Monday Musings: Unexpected Hellos, the Glass Half Full, Cheesecake Babka and I Pray..

Untitled Is it Monday already? Last night, I was transfixed watching these men on skates fight for their lives. And when they won, I felt triumphant and proud even if I am just beginning to understand this game. (And yes, I now know what a power play is.). I don’t know if it was all that excitement which caused me to stay awake for most of the evening, drifting off to sleep in the wee hours of the morning. There were just too many thoughts racing through my head preventing me from drifting off to dreamland. I think I even said my evening prayers thrice hoping the angels would listen and lull me to blissful rest. It was almost exhausting trying..

Sleep eventually found me. Then I just found myself being roused by my alarm screaming yes, Monday IS here. I don’t know if it’s age, but I managed to go through the day without skipping a beat. I know — or at least, I’m hoping — that tonight will be simpler when I lay my head down to sleep.

An unexpected hello greeted me from out of the blue just as I was getting ready for bed before midnight last night. It was one of those friends who pops in and out in the most unexpected times and just sends well wishes to let you know they are thinking of you. I figured he was up watching the game knowing he was a fan and I congratulated him on the win. A simple message, a warm hug to the heart. As if the universe paused a moment to remind me I have a sea of friends out there, who continue to bless my life with their presence and friendship. (I wanted to congratulate another diehard fan of the winning team, but was unable to. So I stopped myself before I could text. All the same, I’m sure he was ecstatic with the win.). This friend said we should chat soon. I don’t know that I want to unburden my heart, but reconnecting is always a good thing, be it over drinks or coffee and donuts.

Glass half full, it is. Part of what kept me up was the dilemma of a plan about to fall flat on its face. I was so looking forward to something this Tuesday which, unfortunately, just isn’t going to happen anymore. I used to have such a hard time dealing with disappointment, more so when it was something I’ve been planning on for days. When it became obvious that things just weren’t coming together to make it happen, I myself declared the postponement to next week. Disappointed, though I was— I thought to myself how fortunate it was that I have something to look forward to. There is the following week.. and we can plan again. There is some comfort in not being the only one who is disappointed with the turn of events, but what can we do— life happens. I try to appreciate the small things— like the effort and the thought. So lunch of cheese, Marcona almonds, quince paste or jam and grapes with a bottle of cab or Pinot noir will have to wait .. it wasn’t cancelled— just postponed.

Struggling to create again. Over the weekend, my illustrator-Fashion-creative inspiration/friend, Elaine, told me I should start creating pieces again. She wanted me to make productive use of my energy and time. I did get the stones and a necklace I wanted to alter out of storage and on to the table, but I got stuck with positioning the stone but not really getting to work on it at all. I think I will try to create earrings through the week to start with, and hopefully get the creative juices flowing.

Cheesecake BabkaThat elusive Cheesecake Babka from Breads Bakery— Finally snagged one. I am “partially Jewish” thanks to some friendly influence — more by way of practice and cuisine. My first Chief something boss and the next Chief of something who both observed the holidays introduced me to the important dates. Friends have since exposed me to actual observances and food. I wear a red string bracelet on my left wrist as a token of luck, a present from the so called Wailing wall. So one of my favorite Jewish oriented bakeries is Breads Bakery which I first got introduced to via their kiosk in Bryant Park. My niece, Julia, is a chocolate babka fanatic, so much so that I handcarry the babka home to Manila every time I head that way. When I heard May would see a cheesecake babka on their shelves, I was stoked. The only problem is that they always sold out by the time I came upon their store— until Sunday. Finally!

I grabbed my loaf and couldn’t believe my luck. Definitely well worth the wait! It’s their usual babka with swirls of light cheesecake that are hardly noticeable except for the flavor. This one’s a limited offering so try and get it while you can.

These days, I’ve been praying more. While I start my day by stopping by St. Agnes Church on 43rd when I can and end it with a simple prayer before I turn in, I’ve been stopping to whisper a few words more often these days. I’m not your cookie cutter Catholic who goes to Church religiously, but I do take my faith to heart. To me, it’s an ongoing conversation between me and my God.

So I pray for my ever changing list of friends and family battling health issues, special intentions for those grieving the loss of a loved one.. that He keep my son happy, safe, healthy and whole.. and that He keep a friend who runs into danger more often than most, safe, even if he’s no longer around. I call on Jesus to keep a Jewish friend in his care, even if he believes Jesus is just one of them.

