Grey Saturday

I started writing this midday Saturday at almost 1pm, in my PJs and I have gone from shoring up my village (yes, PinayNewYorker/GothamChick plays Clash of Clans! — as GothamChick), watched an episode of The Brink (my HBOnow subscription has been dormant the last 4 weeks!  Wasted money!)  and I’m trying to decide on how big that afghan I’ve been working on should be.  (Note to self: This part of a handmade project should be determined/decided before I start the first row of stitches.)  I’m also trying to see how much yarn a pullover I’m making for myself will need (something I failed to do with the afghan), and I’m trying to figure out if I will brave the chilly temperatures outside to get some “taking care of me” stuff done.  No trips to the city for me this weekend — that much, I’ve decided.  Not with this kind of weather.

But — I am here, and I am happy to be tapping away on the keyboard.. Writing has proven to be quite the best outlet for me, be it longhand, via art or through this little corner of the blogsphere.  And I’m trying to catch all the bits and pieces racing through my mind before I completely forget about them.  Little thoughts.. big ideas.  Don’t you hate hitting a eureka moment and then losing it midstream?  It hits you in the quiet moments how you should have taken the time to stop and ponder.  And maybe the thought would’ve developed into something bigger.

Week in brief.  This one’s a mixed bag.  It’s been rather challenging and not without its surprises.  (My 11-year-old locked himself out the other day, leaving his keys IN the house — so Mom rushes home.  Thank God for understanding bosses.)  It’s also been a time of reflection.  (Need to do an entry for my “What do I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want?” journal.)  Sometimes I feel I need a reality check when I get carried away.  (Someone always reminds me about reality by texting me his version of “News Flash, Sister” bits..)  Disappointment and frustration have a way of bringing us down to earth.  This ship has touched the ground.

But it’s a week with its gems.  One thing I have learned in the recent past is that you really have to focus on the positive and bask in that — and like another friend said, we make the most of what we have.  And we did.  And I am happy.  I tell myself I should be so lucky.  It may seem most days that I could be surrounded by better people, but I count the ones who make me smile and I think I’m in more than just a very good place.  I’ve always been that person who won’t stop herself from getting a treat.. I get dessert when I want to — I am not deprived.

I look at the pictures I take these days, and the sadness and anger are no longer evident. (Either I hide them better or maybe they no longer dominate my psyche.) And I’m happy to be back to Medium — and these PJs I’m wearing had languished in my closet for ages because I bought it before I had my boy, and I couldn’t fit into it the last 11 years or so.  Well, sometimes, I did.. that’s why it stayed in the closet.  But it had been tucked into a far away corner and I just rediscovered it recently — and am wearing it again.  Reason indeed to be happy! I count my blessings and I think about the things that are weighing me down — and maybe it’s the age or just experience, but I can let go much easier now.

Weekend plans.  I’m in the thick of trying to put some order into my world.  So more organizing, more crafting, and again, laundry.  (I would rather do one big load every other weekend than do it every week.)  I need to get moving with the letter writing, although I think I wrote some fabulous birthday messages this past week.  I am trying to get ahead of some important dates coming up.  I would like to think that receiving something in writing other than an email or text message greeting still counts for something.

I’ve managed to repair some jewelry / accessories that had broken through time, and while Saturday has come and gone with nary a new piece created, I’m still hoping Sunday will be the day for me.  I’m seriously working on reopening the shop again, but I think I need a new header piece.  I am continuing to work with my crocheting and am getting on with the projects.  But that’s for the other blog where I discuss my crafts.

It has gotten chilly in New York and it’s that time of the year again when we have to wear layers.  I’ve dug into my closet to bring out the sweaters — and my summer clothes will have to be tucked away higher or deeper inside until it gets warmer.  We’ve started wearing coats again… still on the lighter side, but we can hardly go out now dressed in summer clothes.  Chilly!!

Weekend thoughts.  I am looking forward to Monday but I wish the weekend was longer this time around.  (A real pause followed that sentence.)  And yet on second thought, I think I would want it to end so that the things that keep bouncing around in my brain can fall silent in the din of work and being busy again.

