysitter is just the kick in the pants that we need. 'cause i'm so happy that we're slowly getting to do the things that nuture us as people. but, i really miss doing all the other things that help us cultivate and nurture our relationship as a couple.

This post is part of a Blog Blast sponsored by E-Harmony Marriage, a new online alternative to marriage counseling and Parent Bloggers Network. If you'd like a chance to win a $100 Amex Gift Card for a date out with your spouse/partner plus $100 cash for a babysitter, Click here for more info!

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