There are things that I cannot pray for, so instead I ask that I be given the discernment and the wisdom of acceptance. To let go, and to accept the cards I’m dealt. When the words escape me, I have my prayer playlist to help me be quiet in my own space and I listen. I have always lifted up my troubles and while I do not ask for a specific outcome, I ask for guidance, and as much as I can, I pay heed when I am not otherwise distracted.

Sometimes it can be a struggle, but I try. There are times I pray to my Dad who passed some 10 years ago, and to my Aunt who was a second mom to me. I ask them to hold me in their embrace and help bring my prayers up to the heavens. I offer them these people I pray for and I know they hear. And so I pray… In Church, I lift the prayers of the smattering of the faithful dotting the almost empty pews. I say, I lift to You whatever it is they are praying for.

There are times when a realization hits me and I look up and grudgingly say “I heard You,” even when I am not too happy with the message I received. And so the conversation continues. Sometimes I am the hard headed child whining against a clear message to go a certain direction, and at times I am the meek one, quietly embracing His bidding in surrender. Amen.

It’s a balance of busy and calm this week— I just go with the flow. Maybe I’ll hear that familiar text tone assigned to someone who got me into emoticons and tea. Or perhaps not. I’m still trying to make up my mind about whether or not getting those texts is a good thing or a bad thing.. I’m waiting for what the universe says. There’s next week’s do over — fingers crossed it doesn’t get postponed again.

These days I’m always bracing for life to surprise me like it did in recent weeks. Just as quickly as I was swept away, I landed back on the ground. Still, I smile when I close my eyes in anticipation of life’s next surprise.

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Pinay New Yorker says: If this is your first time reading “Monday Musings,” this is a collection of blurbs running through my mind on any given Monday, hoping to give vent to a full blogpost at some other future time. Or perhaps it’ll just be my own personal list of short anecdotes that marked recent days. Thanks for stopping by.

On Motherhood and all the love I never thought I could muster in my heart

My journey to motherhood wasn’t easy. I tried getting pregnant at age 35, after marrying at age 34. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to wait, but my then husband and I had agreed we would only try for a baby after (1) I was gainfully employed and (2), we had a place of our own.

It took us just under two years to get both done. Two miscarriages preceded my full pregnancy, so it was a roller coaster ride seeing it to fruition. When I finally made it past the first trimester, I did all I could to make sure this one made it through to delivery. I even refused an amniocentesis for fear that the pin prick puncture of the amniotic sac would lead to a miscarriage. And more importantly, we told our obstetrician even if we found out there was something wrong with our baby, we would still see it to full term.

Eighteen years ago today, I was induced to deliver and finally held my infant son in my arms after 15 minutes of active labor. After delivering a 9.5 lb., 21.5 inch baby, I became my obstetrician’s poster child for normal delivery. It wasn’t easy battling the gestational diabetes and all the other complications of a late pregnancy, but determination and prayers got me to the finish line with no issues.

The boy is now 18 years — a legal adult in some parts although New York pegs the age of majority as 21. He is a grown man now, almost a full head taller than me, with fingers longer by almost an inch when we hold our palms face to face.

He still calls out “I love you, Mum” from out of nowhere, and would sometimes knock at my door as I’m about to sleep and ask for a hug, bending down to rest his head on my chest. When I walk in the door at the end of the day, he calls out and asks if I need help, meeting me at the door of the stairs to carry my bags up the steps.

We’ve gotten into a somewhat funny dynamic of him calling me when he thinks I would be on the bus already, asking where I am at, and what time I will be home. I have kiddingly asked him if he’s my dad with the tone he takes..

There was one night I went out, and I found him dozing off in the living room when I came home at past 2am. I asked him why he didn’t go and sleep in his room, and he meekly said he was waiting for me.

While all is not perfect in our world— he is a teenager, after all — I’ve been lucky to have raised a caring and sensitive child who has respect for his elders. Sometimes I find him pushing the envelope, but when I push back, he knows better than to nudge again. More importantly, during those moments when he knows he was in the wrong or that he had offended me, he knows to say sorry and make things right.

Sometimes, I look at him when he’s deep into a game or as he strums his guitar, or as he eats the dinner I cooked with such gusto — and I can’t help but feel a sense of pride in seeing this human being in front of me. And the love I feel is just beyond words.