I have a half dozen wishes in my head.  A friend who just celebrated a birthday made a wish after blowing the candle on his birthday cupcake.  I always wish birthday celebrants whatever it is their heart desires.  Rather than zeroing in on something specific I wish for them, I think that to wish that they get that which they wish for is the better gift.  If you want another piece of cake, I wish you that.  If you wish success, I wish you that.  If you wish to have more “me time”, I wish you that.  If you want dessert this time around even if you don’t like sweets, you get it this time because it’s your birthday.

I’ve always been big on birthdays, and those who have known me a long time know that I make a big production of greeting friends and family, even if it is a belated greeting.  It is always a good reason to celebrate the day someone came into this world — even if the celebrant is not big on birthdays.  WE celebrate them!  And I’ve always said that birthdays have no do-overs.   Milestones or not, we should make it a point to celebrate the occasion.

I greeted a friend a week late on FB and she responded back.  At least I didn’t get lost in the flood of greetings that came her way last week.  Even a short greeting is good.. the point is — as we say in the vernacular — you remembered.

Speaking of which, I keep hearing this piece playing in my head — “Remembering.”  A friend had introduced me to Avishai Cohen not too long ago, and it’s a very relaxing yet dramatic tune that I keep hearing in a loop.  The last time I listened to this, I found myself in a different kind of blissful heaven, and after listening to it, I’m sure you’ll agree and find yourself there, too.


Did someone say “Plaid?”

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Target + Adam Lippes = Plaid Glam to get you all set for the fall!

I miss going to Target these days but they’re only a click away.  And I’ve somehow gotten the hang of the hassle free shopping afforded by their online store instead of jostling with the crowds who, like me, can’t get enough of this store.  And did you hear about their $25 minimum for free shipping?  How can you beat that?!

I also get so hyped up when I hear about their famous collaboration and partnerships with known designers, artists and brands for limited edition collections sold exclusively by Target.  Just this weekend, they released the fab plaid collection for beauty, home and apparel by Adam Lippes.  I can’t make up my mind which color scheme I’m going to take for myself or will I mix and match??

Adam Lippes for Target, Limited Edition Women's Apparel

Whether you’re looking to go bold with red and black or go conventional yet sophisticated with black and white or do elegant with oatmeal and white, you will have a grand time pulling the limited edition pieces into one “Look at gorgeous me” ensemble.

Target shoes women’s shoes boots rain boots Women’s Western Chief Buffalo Plaid Rain Boots $39.00

Adam Lippes for Target Pointed Toe Pump – Black & White Plaid $39.99

Adam Lippes for Target Pointed Ballet Flat – Black & White Plaid $29.99











Of course, I had to start with the shoes! The even better news is that the apparel is available in plus sizes !  As someone who isn’t exactly super model material, finding a gorgeous line then realizing that they were specifically made for the smaller figures can be such a frustation.  Well, this one’s available in regular and plus sizes. How cool is that?

Adam Lippes for Target Plus Size Wool Heavy Weight Coat – Grey & Black Plaid $129.99


I so love this look as well — with the soft hues of oatmeal and white in layers.

Adam Lippes for Target Shearling Jacket – Oatmeal Plaid $59.99

And I haven’t even started raving about their home collection!  Everything from decorative pillows ($25.00)  to table lamps  ($44.99 less 10% with code and less 15% if you spend $125 on select home decor) from other brands sold by Target are also available.  With this whole look and the Target prices we love, you’re going to go crazy redecorating!

Remember it’s only available for a limited time, so try to grab yours while stocks are available..  My personal faves:

Adam Lippes for Target Throw Blanket – Red & Black Plaid $35.00

Adam Lippes for Target Reversible Pillow 18″x18″ – Oatmeal Plaid $25.00

Fall anew

It’s definitely autumn in New York again as the temperatures have started dipping into sweater weather.  I almost wore a coat but I’m glad I didn’t put one on, because we’re still on the cusp of saying goodbye to summer and embracing the next season of fall.

What’s more, September is quickly slipping by.  I was just writing about greeting the “ber” months, and here we go with saying goodbye to the first of the series.  Having come from a country whose seasons are divided into “wet” and “dry”, the so-called “ber” months (months ending in September) are supposed to signal the start of the colder season which isn’t really cold — just cooler.  It’s also the start of the holiday season which, in Manila, is basically Christmas for everyone.

