Changing tides

I’ve been cooped up in the house all weekend because I’ve been feeling under the weather.  I haven’t really had the energy to do anything much so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,

What am I going to wear on Monday?  Very profound question and unusual considering I usually don’t plan my wardrobe ahead.  Do I wear a skirt?  Which one?  Which pair of boots?  Or do I stick with leggings given it snowed so much today?  I’m still at a loss.

Restaurant week’s still on?  A friend just mentioned it and is asking to meet up near the office to take advantage.  Why not?  Wait, I’m doing shakes for lunch.. Hmmmm.. That’ll mean a shake for dinner, I guess..

#artjournaleveryday : Everyone is allowed to change their minds.  Sometimes we have a change of heart, or we simply decide to go another way. That's how life rolls.#changeyourmind #artjournal #personalart #inkonacrylic #inkandpaper #scribbling #bloggraphiChanged your mind?  That’s a question to the universe.  It seems a lot of parts appeared to be moving in one direction last week and -are now moving in the opposite direction. You can’t fight the tide, so me, I go with the flow.  And I just listen for word in the silence.  I guess when you don’t hear the universe speak, you just brace for the worst.  Then you accept it for what it is, and you move on.

It might also just be a question waiting for an answer.

No fading

No fadingA while back, I started a new category here entitled “The People in My life”, hoping to write about those individuals who may have walked in to say hello, walked past me, or who had decided to stay and have been part of my life since the day they walked in. It just struck me that there are so many people in our lives we often lose track of. People who, whether in a deliberate or very passing way, touch our lives.

I have almost 49 years of those people. I still haven’t quite gotten down to seriously writing a piece about any one, I guess – but a phrase I said to myself the other day struck a chord when thinking of those people. “No fading.”

“Goodbye” seems to have gotten the raw deal when we think about the painful junctures in our lives. When we think about “sad partings”, we think about those times we broke off with someone, someone broke off with us, or when someone left for good to be someplace else. I think that no matter how goodbyes are said, the fact that they are said whether verbally or in action counts for something. There is a finality to it that allows you to put a period at the end of the sentence, instead of those three dots and a question mark. It helps one to move on.

I have said my share of goodbyes. Some were happy – like when I decided to move to New York 15 years ago. Some were sad, like when someone told me that although the feeling would never change, he had to say goodbye. Or when I bid my Dad goodbye on the cellphone as he was about to breathe his last – because he was 10,000 miles away. He couldn’t speak anymore, but I told him I loved him and that I was sorry if I had gotten mad at him, but that I was okay now and no longer angry. And yes, that he could go.. he need not worry about me. That goodbye still makes a knot form in my stomach.. even now as I write here. I have to take a deep breath so the tears won’t come.

But those are goodbyes that were said or made known. Sometimes you don’t need words, but then your actions speak it with finality.  Nothing is left to interpretation. It was goodbye, and that was that.

I think the sadder thing is when people just fade away.

You know how when someone comes and says hello, and you feel like the sun just started shining a tad brighter.. and just when you start believing it’s all good, that person fades away. No warning. No goodbye. Just plain fading. For a time you start thinking maybe this friend will come back. Maybe that’s why there were no goodbyes. Or maybe this friend just wasn’t really a friend after all.  There was a need, and being there met that need – and once the need was gone, so was this friend.

I have been guilty of fading away myself – years ago when I thought I’d be a coward and just slowly disappear. Is there really such a thing as “slowly disappearing?” We choose to disappear — period. We choose to be no longer a part of someone else’s life. Like those friends I might’ve run to when I felt like the rug was being pulled from under me – and while I was not asking them to take sides, they chose to take the safe side and not get involved. (I know I sound bitter here.. maybe because I am.) So I faded.. If I happen to meet them some place, I’d smile. I’d still talk to them, but they are no longer a part of my life just as I walked away from being a part of their lives. I have family that I wanted to hold close, but who, I guess wasn’t in the same frame of mind. No hard feelings. While we can’t choose family, we can choose if we want to be with them or not. So again, I faded.