My world has always revolved around him — so much so that I chose to stay here in the US instead of going back home when my marriage fell apart. When we were finally uncoupled, the world I rebuilt had him at the center of it all. And he still is. It’s just that he is entering into a new phase of his life— stepping out into the real world and pursuing his dreams. And that impending departure has me reevaluating things and the way I see the future.

I’m trying not to hold on to him too tightly to pull him back— because I know I cannot do that. So as much as that is a day I fear, I know I love him enough to let him go and conquer the world on his own. And while I would give anything to be right there with him every step of the way, I know that the best I can really do is just be here, ready to help when he calls out for me.

I have always told him no matter what he chooses, I will find a way to get him there. And yes, even if that means he ventures farther out and further away from me, I will even hold his hand to show him the way.

One of the moms whose reflections on Mother’s Day today resonated with me reminded us that a mother’s love knows no end— and time and again I have known that to be true. It may be the toughest job in the world, and for all the heartaches and obstacles that came my way, I would do it all over again to have this light in my life. Without skipping a heartbeat, I would say yes to going through it all, all over again.

This Mother’s Day was his birthday. And like I tell him, his coming into my life was the best Mother’s Day gift — ever.

Motherhood

On Facebook, I wrote:

“Happy birthday to my one and only forever love, who came into my world 18 years ago. I am blessed every single day with your love and presence in my life. I am always here for you and will just be here ready to support you every step of the way. Know that mama loves you always— even when you talk to me like you’re my Dad, asking me what time I’m going to be home(!).

And don’t forget our acceptance speech when the time comes for you to go up that stage— a reminder that at age 17, I told you never to underestimate your abilities and say you will probably not do anything great enough. You have already surprised us at this young age, what more when you go out there to conquer the world. Happy birthday, Anak. Love you more… always.. in all ways.”

On Pause

I’ve been busy working on my closet today.. sorting the scarves, putting away the winter wear, thinking of what to keep, donate, and throw away. I’m not quite at the “what sparks joy” question yet— that’ll be later for the more difficult decisions. I decided to take a break and write.

The last couple of days have been difficult as a mistake I made more than a week ago caught up with me. To put it mildly, I was caught with my foot in my mouth. While I’m tempted to write about it and pour my heart out here like always, I think I’ll do it differently this time. I’m drafting THAT post and leaving it in my draft folder, with a reminder to return to it six months from now, and write about it then.

Joy, grief, remorse and relief on pause.

It’s still very much a work in progress, and much as I’d like to get to the “end of the story” sooner than later, I feel a need to let this one write its own ending before I write about it. I’m still processing it and getting to that point where I can say I am back in a good place. There are happy thoughts associated with this whole business after all. I’ll wait for that time when I can write it on a more positive note.

On PauseIt hasn’t been all that difficult, truth be told. There have been realizations, sighs of relief, and a general sense of moving forward. Friends have been supportive and yet not short on calling me out where it was needed. The universe, the friends and even the Big Guy up there seemed to be saying the same thing: this wasn’t yours, so move on. I am trying.

Things that happened in the last 24 hours have served to remind me how lucky and blessed I am. In the midst of moping and whining about my loss, I realized others are going through so much more. I suddenly felt selfish for focusing on my heartache. Perhaps it was a way for the universe to course correct — or simply put, remind me that it just wasn’t meant to be. And at the same time, the universe showed me that I am still whole and continually blessed.

Let’s see where I am in six months when I unpause.

I do wish I could pause the memories from coming when I’ve found my footing. Thankfully, there aren’t that many to count as yet. That is a relief. Each day has brought me a step closer to “okay”. I’m using emoticons again, for a start. And keeping my heart in check, reminding myself, “Accept it.” In time..

When the tide changes

My body clock has been off lately. Last Wednesday, despite having slept closer to 2am, I was up just after 5. Thursday, after sleeping a few minutes after midnight, my body beat my alarm clock by around a half hour. Still, I didn’t want to get up. It was one of those days where I wanted to just curl up under the sheets and stay in bed. But I knew I had to get ready for another workday.

Deep sigh.

My heart was heavy instead of the slight giddiness I woke up with the last couple of weeks. Something I asked a friend has caused some trouble that I am afraid I cannot now undo.

So the tide has changed. I somehow found myself caught up in my own undoing, saying and doing something that has caused this huge shift in my world. (I literally had to pause and absorb that statement.)

Don’t you just hate it when you do or say something that you wish you could rewind to before it happened, and just edit it out of your day? I’ve been there many times. I wished so hard that the universe would straighten it out, but there’s no denying the shift has occurred.

