My Brooklyn Adventure

Weekend report:  I only had one plan over the weekend and that was to go on an adventure into Brooklyn and pick up some fabric scraps.  Now, I’ve done this before — the freebie fabric pick up, that is.  The first time was somewhere in the Flatiron district which was closer, and I had come carrying a bag although it turned out to be the wrong one to lug around once it was full of fabric.  Lesson learned: a roller luggage would be best.  This time, I came prepared.
#sunset over #Brooklyn .. Took a trip to pick up some #craftmaterials.  Well worth the trip for the haul.. And it was #free!  #myny #mynyc #OnMyWayHome #lookingUp #mySunday #nYC #goodnightNY #inTheNameOfCrafting
Second lesson learned from my first foray into grabbing freebies is one must not underestimate what is available for the taking.  The girl scout in me whispered I should bring an extra tote just in case there was more fabric than I could fit into my trusty roller.  (And there was more!)  I’ll write about my haul another time but anything to do with Brooklyn is an adventure for me.  This coming from someone who has lived and breathed NYC the last 15 years!  Ha!

I got there — remembering to avoid Flushing due to the Chinese New Year.  (Newsflash:  They do dragon dances there and there ARE street closures for this all important Chinese holiday.. )  Had to go by bus and then subway all the way, transferring through no less than 3 lines.  Q88, R, 7 and the G.  I made it.

Once there, that was another story, though.  I almost thought about calling frantically for help from a friend who lives in Brooklyn but I found my destination before I could start panicking.  Before I could even find the place where I was picking up fabric from, I found DOUGH.  Nope, I didn’t find any moolah — I found the one that makes your tummy happy and makes you want to die in a sugar coma.  But I had to pick up my fabric scraps first!  (I was intent on accomplishing my main mission before embarking on any other side trips.)

I’m always the first to admit that I am geographically challenged in unfamiliar places.  Show me a map and give me a minute or two to orient myself — but please don’t talk to me about North, South, East or West.  I’m a very visual person.

Found my benefactor, stashed my haul into my bag and my tote, and with a white garbage bag full of what looked like clothes visible in the open bag and the other hand pulling a roller luggage, I must’ve looked like I had either just come from the laundromat or I was one of those better dressed and well-kempt homeless people.  I didn’t really care.  I wanted my donuts!
When you find yourself inbrooklyn and you're at the corner of #lafayette and #clinton, you HAVE to stop by @doughdoughnuts .  Definitely #worthTheLine and #worthTheWait.. #myny #mynyc #foodtrip #foodstop #githamhicksays #nyc
DONUT forsake me, my sweet tooth begged.  it wasn’t a very big place, really.  Yet with the sun setting and the place lit up from within, it was obvious there was a line snaking inside.  Now where would I leave my stash?  I pushed the roller bag under one of the benches outside, knowing (and hoping) no one would take such a bulky item.  Then I took my place in line and waited patiently.
#Dulceseleche with #almonds: These are usually the #donuts from @doughdoughnuts that I go for but I had to try the #saltedChocolatecaramel ones.  #totallyWorthTheSwitxh!  #foodporn #foodtreat #sweettooth #sweettreat #metime #gothamchicksays
I first discovered Dough many moons ago in the winter village in Bryant Park.  They had taken one of the booths during the holiday fair, and I was a customer almost every day, sampling their artisanal donuts.  Dulce de leche, Cafe Au Lait, Cheesecake, Lemon Poppyseed.  It was the treat you would gladly give up lunch for, and Sunday night’s dinner was going to be donuts!

