Family…

Anytime a holiday comes around I have mixed emotions about it, whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or any other family-oriented holiday.  Yesterday, which was Father’s Day, was no different. My father and I had not spoken in a few weeks and he had been on a trip to see distance cousins on his side of the family, so I gave him a few days to get resettled into his routine and called him for Father’s Day.

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

After a few messages back and forth to find a good time to call, I finally called around dinner time. I got to hear about his trip to Washington state for the his cousin’s wife’s memorial and about his visits with other members of their family. I am glad to hear that his trip went well and that he enjoyed himself.  However, I am not glad that the conversation had to include digs about my mother’s side of the family and (implied) comparisons about the successful of other people’s children. We are all different people, and what makes me happy may not make someone else happy. We can’t also be astrophysicists.

I know, this is a Father’s Day phone call so it should not be about me. The same way many phone calls and text messages with him should not include complaints and derogatory language about my mother/his wife.  This discourages me from communicating  as frequently as others I know communicate with their fathers – because the effort to keep in touch and to let him know that I care is sometimes a less than rewarding experience, and rather a stressful and/or hurtful experience. The same goes for my mother, too, except that in between the concerns about my father there are a few newsbytes or lighthearted pop culture references.

Overall, it was a successful phone call, with my father enjoying a chance to talk about his dog rescue friends and his travels, and appreciating that I honored him on Father’s Day.     I am glad that he is finally starting to take better care of his health.  Families are complicated…

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Here comes the heat!

I love the warm weather and sunshine in Central Texas…. but 100 degrees Fahrenheit is more than a little warm, it’s downright HOT!!!

I don’t mind sweating either. What I have trouble with is the shocking adjustment from heat outside to frigid air conditioning inside everywhere I go.  Dress accordingly to avoid overheating bring a sweater for going to stores and restaurants and drink lots of water.

WELCOME TO SUMMER,

Going Home Part II

In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside.  What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball! 

The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit to feelings. I admit, I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of the city and Illinois, It was tough to see all of the places I missed. Watching around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of people that hate each other. It was also great to see a dear friend with whom I used to work and to chat with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.

I living in Central Texas for many reasons, but the food is not one of them. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own. Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the greater Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas if you want shopping, movies, and other activities, and this is not just because it is still a growing city, but rather the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief as well that too many people in the  greater Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago.  We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold. 

Anyhow, I looking forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years.  It’ll be good!

 

 

 

Going home… Part 1

I hadn’t been back to Chicago in close to three years until last weekend. The last time I went back to the Chicago area was when my mother-in-law died. I was there with Husband helping to tie up loose ends, discard old, out of date, no longer needed items to be prepare for selling the house, and to attend the funeral. I was there two weeks, and I didn’t want to be there. The little free time I had was spent watching my parents argue and, when my schedule finally allowed for visiting friends, we couldn’t make it happen. It sucked!

Both Husband and I have complicated families, and we  have felt the effects even miles away. I almost cancelled this trip  a day or two after I decided to book the flights because of the drama attached to going home. Ultimately, I chose to go because my Dad needed an angiogram to further assess blockages in his heart. Knowing that Brother and Sister-in-law had just visited,and the possible severity of the situation, I went but did so on my terms.

One of the greatest and most surprising parts of the trip was on the first day when I spent eight hours with my parents and they both made an effort to get along. First, we ate lunch at Wojo’s, a neighborhood hamburger joint. Later on,  my Dad gave me a lesson in how to hold, load, and fire a semi-automatic weapon with a laser target and dummy ammo. This was lots of fun and gave him great joy the day before he ended up getting a stent to clear  two heart blockages. I was also able to spend a lot of time with my Mom at the throughout  the weekend,  and  we were able to eat Beggar’s pizza while watching the White Sox on Saturday. I wish my parents could be those well-meaning people toward each other more often, and live a happy life together… However, I am grateful to have had that time with them.

I found time to walk around Downtown Chicago for a few hours on Saturday afternoon looking at stores,  visiting a few new places (Maggie Daley Park and Dylan’s Candy Bar to name a few), and to visit the Chicago Cultural Center. My Grandfather took my Brother and I to many events there, and sometimes we would just stop to rest in the café sitting area after lots of walking. This was a tough but good stop for me to make, and  it was great to see some art while remembering Grandpa.

All photos taken by Chrellie