I never thought the sudden absence of the emojis in the usual texts would change the color of the conversation in such broad strokes. From black to white… from warm to cold… and that was that.

So I just stand on the shore with my feet sunken in the sand. I watch the waves splash at me and pull the sand away from my feet as I sink deeper. But I stay put and fight it. I’m waiting for the tides to switch back — holding on for as long as I can and closing my eyes wishing for that to happen. But it doesn’t. The universe is unmoved.

Someday, I’ll walk away and not look back. And perhaps then, I’d be able to say I’m okay. For now, I’m not. That’s just me being honest about it. I am praying for the grace to accept what has come to pass and to be able to move on knowing it wasn’t meant to be.

Changing tides

Monday Musings: Listening to the universe, April greetings and morning tea

Untitled While Mondays are usually busy, this Monday was busier than most.. I’m not complaining.. I think I did good today, sashayed from task to task in my pretty dress. Sometimes it’s all in the outfit.. forget that the 4 inch heels sometimes make you feel like kicking the pumps off— you plod on. And I did and I’m rather proud of my day.. I try to start the week off on a good note and just hope that the positivity flows on to the rest of the week.

The universe said, let it go. And I did. A question was racking my brain and I got my answer hours later. Did you ever pound your head senseless trying to figure something out, until you feel that you’ve beat the question to death and you just up and go. I didn’t let it get that far. I breathed deep and closed my eyes and then let if go. The answers are not always obvious or within reach, but they will come. You just have to wait..

All these April birthdays! It wasn’t only me who celebrated a birthday.. my brother on the 7th, as well as a favorite nephew and godson.. sister in law on the 18th.. one of my forever besties on the 4th, another on the 23rd. A cousin who passed some years ago was remembered on the 13th.. and a kindred spirit who was a fellow legal eagle, fan of The Bard, and someone who likes elevators like I do, also on the 13th. If only for all these people I celebrate, I’m justified celebrating throughout the month. Who says it should be one day only?

I did my first shot on my birthday, toasting me.. and new beginnings and an even better year ahead. That was an auspicious way to welcome another year being me. and a few days later, splitting a bottle of my favorite bubbly and cake and all the sweet things I am, when my fangs aren’t showing, that is.

I’ll say it again.. I am grateful. My heart is full.

So if you missed greeting me on the 2nd, it isn’t as tardy as you think to greet me for as long as it’s this month!

Art journal in limbo. It’s almost May and I have to confess I haven’t gotten anywhere with the art journal. I am still hopeful because there is so much to write about and put on paper, if only so I can remember when it’s time to go back to today some day. When I find myself wanting to go back and remember the happy times and relive the warm hugs and the laughter. I have been showered with so many reasons to be grateful.

There’s the captain with my diet Coke, the lunch of cheese, saucisson, grapes and Marcona almonds with a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Those mornings someone was sweet enough to make me tea, and coached me to switch trains and just follow the crowds to the right track. Each of those lines could be a page in my art journal.. if only I could find the time to write and draw and paint again.

Finally started writing those letters again. I am way behind answering the letters received from friends— more so the ones that came with postcards to add to my collection. My bad. I have started writing the replies and will hopefully make my 12 letter goal this year. I am trying. Writing used to be effortless. It used to come so naturally. I remember those days when I’d write on anything handy and send them off to friends, one time collecting quite a bunch from a former bestie. I’ve lost most of them, but some I’ve kept. I came across this card from BFF Donna from down under, written almost 30 years ago when we were still both in Manila. I took snapshots and sent it to her and even though she couldn’t remember, the song it referenced was a very special song to us even back then.

Letter from long ago

“How was your day? “ I often wish I could answer that question in all honesty and unburden my heart, or whine and just describe what went on during the day just ended. But I simply say it was okay, or that it was busy but it went fine.. not because I don’t want to let you know how it really went, but sometimes I feel all that might be too much to hear when you’re ending your day as well. Again, in time. Just hearing the question asked is enough for now: even if it’s followed right after by a simple goodnight. It helps to end my day with a smile,. And I sleep better because someone asked the question — until tomorrow’s morning greeting, at least. These simple gestures are a warm hug to my heart.

Mondays are happier these days for many reasons, and again, for each and every one of those, I am grateful.

On turning 56 and other updates

I meant to write this post on the weekend I turned 56, but too many things have been happening that I haven’t caught a breath since, and it’s been more than 20 days.