I would have bought 4 or 6 but really had no more room in my tote bursting with the third bag of fabric scraps, and my roller luggage looked like I was going on a long trip with at least a month’s worth of clothes.  So I had to make a tough choice — I could only carry two.  Sigh.  My heart broke.  The cheesecake was a given.  If I had one choice of a donut from this place, I would choose the cheesecake donut without batting an eyelash.  The Dulce De Leche with its almond slivers was beckoning me seductively like it always did.  And I knew resistance was futile, but there was the irresistible Salted Chocolate Caramel, with its chocolate glaze oozing down its voluptuous dome.  .
#cheesecakeDonuts from @doughdoughnuts -- I met them first in #bryantPark a few #winters ago.. #I have missed you!  Fell in line and had this for dinner.. What a #sweetTreat.  #foodporn #donuts #dough #doughnut #brioklyn #lafayette #cheesecake #metime #to
I inched my way forward and heard everyone ordering hibiscus.  Hmmmm… I was ALMOST tempted, but with one slot taken by the cheesecake I am always faithful to, the hibiscus would just have to wait for another time and day when I could actually maybe carry a box of 6 or a dozen even.  (Maybe if I get to visit their branch in the Flatiron district.)  Alas, “caramel” is always a sure winner in my book.  I had to sacrifice the Dulce De Leche.

I paid for my haul and grabbed my roller luggage (which was still there) and set out to plan my trip back home.  I had to improvise with my load — I could not possibly lug everything in reverse. In the midst of it all, I had tried texting my friend but my phone was not sending the message.  Silly me, I decided to reboot forgetting I had reset my code, and which of course, I couldn’t remember.Thanks to technology I was saved!  Imagine no phone and no apps in a strange place.. In time I made it back to my old stomping grounds and got on the bus home– fabric scraps, donuts and all..

Friday Five: Moving along

Friday5This is a much-delayed second post following my 2016 kick off.  I refuse to brand it an epic fail because the year is young, and I try not to be too hard on myself.  As posted in the first iteration of this blog list, the point is to create a simple, doable and easily achieved checklist of things to do or start during the weekend, with a progress report due the following Friday.  What for? The intention is to give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the weekend, helping you to start the week off right.  It’s also supposed to help you keep track of where the weekend went beyond the regular errands you have to run.

The rules:  (1) Keep it simple.  (Go through pantry and discard expired food.  Pick up prescription.  Mail that birthday card.  Start this project.  Throw that away.)  (2)  It must be doable.  (You have the weekend only and the following week as an extension, so no tasks that will require a huge investment time-wise.)  (3)  Should involve only or mostly you.  (Involving another person would mean depending on that person for the fulfillment of the task.  This is about YOU.)

My first list and it’s progress report:

  1.  Write Do.  (BFF Donna who is in Australia.)  This is a work in progress given how long I write.  Yes, I still do snail mail.
  2. Create the matching piece for B.  (Gave her a pair of freshwater pearl bracelets.)  Just trying to find the right clasp.
  3. Read.  (Book no. 1 was book no.2 of last year’s list.)  Does taking the book out count?  Ha!
  4. Sort clothes to keep or to give away.  I’ve actually done well with this as I continue to try and sort my room out the way I want it.  I used to take pride in being able to wear clothes year in and year out but now find that I have to be more conscious of something going out of fashion and resisting the urge to keep something because it cost an arm and a leg.
  5. Go through make up stash and discard old supplies.  I love make up so it’s a little difficult to part with it, but part with it, I did.  There are just lipsticks that discolor and whose consistency changes through the year, and there are broken make up palettes that will do you no good with all the powder it spreads around.

Okay, that wasn’t quite as painful as I thought it would be.  So here’s this week’s Friday Five, and hopefully (fingers crossed), I will get things off the list faster and provide you an update next week.

First of all, I’m taking reading off the list.  That shouldn’t be a weekend thing — it should be an everyday thing.  (A blogpost forming in my head.)

Secondly,  I am going to try and focus on very specific items this weekend.  (Well, hoping..)

  1.  Sort my ribbons.  (Working on some incredibly gorgeous recycled sari ribbons to use for my necklaces.  Can’t wait!)
  2. Sort my shoes.  Some of them need to hit the dumpster soon.
  3. Label and organize the Christmas decor in the attic.  Just so I’m not overwhelmed next year.
  4. Gather my loose postcards.  Project brewing in my head.
  5. Mail some postcards home.