Here in New York, September essentially signals the start of what is actually the last full season of the year: autumn or fall.  Although some people would argue that spring is the most spectacular season visually, I beg to disagree and vote for fall as the most dramatic of all.  It’s the time when Mother Nature puts on a very dramatic display of changing colors that can flit from one color to the next from day to day.  Before you know it, the trees are bare and winter is here.

School has also started.  I’m trying hard to train my new middle schooler to work on his homework more diligently and in a more organized fashion.  As a working mom, it’s hard for me to try and do this from the moment he comes home to the time I walk in the door.  We had gotten into the habit of him calling me when he walks into the house — and for a time we did homework partly by phone.  As an 11 year old now, I’m trying to train him to do his homework on his own, with me chiming in for the more complicated tasks.

I guess he is still hung over from summer.  The volume and quality of the homework is also something he is still getting used to.  Still, we have a lot he and I have to get used to from this point forward, not just because he’s advancing in school but because life, in general, is giving us more to handle.

I am trying to get my bearing straight again — and while I have made a lot of progress, I am far from getting there.  There are days when I try to tell myself I’m functioning, I’m able to get up in the morning and go to work and go through the day and go back home and be a mom.  And yet I often find myself feeling like I’m functioning at less than half my usual self.

I have at least two questions posed to me at pinaynewyorker @ gmail dot com that needs answering, and yes, I have not forgotten.  I have several projects in the works, but the only one which has really seen any progress is the afghan I’m crochetting for my new-mom friend, Laine Laine.

Over the weekend, I continued to clean out my closet, sorting out the bigger sizes.  There were several pieces I hadn’t even worn from last year, mostly because I needed to work on the pants’ cuffs, and while I thought I could make them work with a belt now that I’m almost two sizes smaller, they would’ve been too obvious as being a bigger size and not flattering to wear at all.  So off they went to the “to give away” bin.  I already organized my cardigans, sweaters and scarves.  At least I am making progress in letting go of the things I hope I will NEVER have to wear again.  Those pieces that I had a hard time parting with were easier to throw away after I put them on and saw for myself how much bigger they were now that I have lost some weight.  Someone else back home can make better use of them for sure.

I was going to write about “letting go” in a different sense, but that’s another blog post altogether.  Inspiration from one of my journal entries as I wrote one this afternoon after a long lull.  I didn’t mean to pause in the blogging this long.  I thought I was doing good — but the nine days that lapsed between this and the previous post leaves much to be desired.  I have to remind myself I’ve been trying.  And I WILL keep trying.




What NOT to do when riding a New York MTA Express Bus (specifically, the QM5)

I have been riding the New York MTA Express Bus for the majority of my stay here in the big apple.  15 years.  While I started with the QM2 which plied the Bay Terrace/Manhattan line, I am now a regular passenger of the QM5.  (Glen Oaks/Manhattan).

<img src=”; width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”#OnMyWayHome : #qm5 finally here… #manhattan #mta #expressbus #takemehome”>

I don’t mind the higher fare, primarily because it means getting on the bus just a few blocks away, and then getting off across my office building.  Almost literally door-to-door.  Plus you are almost always guaranteed a seat — unless you choose to stand — and there’s a certain unwritten code that assures you a more or less more considerate and courteous bus group.  Almost always.  There are those who would blab on on their cellphone not mindful of the sign plastered in front of the bus that says no cellphones please.  Or who would act as if they paid for two seats instead of one.  It takes all kinds.

Last week was one of those exceptions to the rule — we usually grab our “row of two seats,” always on the ready to “vacate” the empty seat if anyone walks up to your spot.  I am usually good with clearing the seat even before I am requested when I see the bus starting to fill up.

On this particular day, the ride was pretty light.  So I decided to whip out my make up bag and start painting my face.  The bus wasn’t even half full, and every row before and after me had an empty seat available to some passenger who was minding their own business.  The lady across from me was also putting on make up.

Midway through the pick ups, a young lady boards and requests for the empty seat next to me despite her seeing that I had a mirror compact in one hand and some make up in the other.  Again, there were empty seats aplenty.  Perhaps she thought we could be friends.  Perhaps it was because she saw I had my earphones on — which didn’t help later on.  But I’m getting ahead of myself here.  I was requested, and while the diva side of me would have opted to give her the look and heave a huge sigh of irritation, I promptly put my stuff away, and there she stood looking at me with a sense of impatience — forget that she knew beforehand I had my hands full.

And then she sat.  And that was the start of my hell ride.