Turning 56

It feels good to be 56. I see the wrinkles on my face and the wisps of white popping up in my temples and other unexpected places, but I can deal with all that. It’s called aging gracefully. I know I don’t look my age and I always say it’s Asian skin. (Thanks to the melanin!). It might also be because I’ve learned to embrace the passing of the years with acceptance, and a desire to enjoy life as best I can. I am in a happy place, even if a million dollars would make me happier. I could shed not just a few pounds, too, but I’ll take the pound or two that just loves me so much it refuses to leave me.

My not so little guy is actually a man now, getting ready to conquer the world and leave his mum’s protective embrace. Give me a little more time to come to terms with that as I watch him enjoy every meal I cook, or as he hugs me tenderly from out of the blue. And well trained that he is, he still calls out “I love you, mum” in the middle of his video game, guitar playing, or whatever he may be busy with. How he has grown.. how he has changed and stayed the same. If there is one proud accomplishment I can lay claim to, it’s raising this wonderful human being. Motherhood has made the passage of time easier to contend with when you see the heart in this human being you gave birth to. He is always his mother’s son— whether he’s here beside me or somewhere else being his own person. I will let go.. in time.. not just yet. So he plays the guitar and I sing “Yesterday”.. it’s our song not because of the lyric or what the song says, but simply because we can actually pull off a performance from start to finish and be proud of it. (Waiting for him to learn the other songs within my range..)

The son gifted me with two new books I requested. One was a book by former President Obama and Bruce Springsteen which, although I wasn’t a fan, was a bibliophile’s dream acquisition even if unsigned. And there was the paperback of one of my forever favorite authors, John Grisham, Rouge Lawyer. Reading has been such a welcome escape. He still owed me the dedication and birthday card. I have always been very sentimental with the birthday cards, more so from those who need to go out of their way to get one, and write from the heart. For those revealing words, I am truly grateful. And the Starbucks mug from England is a welcome addition to my collection. I always feel special when people remember I am a collector and bring me a mug home from their travels

So I laugh harder and louder. I greet everyone with a genuine optimism and joy — like I really mean the “good” when I said “Good morning.” I had a real smile on my face instead of the usual half-smile that went with the perfunctory greeting. I’m trying to learn more about hockey and trying to understand the men in ice skates and what they are all trying to do. I hang tight with the sudden u-turns but let my heart swing with the car— I don’t fight it. I try to set the pace with a gentle tug as a reminder that I take smaller strides and I don’t walk as fast. I listen but weigh the words— I watch from the distance, almost afraid to take it for what it is. In many ways, this golden girl has been jaded many times over, but not jaded enough not to enjoy the moment. There are just those moments that are meant to be savored as part of “now”, without regard for what comes tomorrow. I am happy.

Life, in general, has been busy. I feel like I am watching my days unfolding in very unexpected ways— and I’m discovering new things that have sparked joy. It was ironic that one of the best birthday presents I received actually came from someone who didn’t even know it was my birthday. It was very spontaneous and honest and raw. Who knew? Sometimes those little surprises that the universe springs upon us are the most impactful.

I feel like the universe is steering me in a certain direction that I am wary of heading towards, because of the choices that need to be made. I have always been open to the many possibilities that are out there, and I have learned to keep expectations and standards reasonable. I will take joy in any shape or form it comes in, and relish it while it is there for the taking. All I know is that I am listening to and watching how the universe is unfolding.

It was a happy birthday. I am smiling even now as I look forward to more surprises from the universe, like the ones that have come my way and have been a warm hug to my heart. I close my eyes and say a prayer of thanks. As a favorite verse says, “I know He hears. I see His sign, the ancient promise of His love.”

I give thanks. I sit in silence and listen. I just take it all in with gratitude and appreciation for all the good in my life. They have given me the strength to face the challenges and the pain with a firmer resolve to make it to another day.

I find myself in that point in my life where I’m thinking of the future. Perhaps it’s Angelo’s leaving for college. Perhaps it’s just that I have put off so many things for so long that they have caught up with me. And I’m wondering if decisions made before should be reconsidered and thought out again. In time.

Those Unexpected Encounters

I have been blogging for 18-19 years now— having started when blogs started to blossom. I had an “online journal” before the blog and I think I managed to move some of my earlier posts to my new space. I did start on another platform, and I eventually moved a majority of my blog.com posts to WordPress when I made my home here.