Glorious sunshine after such a wet and snowy morning.  Mother Nature surprises us yet again.  Give me some sunshine please.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Feedback on Feedback : Feeling the love

Felling the loveI used to respond to all comments here individually — back when I could focus and give ample time to write a blog post.  At the moment, I think I’m around 5 to 10 comments behind, but I think I have to start and try to catch up somehow, if only because I’ve been swamped with a lot of much-needed love pats lately.  I know I don’t hear from most of the people who read my posts — and I am grateful to each and every one of the 35 of you.  (Okay, maybe 40.. LOL)  You can see that I haven’t lost my knack for self-deprecating humor when it comes to my readership.

But let me just say I am thankful, and truly grateful that there is that small portion of my ever tiny readership who write and let me know that some of the things I thought made sense only to me actually make sense to others as well.  Not everyone leaves a comment, and there are one or two who e-mail me directly at pinaynewyorker at gmail dot com — and while I don’t get to respond to that in a timely fashion either, reading your questions and notes are a warm hug to my heart.

I hope the others won’t feel bad if I focus on two particular comments received very recently, but I have to start somewhere.  (Kim, I haven’t forgotten about you.)

Tita Clarita wrote:

Hello Dinna,

I read your blog and sorry that I rarely leave a comment but this time your to do list for 2016 inspired me to restart “decluttering/downsizing” my “stuff” so to speak. I am a Lola (73 years old) and I feel this is a good time to seriously start cleaning-up. I did some crafty things (cross stitching, crocheting, knitting, jewelry making) but not expertly, I’d say the result of my efforts doing a project is very basic, passable to a certain point. I have already given away some and now I am going to sort my beads (seed beads, stones, etc) and let go or donate some of them.

I will also “try” to read books to help sharpen my ageing brain, enroll in an aquatic class to gently relieve me of my knee pains, and possibly do a little bit of domestic or overseas travel.

I am not getting any younger so I will try to do my best to reach some of my goals this year or the next.

I hope this New Year and the next ones will bring good health to you and Angelo, achieve your goals, and most of all feel content about your life which I think will in turn bring happiness. You take care.

Fondly,
Clarita

To which the Pinay New Yorker says:  I am glad to hear that people of all ages find some sense in the things I write — and always happy to contribute to your self improvement.  I’m sorry I never directly responded via a blog post to your earlier comment (or I might have), but I do remember.

I am most grateful for your well wishes and your sage advise about contentment.  I am trying very hard to be happy with what I have, because it has helped me to appreciate how blessed I am.  The past few years have been a big challenge, and I know that I have quite a journey ahead, but I think life has been kind with its lessons, and I have been fortunate to have the discernment to know my strengths and weaknesses.  The former have kept me up on my feet, and the latter have continued to keep me grounded and humble.  I keep hearing the universe and the big Guy upstairs reassuring me all will be well — from the way the sunshine feels so differently when it touches my skin, to how words of encouragement come from the most unexpected people like you.

If you are ever in my neck of the woods, please let me know.  I’d love to have coffee or even lunch or dinner with you.  Keep reading!

—–

And an old “friend” from Etsy and here, brought my way by another blogfriend who I have already met in real life (Lou), pops back in.  Cora writes:

Hi Pinay New Yorker,(Dinna)

I was cleaning my computer and saw my old bookmarks with Pinay New Yorker on it. I clicked the link and found your site. It’s amazing to find you are still blogging. Do you remember when I used to order your hand made jewelries thru Etsy?

Well, so many years have gone by, I have a 2 yr. old granddaughter now and will be a grandmother again this coming May. My daughter and her family lives in Brooklyn and I frequently travel back and forth to NY and Chicago to help out with the kid. I was in NY last week during the big snow storm .

Hope things are well with you. God bless and keep on blogging.

Cora 

To which the Pinay New Yorker writes:  Okay, Cora, you owe me a date!  LOL  (I have written her separately to ask that she contact me next time she’s in town.)  A faithful customer of my Etsy Shop (when it’s open, and right now it is!) — from way back.  People must think I’m nuts when I say they can ring me up if they’re in town — and I would be more than happy to make time unless my world is totally turning upside down.  (Half the time, it’s close to that!)  But that is a sincere invitation and I am hoping more will take me up on the offer.