“No fading.” That should be a rule of thumb between friends. A friend, after all, will always be there — whether 10,000 miles away or within the same time zone. So when someone fades, she’s just not being a friend at all.

We’re all entitled to change our minds. And sometimes, life does happen.  But wouldn’t it be nicer if we can tell the person affected we’ve decided to move on whether in plain language or in a definite action, instead of not saying a word, perhaps mistakenly believing it should be understood. Between friends, goodbyes are never implied. It’s like your boyfriend – you break up.

I’ve only broken up with one friend — someone who was like a sister to me and she and I continue to be estranged. Once upon a time, we just didn’t quite agree on where she thought I was coming from and where I was actually coming from. Major events took place and I was relegated to guest instead of friend or even the sister she professed she always wanted to have. Letters were exchanged — carefully worded, yet very painful — and in the end, we said our goodbyes.

No regrets.  I’ve moved on.  Do I miss her? Sadly, no. I think our friendship and even our sisterhood was meant to end then.

No fading. It simply ended. Perhaps that’s the reason it’s such a final goodbye – because it was actually very pointed and clear.

I try to think of the people who had faded away somehow through the years. Some, I think about wistfully and wish they had not.  Some, I understood the reasons why and leave it just as another one of those friendships or relationships that weren’t meant to be.

I guess I’m thinking about this now more for my benefit and to remind myself to try to be more mindful as I go through life from hereon.  No fading, Dinna..  There are conversations that will have to end.  People you have to say goodbye to.  People who will have to hear, this is it — I’m moving on.  While it may be easier to just stop answering emails or ignoring text messages and phone calls, there will always be that part of the population that needs things to be spelled out in plain and simple terms.  (As BFF Fe says, you have to dumb proof the statement.)  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a matter of kindness.

One final good deed when needed.  Instead of you just turning away, leaving another waiting.  Just think of it this way, if it were you on the other end, wouldn’t you want to be told instead of being left just hanging.  You wouldn’t want to be the one left wondering..

Five things to be thankful for.. on a freezing Tuesday

Wouldn't be complete without Maison Kayser's pistachio eclair. Taste of heaven! #maisonkayser #foodporn #foodtrip #foodtreat #pistachioeclair #midtown #mynewyork #manhattan #40thstreet #lunch #withPeterOI am trying to focus on the positive as I just saw that temps outside are in the single digits.  I am already mentally planning my winter attire today, including how many layers I will be wearing top and bottom.   In the meantime, let me get started and hopefully jumpstart my optimism quotient by typing away.  Again, I try to write this as spontaneously as possible to keep it simple and just so it comes from the heart.

1.  Pistachio eclairs from Maison Kayser.  I’m supposed to be on a diet but I did indulge with Peter O last Saturday and am so tempted to go and drop by later today to grab another one.  If you haven’t tried them, they are absolutely to die for.

2.  Warm winter clothes that make me look fab anyway.  (LOL)  I have had a difficult time trying to look fashionable with my one size bigger winter coats which make me look frumpy.  My favorite fuschia pink coat also needs a replacement.. in the right size.  But I am so happy they keep me warm.

3.  Baileys.  I think of Baileys and I think of as close to chocolate heaven as I can get, but I’m resisting the urge to grab a bottle.

4.  Angelo texting me “I like to text.  I love you, Mama.”  He recently got his own iphone and is happily texting away, in COMPLETE sentences, mind you!

5.  Thinking about being in Manila in a couple of weeks time.  Just plain bliss.

Bundle up and hope everyone has a nice day.. I know I will have one..