Through the years, I’ve “met” people who bumped into my corner of the blogosphere and said hello. I have received countless emails from the lawyer wannabes with their questions and reactions to my posts here. (That’s the reason those posts have their own page in the navigation bar on top.). Some have since become lawyers, thanking me after many years and telling me they made it. My heart is full.

There are those whose blogs became favorite stops for me — and who, although we have not met, feel like old friends as we follow each other on social media. (Paging the Two Jeromes)

I know I’m not killing it readership-wise, but I’m happy having my space here, being able to write what I want. No pressure. Full artistic freedom. The interaction with my readers being an added and very heartwarming plus.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet some of the people who have read my blabbering here. Thrice. And I count those three readers now as friends.

The first was Jeanne who I bumped into in my then PinayFRANCOPHILE blog which no longer exists. She was a Filipina living in Paris with her son, and we managed to meet in Paris during my second visit there in 2004. We lost touch for a bit but reconnected on Instagram a few years ago and manage to take a peek into each other’s lives through our posts. (Thank you, social media!)

Second was Lou from the Midwest who used to have a blog on Multiply where I maintained a mirror site. We met each other when she visited New York, and then again when Angelo and I were in Chicago for a cousin’s wedding. She and I and have tried to keep in touch via email. I have a standing invitation to see her next time in Baguio where she now lives. Knowing how she’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from my pledge of a pilgrimage to Manaoag each time I’m in the Philippines, I can’t wait for the next time I get to fly home and maybe sit down for a quick lunch with her, even if I have a standing invitation to stay a night or two. I am aiming low to keep expectations at bay, but can’t wait.

The third is Elaine, a fellow New Yorker who I first met when she was pregnant with her first child 7 years ago, and who is a very dear friend now even if we don’t get to see each other often. She originally found me by doing a random search for Filipinos in New York — and the results point to my spot right here. (Go and try..) Sure, life does get in the way and sometimes there are long silences in between our almost everyday connecting when we do manage — but like I told her this weekend when we finally got to grab lunch and spend a few hours together, friendships take a lot of work, and I appreciate that she’s been there through all these years.

With Elaine last Friday

I don’t really think aboutwho is reading when I write the words that make up the posts I publish. I do know there is someone reading — and it’s a conversation between the writer and the reader, even if I don’t hear your reaction to the things I write. And when I do get a comment which is few and far between, I get the affirmation that there is someone out there who somehow was able to relate to what I said. And there, the conversation begins.

Those who have been reading my posts here from way back have a sense of how my life has changed through the years. I have always worked hard to be truthful and honest, without giving too much away. (You will hardly see a photo of me in my posts, for one..) As someone told me, the stories bring them “there” — wherever it is I’m at.

I am grateful for the friends I have found. From what started as just my ramblings, I have reaped the rewards of friends who have stepped out of the imaginary pages of my space here, giving more than I would have ever thought possible just by putting my thoughts and feelings into words. Unexpected encounters in a most unexpected space — for which I am eternally grateful. Who would have thought..

There are several others who had floated in and drifted away just as quietly as they walked in. Those encounters, no matter how brief, validated my presence here. Just like in real life where we meet people and see some of them leave — some for good, and some for a brief spell only to come back again, ready to give us that hug when we meet up. Those who have found my world in words here have done the same. Some continue to read no matter how far apart my posts may be, and some have moved on — and that’s okay. I enjoy and cherish what’s here now — and I am always grateful for whatever I had, but never regretting that which I don’t have anymore.

So if you have the time to send me a note, you can either leave a comment here, or drop me a line at pinaynewyorker @ gmail dot com. Let’s get a conversation going..

Monday Musings: Keeping away from the “Nega” (as in Negative)

Untitled

I am surprised that this is already the second post I’m drafting today, although this gets published ahead. I lay down in bed just a few minutes after midnight Sunday, and I could’ve sworn that I didn’t really get any sleep until I climbed out of bed just before 6am. I guess it was a combination of the long and deep nap I took mid afternoon to early evening, followed by some caffeinated soda for dinner that did me in. What was even more surprising was that I didn’t feel tired at all — I just wanted to stay in bed because it was warm and toasty. It felt like I just lay down to rest, closed my eyes, and let the hours pass by. And when it was time to get up, there I was ready to start the week.