Yes, I’m still blogging and hope to keep blogging, Cora.. there is so much more that I want to write about but hardly have the time to sit here and compose my thoughts.

It has  been such a perk to actually meet strangers who become friends because of this corner of the web.  I had started this blog with the sole thought of being able to do an online journal for my own personal benefit, and that hasn’t changed.  While I have grown in other directions, I have made a very conscious effort to keep this space the same way it’s been through the years.  Other writing ventures — if there are any — are in another space separate from this personal corner.

I have always enjoyed the conversations in this space both on the blog and offline.  Your comments and notes have made such a big difference in keeping me writing, through the challenges the past 11 years this blog has been in existence.

Yes, I’m feeling the love.

While on the bus..

…I decided I would attempt to write a post after I unsuccessfully tried all week long.

It’s been a busy and heavy week.  I have had a pretty good start of the year overall, but it had to hit a low point at some time. It’s not the worst of the worst or the lowest of lows, but it’s one of those weeks where I am happy to say it’s over.

Well, almost.
Yes, #weStillHaveSnow! #OnMyWayToWork this #Friday.. #happyWeekend! #nyc #ny #mynewyork #winter2016
Yes, we stil have snow around us, and walking through the snow laden pavement back home actually feels like walking through a frozen hallway.  I have actually stopped wishing it away and just decided it is best to wait for Mother Nature to melt it down.  Then I heard we might actually get more snow and of course, the reality of it is that winter is hardly over.

I have been trying to strike a balance between staying cool and letting my emotions go.  Holding my anger in has always been a struggle, probably because I am a true child of Aries.  But I try.  For the most part, I know I have had better success the last year or so, probably because the lessons I have learned have helped to train me to not so easily give in to letting the anger get the better of me.  But we all have our breaking point, and much like we find ourselves cheating on a diet, we sometimes end up forgetting our resolve not to give in to our weaknesses.

I am human.  I am passionate and given to letting my emotions get the better of me.  And I know that doesn’t make it any easier– but I think I’ve mellowed down quite a lot.

I no longer pounce — I usually hold my thoughts and feelings in and I process through it before opening my mouth.  I have tried to get past the pain and the anger that had long been simmering inside me.  I try to remind myself how far I’ve come..  That I am in a better place.. That I am better off without those people who chose to walk out of my life or who had decided to keep their distance.  I have respected their choice, and I pray they respect mine.

A year ago, I decided I wanted a new life without having to live knowing my existence was an inconvenience being tolerated..  I can only imagine the insults and hours of laughter and amusement others enjoyed at my expense.  A friend tells me I should stop being considerate and think of that — because why should I care about taking a step back instead of throwing a punch when they have been kicking me black and blue behind my back for the longest time.  As I find myself digesting that I am torn between anger and sadness.  I haven’t quite made up my mind about whether I will throw the punch or just sit it out just yet, but it has given me pause when I think about what to do next.

I dread moments when thoughts like that envelop my heart.

My usual escape is to run a list that make that all seem small in the grand scheme of things.  I have pictures I go back to which bring a smile to my face.  I have snippets of things that happened or happy moments etched in my mind.  And while I am not in the happiest place on earth, I am in a pretty darned happy place.  I have surrounded myself with people who know and understand me and who don’t require an explanation from me when I do something silly or create something just beyond fabulous.  I laugh harder and I see my son laughing harder as well.  We look at each other with a sense of partnership that speaks in a language he and I understand.  I have learned to look to the happy memories instead of wallowing in the pain of the heartaches that may still linger in my heart.

It’s a glass half full.

Getting off and jumping into the last day of the work week.  Happy Friday!NYC this Friday!

Monday Musings: Afterstorm Thoughts

MondayMusingsLogoI wanted to write during the weekend but all-day and all-night snowstorms tend to turn down my energy levels to an all-time low.  So no, I didn’t get to do a Friday Five update from last week’s list — probably more because I didn’t really have much to say.  But there is hope that list will get done a week late.  But still done.