Monday Musings – Give me some sunshine

I will overcome: word art on Kraft paper from an art journal entry a year ago. #wordart #artjournaleveryday #artjournal #laseronkraftpaper #kraftscrap #personalart #iwillovercome #determinationBack to the art journaling.  I have been slow with the journaling and started writing entries for the previous week only last night.  After I had finished for the evening, I went over the earlier pages and found myself at this entry I put in a year ago.  (And yes, the second word was broken up into two just to make it fit into a square word art.  I can spell.)

At the time, it was the inner me trying to push myself to go on in the midst of all the challenges that I was trying to cope with.  I felt like I was drowning in anger and pain and I didn’t know which way to go to make myself feel balanced again.  I was having palpitations that were so strong they made me cough — I would sometimes be walking and angry thoughts would overtake my heart and I would be filled with such rage I often found myself on the verge of tears.

I was at the lowest of lows that I told myself I will never say anything was the worst, because the worst might be yet to come.

Did I succeed and pull myself out of my lowest of lows?  I think I did overcome — and I managed to get back on my feet again.  A lot has changed.  A lot in me has changed.  I found me again.

The head strong, confident and practical minded me is back.  Less angry, not as easily hurt, and more focused.  It was a long journey, and I’m still on that journey — but I’ve come very far from where I was a year ago.  Yes, I did.

No one told me about the science projects being part of motherhood.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m used to this — I used to have my brother, Nikki, sit in front of me while I did those projects.  Then when everything had been submitted, I would ask with pride — “What grade did I get?”  I am trying not to be as lenient with Angelo now, so we are doing the projects together.  Science projects can be quite the task to complete even when you are just supervising.

I was told this ends here.. I hope.  Or maybe not.  The project has been finished finally… now Mom can breathe a sigh of relief.

Another freezing week in New York City.  When are we going to see spring?  We didn’t quite get as much snow as last year’s, but the termperatures have been brutally cold.  For the first time in my 15 years here, I saw 1 degree.  I almost turned into a popsicle.  The good thing was, double leggings and double and triple sweaters did the trick.  And I was careful not to breathe in the freezing air except through my infinity scarf.  That helped.. a bit.

So the week has started.  It’s been good — so far.  I’m trying to take things a day at a time.  Monday has been good so far.

Icy Hudson! Yes, it is THAT cold.. #winter #iceontheriver #hudsonriver #winter #winterinnewyork #cold

Journey to “Happy” – You made my day

This snapshot warms my heart as I remember walking this path one cold winter day not too long ago.  Sometimes something so ordinary can bring back a happy memory and it takes you to a happy place tucked somewhere in your heart. a happy thought, a happy plI’ve been meaning to write here the last 10 days.  I’ve been in and out of the site and the app.  I’ve been working on drafts (emphasis on “s”), but it’s just a tad difficult to get a coherent post out.  Or finish one.  Maybe it’s because it’s been soooooo cold in NYC of late that my brain is experiencing a literal “brain freeze”.  (Heaven forbid!  My dream is to grow old like Betty White and still be coherent, alert and still sexy in her 90s..)

I really don’t know how I can be writing here with a splitting headache — and maybe it’s just me trying to will the meds to finally kick in even on my second dose.  But maybe the subject matter will cause my endorphins to outwit the pain racking my head right now and instead bring me to a state of zen.  (Hoping.)

I’ve recently revised my Instagram profile to read:

Dinna. Filipina New Yorker. Passionate about motherhood, life, crafting and creativity.  On a journey to “Happy”.  On Flickr: PinayNewYorker. (emphasis supplied)

Like most people, sometimes I fall prey to the common misconception that “happiness” or “being happy” is always associated with something “big” or “pronounced” — and not “random”, which is usually how we come across this elusive “want” or “need”.  I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes is a simple act, whether to acknowledge a moment of “happy”, or to extend some kindness to another to make them smile.  And isn’t that what “happy” is all about?