Another cold Monday, it is. I actually quite enjoyed the warmer days last week when I even managed to wear a dress to work. (I kind of cheated by wearing leggings during the commute, with my feet warmly insulated by my winter boots.. still, it’s a brave step when temperatures can dip to below freezing later in the day.) We walked out into just almost freezing temps today — and again, I’m calling out to spring to come running to me. I want to start wearing my transition coats and sweaters… wear more dresses.. wear the heels again and put the winter stuff away.

It’s all in the delivery. One of my colleagues here at work always says that no matter how trivial or difficult a request may be, it’s all in the delivery or how you state it. I had a rather challenging day with a request for a refill of a prescription from my medical provider. I knew that a refill would probably need to come with an appointment — so I requested for one. After a half hour on the phone working with a representative from the practice, I ended up getting an appointment for May with another doctor, and my prescription refill request in the system. I was looking to get a new inhaler as I had discovered the one I had was already past its expiration date. I thought everything was taken care of when I got a call from the practice’s office, and I was told NO, I CANNOT GET A REFILL BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN TOO LONG SINCE I SAW MY MEDICAL PROVIDER. The prescription I was refilling was issued in 2019 for my maintenance medication to treat my asthma symptoms. Between that visit to last year’s three consultations in January, February and April, I had already exhausted the refill for the prescription. But it was NOT true that I had not been seeing the nurse practitioner. And this was NOT for a temporary ailment, but a pre-existing condition that actually made me qualify for all medical exemptions I needed.

She did set me up with a virtual consultation which was earlier NOT available, but not until Thursday or Friday because my medical provider did not do consults except for those days. Still no refill. I could go to urgent care, she told me, (and pay $125 out of pocket which was the minimum for an Urgent care visit under my insurance plan — not that that was any concern of theirs.) And why was I seeing another doctor in May – “YOU MUST CHOOSE A SIDE. YOU CANNOT SEE THIS DOCTOR AND SEE YOUR NURSE PRACTITIONER.” It’s one or the other. Well, the nurse practitioner wasn’t doing in person consultation, and a physical exam, per their own system had to be in person. The only other nurse practitioner was an uber ride away — literally more than a hundred streets uptown — when all the doctors I saw under their hospital network was 6 blocks away from where I worked. ‘YOU MUST CHOOSE A SIDE. SO ARE YOU KEEPING YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH US OR WITH THE DOCTOR? YOU CANNOT DO BOTH!” I said I will keep both, and my nurse practitioner can renew my prescription, and we can discuss my plan of care thereafter. Said in the calmest voice when I realized I had reached my emotional limit. (I told myself, Breathe..)

BlurbBeing the writer that I am, I wrote my nurse practitioner a total of 3 messages due to the character limit, explaining in brief my frustration over what has happened. I find it so disheartening that this Nurse Practitoner Group’s main page actually declares “CARE ABOVE ALL” as its mantra. I don’t think their “ALL” equates to everyone. Let’s see what happens.

So I kept my calm instead of riding on her negativity. I was actually surprised how I managed to retain my composure given that she kept talking over me. And yes, she kept repeating I have to take a side. I think she forgot that there are insurance plans (like mine) that don’t require a primary doctor. That’s why my deductible is higher — I don’t need a referral.

It’s sad because I do like my nurse practitioner. She’s smart and takes the time to listen and explain. Why else would I forego a Pulmonologist when she has ably taken care of me for almost four years now. When a specialist was needed, she patiently explained my situation and made referrals, but I always had the freedom to choose my doctors. In the thick of the pandemic, I consulted with her at least 4 times, and I always felt I knew she was in control even if we did it virtually. Sad indeed that it wasn’t even her who caused me all this aggravation, but someone who was supposed to be helping her take care of me.

Negativity begets negativity. I choose to stay away.

Monday Musings: Waiting on Spring

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I had about a dozen ideas lighting up in my head between the last post on February 7 until today. I decided I would spend my lunch hour typing away as spontaneously as I can, even if I’m not too happy about the fact that I’m writing about my Monday Musings again.

While most of the workforce is enjoying a long weekend, I’m here with that half of corporate America that doesn’t observe President’s Day as a day off. Luckily, I remembered to check the bus website to track my ride and made it in time to catch an alternative route which involved a longer —- but very pleasant walk—- down Park Avenue. I wish I had more time to spare, though, as I was just so taken by the sculptures dotting the islands between 34th and 42nd before I ducked into Grand Central station. I have quite the 30-second clip to upload to my Tiktok account later, and I have already vowed to take a more leisurely stroll down the avenue to capture all of the sculptures. (I had to skip some to make time to say hello at my favorite Park Avenue Catholic Church on 38th).