So I continued putting on my make up, being mindful not to hit her in any way.  (Some people hate that when you encroach on their space.)  Then she whipped out her phone and started checking messages.  Then she starts making a call.  Now I had on in-ear earbuds — supposed to be noise cancelling — but because I don’t want my music seeping through to my seatmate, I don’t play it full blast.  Yet she managed to talk above the din.  I didn’t say anything — thinking it was one call.

Then she decides to talk to the baby.  Then some other relative.  Then she makes an appointment — giving out her phone number.  (Which, I was impishly thinking of writing down to prank her.)  And with around half an hour left in the ride, I was hoping that was that.  I was done putting on my make up — I wanted some peace and quiet.  But no, she called her Mom, I think — or some other relative.  Then she made another call, even telling her friend she was beginning to get some dirty looks on the bus which, I mistakenly thought, meant that was her last call.  But she never stopped…

I was starting to start letting out audible sighs.. nothing.  People around me were giving her the look, nothing.  It only ended when she finally got up.  After all those calls, I already knew she was studying at one of the universities on 34th street and was going in just for one day of class this week.  She had to reschedule her appointment and would wait to hear from them.  She talks to the baby who cannot understand what she is saying.  And she doesn’t know what she’s doing for the long weekend holiday they observe.

I felt like we had known each other for a lifetime.  I wouldn’t reveal all that in conversations on the phone with anyone near unless they were close friends of mine.  She probably felt that way towards the bus crowd.  The feeling was clearly not mutual.

I discovered later that the people around me had fallen victim to her antics many times, and were surprised at how I had kept my cool through all that hoopla.  I had no choice.  I ride a bus on this route everyday and I am not one to antagonize people for seemingly intolerable behavior, no matter how irritating it may be.  Two ladies chimed in — and all I could say was, I didn’t have a choice and I just had to let it go.

Next time she chooses to sit with me again, I will promptly grab my things, step out to the aisle, and offer her the window seat.  Let’s see how close she will feel we are when I go out of my way to offer her my choice seat.  Maybe she does want to be my friend.  I have news for her, though, I don’t need any more friends.  She can sit next to me if she wants, but I’m not biting.




Monday Musings: Is the long weekend really over?

Okay, we’ve been kind of wanting for a long weekend — and this is the last one until Thanksgiving, believe it or not.  At least for us of the non-Jewish faith here in New York.  I’m not complaining — just wish we had more of these ‘Is it time to go back to work?’ kind of weekends.  I’m actually looking forward to work this week — probably because it’s a short week for us.

Back to school!  I have heard fellow parents breathing out a collective sigh of relief on this one.  I just don’t get it.  Maybe it’s because I only have one, and my little guy has been on auto pilot whenever I was at work.  I’m excited more for him being in middle school now (yes, he is moving on to sixth grade!), while at the same time kind of dreading the waiting for the call to tell me he’s home, telling him to “take off your socks, do your homework, it’s dinnertime” and all that routine resuming.  (I might be part of the minority in this regard.)

In many ways, we’re expecting it to be a little different beginning this year for many reasons, but I’m looking forward to it as I see my little guy growing up.  We’re still in a mental tug of war about the cursive writing, but I’m so happy his cousin, Julia, had gotten him started on it.  “It’s sooooo hard..,” he complains.. and I know I just have to keep pushing, and push I will.

He received a reading assignment at the start of summer and has been reading in earnest but has been trying to charm me into reading the book to help him with it.  (Could this be number 2 in my “read 6 books” this year list?)  I haven’t given in, but I know it’s something I can easily do.  Maybe.

#SwirlsOfColor in #crochet using #doublechain #shellstitching for an #afghan I'm making. Love how #crochetting a #repetitivepattern can be #sorelaxing. #crochetprohect #hadmade #crafting #crafts #handmade #madebygothamchick #crafttherapyEarnestly trying to get ready to get crafting again.  I’ve been busy with the crochet hooks and have been momentarily sidetracked by an afghan project.  I like doing afghans when its a repetitive pattern and when you have a chunky yarn — and I am working with both.  I’m on my fourth ball and expect to be finished after another one plus the trim.  It’s supposed to be a surprise for a friend so other than show an itsy-bitsy swatch here, I’d rather talk about it when the project is done.