I tried to take a walk yesterday but there was still #snow everywhere. This #firehydrant in front of my place is usually my #meterstick when it comes to the #snowfall. He's buried deep as you can see. Not looking forward to walking out to catch the busIt snowed, and it snowed and it snowed.  Most people from where I come from (where we do NOT have snow and where it is HOT all year round even when it’s coolest in December) dream of seeing snow and witnessing the snow falling.  I did, too, when I first got here and I got a big snowstorm to make that wish come true during my first winter.  Then I had to walk out the day after the storm because someone was sick and I just felt I had to go get some tea.  So I went out in the snow and got some tea from the grocery behind our apartment. It was then that I realized it wasn’t all that pretty—and I lost my love for snow after that.  It’s one of those things that you wish would fall so you could enjoy it and then magically disappear.  Alas, it doesn’t.

Because it’s cold it usually lingers.  And when it warms up a tad, the snow melts and then freezes into ice.  I don’t know about you but I like walking without having to worry that I will fall, and I have fallen a few times.  I am thinking of the warmer climes of Manila and wishing the snow away.  While the sun finally showered us with so much needed sunshine yesterday and today, just because so much of it fell, I don’t think the snow is going away anytime soon.  There are mountains of snow in the city taller than you and me.  (Of course, I’m a short 5’2″. )  Then again, Mother Nature might relent.

Peasant Pasta, my go to comfort food.  I gave up rice decades ago, but I have always had a love-hate relationship with pasta.  I love to eat it and I can cook it well. Of course I have to be firm with myself when I actually am on a diet — because pasta is anathema to any cleanse or weight loss regimen.

For all the ingredients and cooking secrets (like how to make it sweet like the Jollibee spaghetti even my little tyke loves), my favorite pasta is actually a simple mix of pasta dressed with olive oil or butter and sprinkled with black pepper and a ton of parmesan cheese.  I went into the weekend ready, and I cooked up some for one of the meals during the storm.

  •  I cook enough pasta for one serving in, believe it or not, a tiny sauce pan.  I had read up somewhere that you don’t really have to have a huge pot boiling.  You just need to estimate the pasta you need, cut it up in the appropriate size to fit in the itsy-bitsy pan and fill it with water to cover the pasta.  Make sure to stir during the first 60 seconds to stop it from adhering and be sparing with the olive oil.  I don’t salt my pasta because I have a bland palate.  (I even do my eggs the same way — no salt AT ALL.  Gasp.)
  • I don’t rinse my pasta but just drain it.  (Pasta for one goes straight into my bowl, and I find that rinsing helps only if you intend to store the pasta leftover for use with a different sauce or more sauce later.)  While still hot, I put a slice of butter, sprinkle some pepper and then toss to coat the pasta.
  • And the final touch — grated cheese to your heart’s desire.  I don’t toss the cheese with the pepper or the oil/butter because I find that it tends to clump together and gets concentrated in some of the pasta.  I do it at the end.
  • Eat heartily.

Somehow, just writing that up made me hungry again.  And I have sworn off pasta for until my next “break” in between phases.  That might be a while.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse.  I’m including this here as a reminder to myself that this is one post I must write about one day soon.  So many secrets have been spilled via social media.  Don’t you just hate how you can stumble on to something you wish you never knew about or found out — but it was just there for all the world to see, and turns out, you were the last to see it?

One can deny the truth to death, but beware of exif data on those snapshots.  And everything online is dated — even if Instagram makes you calculate by number of weeks passed, you’d eventually arrive at a proximate timeframe within a week’s window.  Which reminds me how just a little more than a year ago, I received one such picture of what would have been easily deniable without the photo evidence.

The universe listens and when it speaks, it’s our turn to pay attention.  It’s so uncanny how right at that moment when you feel your grip slipping, something mundane or ordinary chimes in and reminds you to keep your focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the other side.  Silly hats and unexpected hellos that remind you that for every person who hurt you or broke your heart, you found two or three who blessed your life with their friendship and love .  It’s as if the universe heard your anger boiling up inside and decided to send a refreshing breeze your way to remind you about the good things that came out of all the tears and the pain.