That’s why I try to make it a point to say “Good morning” to the people manning the reception desks, whether they are from my company or not.  If I know them by name, I make it a point to greet them.  If I’m otherwise rushing to the second set of elevators taking me to my perch, I try to at least wave and mouth a “hello” or “good morning” to let them know people do notice them, even if the majority do not give a care.  Or I smile as a faint sign of acknowledgment when I meet strangers who take the effort to get out of my way when they see I’m trying to walk past.  Or when someone is wearing something particularly striking, that I mention how I love that magenta coat this stranger is wearing in the building lobby — or those fierce heels that the lady in the elevator in front of me happens to be wearing.  (Shoe love, BFF Fe!)

It doesn’t take much, but it can mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.

It can simply be a genuine smile that lets the other person read the message “I see you, and I like what I see.”  Or a nod of approval or smile that says “You’re awesome!”

The other day, a very elegant and sophisticated lady I work with gave me just that — a bit of kindness and she really made my day.  I’ve known her for as long as I’ve had this boss — three years now — and she always struck me as very well put together.  A stunningly tall African American lady who carried herself with aplomb, every inch the fashionista — and she knew how to pull even the simplest outfit into a real fashion statement.  After all, she was an interior designer by profession — and if you didn’t know what she did for a living, you’d think she was a supermodel.  Her taste for art and fashion were both impeccable.  This was one lady who knew beauty with a capital B-E-A-U-T-Y and she radiated it with a genuine smile every time.

I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months as she shuttles from state to state where there are ongoing projects for the company, and last Wednesday, I bumped into her in this long corridor that guests would go into on their way to the floor proper.  Even from afar, she lit up and exclaimed “You’re looking fabulous!” .. She and I met in the middle and hugged.  I was just happy to see her.. we did small talk and she had to usher her guests in.  I was on the way to do something else.  It was nice to see her again.  I told her she looked fab herself, but she always did!

I went about my day the usual way and on my way home, I did a refresh of the work email app, and there was this one e-mail that caught my attention from this same lady.

Subject metter: YOU…


A giant smile formed on my face.  She didn’t have to, and that she did, meant a lot.  That it was her who said it, meant a lot.  It was as if she had hugged me even tighter this time.  I wrote her a sincere thank you and told her she had made my day..

The next morning, I received a very short but sweet email from another friend which was a very sweet Good morning, wishing me well.. simply like that.  And that, too, made my day.

We all get these little nudges from everywhere around us, but we often fail to stop to recognize them as bits of happy — baby steps or giant leaps to that elusive place we’re all trying to find ourselves in.  Sometimes, you’re already there and you just fail to know it because you’re looking for that one huge dollop of “happy” that will take your breath away.  It isn’t always like that.

I’ve learned to embrace those ‘gifts’ that come each passing day and cherish them for what they are, letting them enrich me even just that one moment — and sometimes, in a more lasting way.  I remind myself I’m in a good place, and happy can be “here” and “right now”.  Being on the receiving end of those ‘gifts’ makes me want to give just as generously to others.  Sometimes, we don’t realize something so routine or simple or non-remarkable act can make someone else’s day and take them to a happy place, even just for a brief moment.

You made my day.

Be kind.  Be happy.  It all comes back to you.  Happy Friday, everyone..

Coming up for Air

Blog graphicsI had a whirl of a morning today. The afternoon doesn’t seem to be any different. I’m taking a moment to look at the fog descending on downtown thinking about the cold spell we’re in for, the next couple of days. I wish my head wasn’t spinning like it is. I’m trying to think of happy thoughts, and hopefully it’ll give me the air I so badly need.

This morning, I came up for air. It was brief.. I kicked in the water and started to feel myself rising to the surface. I let the water carry me up… I look up towards the surface and I could see the sun gleaming above the water. Brighter and brighter. 

Finally, the sun seemed to be within reach.  I raise my hand as if the sun would reach down and pull me up.  I broke the surface and took a big gulp of air… And another .. And another. I looked up at the blue sky above me and I breathed in deeply, the tongues of the waves teasing my skin.  And after the struggle up, I close my eyes and smile.