In the meantime, I’ve started organizing my materials and hope to start finishing up some of the pretty bows I have designed now that the French Barrette Style Hair Clips I ordered are here.  More on that later but can I just say I love Amazon Prime?  I had tried it a year ago and then cancelled my membership — and then recently signed up a couple of months ago and have been loving it since.  If you order from Amazon a lot, then you will appreciate the free two-day shipping for Prime eligible products (caveat: not all products on Amazon are covered!) — and there’s the Amazon free streaming of all these fab original material plus classics to new releases.

But back to trying to get back into crafting.. so I have tried to start getting organized again but have barely made progress because I have quite a stash to go through.  The shop has been dormant for a bit but I’m hoping to get it ready for the holidays — and I will be around this time.  In my cleaning up, I managed to find a box full of items previously listed, so it’s a matter of relisting those first few pieces.  I am excited to try out some new techniques, though, and will try to carve out regular time to post and create again.

I invested in a dozen Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base just to be able to sort the items that have just been thrown together.  I am planning on creating a crafting corner from now to the end of the year to help me get everything together in one space, hidden from view except when I want to do crafting.  So in the meantime, I need to sort through what I have.

And as I sort, I have made a decision on which items to find a new home for.  During my last trip home, I promised my friend, Raine, that I will send her my Artist Trading Card collection to keep or dispose off as she would wish.  I had a fun time creating and receiving some outstanding pieces, but I think my current collection of postcards, Starbucks mugs and pencils are more than enough to keep me happy.  I am trying to find other things I can find a new home for as I try to get myself organized.

The “BER” months are here..  which means thinking of the holidays, holiday cards and holiday presents.  I want to make this year special for my little guy and me because we have so many new things to look forward to.  I want to make the house very festive — and I want to make a special holiday card to send out to friends.  I am already updating my address book — and trying to think up of something nice to do.

The holiday season has officially started in Manila — and I think it would be nice to keep in step with “home” this year.

Just a few more hours of the weekend left — so let me get on with some last minute errands and chores, like a 20-minute walk around I’m supposed to start making a habit of from here on.

Happy Monday, everyone!!

What do I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want? (Book III)

I read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia years ago and have only read it once, but I have picked up one very important practice from reading the book.  I’ve tried to answer this question that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, posed to her readers as an after thought to the soul-searching she chronicled in her book: “What do I really, really, really want?

I am now on my third journal and am into my fourth or fifth entry in a new notebook.  A good amount of time and many life events and decisions have passed between the journals, and even I have found the change in my answers and state of mind quite enlightening.  I know that a lot has changed between 2012 and now– both in my personal circumstances and the world in general around me, and it has been quite a journey.  It is in looking back at the answers I had written — not necessarily the journal entries per se — that I have seen such a marked difference in the way I used to think and the way I am now.

The very stark difference between what I wanted then and what I want now gives me pause to reflect on how my feelings have changed since I first started answering the question.  I had made it a point to just go over the answers and make a visual summary from time to time, but at this point, I don’t think I’m ready to read my entries in depth just yet.  I am, however, ready to continue answering the question in the “now”.

Gilbert says you have to repeat the “really” three times to stress that it has to be something you truly want — as against something you might “maybe want” or “half want.”  It must also be something spontaneous after asking the question.  This time around, I’ve taken to doing a bit of art around each entry.  Whether it is to draw a border around the page or color in the lettering of either the question or the answer, or to add some graphic I intend to fill in with color later on, each additional time soent embellishing the page gives me a chance to reflect deeper into my answer.  Sometimes the succeeding blurb is a sentence or two only.  Sometimes it fills the whole page.  Again, the key is spontaneity.

Answering the question when I write on that journal’s pages is like an ongoing essay that gets written a bit at a time with each entry.  And when I go back to read them all, I’m supposed to find my answer from the very words I’d written.



53 years ago, he came into this world, and then he left just as quickly as he did. I never met him, and yet in my heart of hearts, I know him. From time to time, he would visit me in my dreams in some form or other, and I would know it was him even if I knew he was in heaven already .. He would just say hello, and sometimes he would hug me.. and in that dream, the tears would come because I missed him so dearly. I knew I always had a Kuya who was always watching over me. So I know that though he is an angel in heaven, he is always with me, forever holding my hand. Life would have been so different with you around.. Happy birthday, Kuya Silvano.


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