And you end your day thinking “Yes, I’m in very good place.”
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Grateful (#5ThingsToBeThankfulFor)

Long weekends get back at you the day when your week officially begins, and mine started today.  Tuesday = Monday.  Forgot to reload my metrocard so there I was fishing for coins on the bus.. solution found: paid off a fellow passenger for a swipe.  Terribly cold day in New York City, and bundling up meant I felt the heat enveloping me and I was just feeling hot.  It went to my head, and my morning got off to a rocky start.

When things aren’t turning out the way you wish they would, it’s always good to try to steer your way towards something positive.  I thought I’d start by counting my blessings today, sort of as a natural pick me up.  A second cup of coffee might not work – so I’m improvising.

Another list?  I’m trying to resist the urge but I do have my “Five Things to be Thankful for” here.  I had fun with my new app, DrawingDesk, which has been a little testy but has been a refreshing graphic application on my iPhone to help me spice things up here.  Pardon the roughness of the scribbling but I’m too cheap to spring for a stylus.  That’s my fingertip doing the writing, but I’m pretty happy with how that turned out.  (Finally settled on one that was good enough after over two dozen attempts.)

Thankful.

Gratitude is something that we very rarely indulge in – but which is something we would do well to make a habit of. (#gratitude)

Top of my head:  I’m thankful for being a “Medium” (size) now, for hot coffee that I can drink iced, for twitchy noses, a long weekend that allowed me to sleep til 9am (!) and pancake breakfasts that I missed and will begin missing again.  (Back on the diet!)

I see the sun shining brightly outside but the temperatures are unbearably cold.  Snow is forecast for the weekend, and I’m already thinking of the supplies I will need as I have no intention of heading out beyond my immediate neighborhood.  After 15 years here and seeing mild to wild winters, I am not such a fan of snow anymore.  (More so in the aftermath of a snowstorm!)

But I’m not going to start complaining now.  Trying to stay positive by basking in the feeling of being blessed.

Friday Five: 2016 Kick off

Friday5I’m too lazy to go back and find my first ever Friday Five post, but it’s a category in the drop down menu so be my guest.

This is one Friday I’ve been waiting for, and it’s not only because it comes as a long weekend (Hooray for Martin Luther King, Jr.!), but more importantly, because the week prefacing the weekend has been quite a tough one.  But it’s done, the tests have been taken (Math on Monday and Tuesday, midterm in Science on Thursday,) and a science project that got me and two 11-year-olds befuddled was completed.  Rube Goldberg machine, anyone?

The point of the list is to create a simple, doable and easily achieved checklist of things to do or start during the weekend, with a progress report due the following Friday.  Besides the obvious, the intention is to give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the weekend, helping you to start the week off right.  It’s also supposed to help you keep track of where the weekend went beyond the regular errands you have to run.

The rules:  (1) Keep it simple.  (Go through pantry and discard expired food.  Pick up prescription.  Mail that birthday card.  Start this project.  Throw that away.)  (2)  It must be doable.  (You have the weekend only and the following week as an extension, so no tasks that will require a huge investment time-wise.)  (3)  Should involve only or mostly you.  (Involving another person would mean depending on that person for the fulfillment of the task.  This is about YOU.)

So for the first Friday Five of 2016, here is my task list for the long weekend ahead:

  1.  Write Do.  (BFF Donna who is in Australia.)
  2. Create the matching piece for B.  (Gave her a pair of freshwater pearl bracelets.
  3. Read.  (Book no. 1 was book no.2 of last year’s list.)
  4. Sort clothes to keep or to give away.
  5. Go through make up stash and discard old supplies.

Notice there are no regular chores listed.  (No do the laundry, fold the clothes, or clean the bathroom.)  Think of tasks you need to be reminded of and need to focus on because you keep forgetting.  If you have a reminder system in your calendar on your smart phone, it might help to remind yourself Saturday evening if not early Sunday.  (Heading to Outlook to put that in right now!)

Let’s see how this list goes this looooooong, glorious weekend — even if it’s cold as a freezer in these parts.  I shouldn’t really be complaining, it’s getting milder.

Have a great weekend, everyone!