“That was fun,” I whispered to no one in particular. And I heard the ocean whisper back, “That was fun, indeed.”

I don’t like feeling this way because it makes me seek comfort food. Thankfully, my sugar tolerance seems to be waning in recent months. Where I could gorge on bar after bar of the treat before, now my tastebuds find the usual sweetness too much after a modest helping.  Maybe I’m losing my choco-tolerance.  Is that supposed to be good?  (And I am amused by that thought.. I have a lifetime love affair with chocolate… NEVER!)

Again, I go back to happy thoughts..

… Angelo’s giggly laughter — the one that’s deep and totally amused and innocent..


… freshwater pearls, rose quartz and labradorite.

… going home to Manila in April.

… Ireland in June.  (I have just been told I’m going with the team heading there.. can’t wait!)

… Banana pudding.

… Mom’s macapuno or leche flan.

… Bailey’s on the rocks.

… Being with Fe.. Donna.. Gina.. Ces.. Jonathan.. Dino.. not at the same time please.

… Parrots… Chelsea… Summa… coming up for air.

… butter pecan ice cream.

… Freedoooooommmm.

Let’s stop there or I will be on an artificial high that might just make it all the more impossible for me to get any work done.

Isn’t it amazing how thinking happy and pleasant thoughts can actually lift your spirits up?  Now, if only the same things could get rid of all the things or people who bring us unhappy or negative vibes — that would be perfect.  But life isn’t perfect, is it?  Unfortunately, it is not.

But we can always choose to come up for air.  I did.  And that was fun, indeed.


Warning: This might be a lot of whining instead of plain writing… and I know someone is snickering reading the title of this post.

My "snowmeter" is still buried in snow but I think you can see that the pavement and the street are clear -- for now.  Rain later and snow tomorrow.. Will it ever end?  Spring, where art thou? #firehydrantinthesnow #firehydrant #winter #winterinnewyork #sIt’s been a rather trying weekend, what with a document hanging over my head which, try as I might, I still failed to finish.  BFF Fe tells me I should unleash the legalese and stop trying to be too polite.  While trying to be polite took a lot of effort, trying to be the opposite, took even more.  So I hit “save” and put it away.  I can write spontaneously most of the time — but this is something that just stumps me.  Fortunately, I don’t have a hard deadline to meet.  Even without a “must be done by” date, I am still trying to get it off my list of to-dos because other more important events are tacked on to it.  I racked my brains and I pushed hard.  I rearranged the paragraphs and kept editing.  Still not done.

I have tomorrow.  The document is stewing in my draft folder.

Meanwhile, we’re bracing for snow.  Forecast said by midnight, but it’s quiet and dry outside my window.  I’m praying the forecast is another dud — and none or very little will fall, sparing us the onslaught of more cold weather tomorrow.  I’m already feeling under the weather thanks to having braved the strip mall in Bay Terrace earlier today on a date with my favorite guy.  (How can I refuse?  Plus, I needed a quick trip to the salon for some spa services.  Done!)  I’m self medicating with antibiotics hoping it will work..

And can I just rant some more.. tried booking my trip home, but one of the two airlines — and the airline I was hoping to take based on schedule and mileage accrual for me — just wouldn’t let me make a reservation.  The website kept hanging.  Is anything every going to go right tonight?  (Or this morning, being that it’s after midnight.)

I’m praying I don’t wake up at just before 4am again — I need my sleep.  I am looking forward to a morning workout tomorrow if the weather cooperates and doesn’t hamper the commute to the city.  If I’m late, that’s that.  (Mother Nature, please pay heed..)

Well, my bed beckons.  Come to bed, sister, it says.  Good morning, New York.. safe travels tomorrow and onto Tuesday.  (Travel advisory warned unsafe road conditions from midnight tonight to Tuesday AM.. I need to go to work, please!)


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