Park avenue

Kismet. Fate – or destiny.. or the universe speaking. Perhaps it’s simply age, but I’ve learned to be more accepting of what the universe lays on my feet. For example, if I am rushing out and find that I left something, I don’t fret about it or upset myself unnecessarily. I just say I wasn’t’ meant to be on that bus, or I have to be on the next one. Years ago, I would’ve run back to retrieve what I had left behind, and huffed and puffed my way to the bus stop to try to make the schedule work. Or I would be disappointed when something I thought would happen doesn’t happen. Just not meant to be – at least not yet, I tell myself. It leads to lesser and more manageable disappointment, if at all. And makes for a happier and less aggravated me. In no longer hold promises as a pact set in stone. It will come to be, in time.

My day in 30 seconds. Just as I blog for my own personal benefit (attempting to create a written journal to go back to at a later time), I’ve taken to summarizing my day in short clips I’ve been uploading to Tiktok. Why? Personally, it’s my way to appreciate or sum up the day. From my usual walk up to my perch in Midtown to maybe a lunch or dinner, a special project, or simply something that caught my eye on any given day – it’s a quick glimpse into what transpired. Those 3-second shots or longer clips actually serve a purpose and have a meaning only I really understand. It’s been fun trying to catch snippets of my day and weaving them together in such a short clip.

Palindrome Tuesday. Defined as “(a) word, phrase, sentence or number that reads the same backward or forward,” Tuesday, February 22, is a palindrome date. “2.22.22” backwards or forwards is the same. I participated in a group swap with the Philippine FB group and offered some to swap to a handful of others. I’ve slowed down considerably the last couple of weeks and have been doing other things. Time to start putting away the postcards? Not quite there yet, and don’t really intend to.

Palindrome postcard

Sewing away. So the fabric has been cut, and I’m searching for my interfacing. I’m trying to get this project going so I can move to the next. I still haven’t quite decided on the lining but I know I have more than enough to choose from.

Where art thou, Spring? One of my favorite parts about winter is actually putting away the winter gear and storing them until next year. We are nowhere near that as temperatures over the weekend dipped to below freezing yet again. But there are warmer days up ahead, even if uncharacteristic of the season. I will take any warmer weather I can get until spring finally makes it here.

Monday Musings: Rainy Days and Ice

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It’s another rainy Monday today and I’m watching the temps lest it drop again. So last Friday, it rained and temperatures didn’t stay at 39 degrees as promised, and instead plummeted to below freezing. Long story short, I went home a bit underdressed but still warm and toasty, but suffered the misfortune of slipping on the ice a few meters from my doorstep. I almost made it but miserably failed despite my lug sole winter boots. I’m lucky that I’ve always been good at breaking a fall, even if in the end, I have a scraped knee, tenderness at the palm of my hand and at times a sore bum. I survived. I think the temperature is holding above freezing today, so I am optimistic it won’t be as treacherous a walk home as Friday’s. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Rainy Monday

Do you ever think of those people who have drifted away and have stayed away? I have a very short list of once upon a time BFFs who now literally inhabit a different world. So here I was telling myself I’m in a good place and have enough friends that I don’t feel any void in my life — when the universe comes reminding me exactly that: those that are here are the ones that matter. I don’t begrudge those who have chosen to stay away for their absence, because my world has enough love to fill my heart many times over. Those are the people who truly matter.

Speaking of which, it’s a week to Valentine’s Day. For the last couple of years, my valentine has been my little guy who had complained why a box of chocolates with just 4 truffles cost $20, yet who upgraded me to the $50 box the following year. (I’ve trained him well.). It’s enough that his phone displays me as “Number 1 Girl”, even if I had insisted on that to assert my claim to the title. He’s taken to liking some of my personal creations which means a favorite set of stackable rings and a necklace that has traveled to many places overseas with me are now no longer mine. I’m hoping to surprise him with some new pieces and maybe I can get my favorite necklace back.

Picking up the needle and thread and getting the sewing machine going again. I have quite a hefty stash of embroidery skeins and yarns to knit or crochet with, but an even bigger trove of fabric waiting to be sewn into something to wear come Spring. The yarns have been put to good use with no less than 4 beanies added to my collection. I did resist the urge to crochet scarves this year, save for a multimedia scarf I am piecing together from knit fabric scraps. (Work in progress.). I’m piecing together the pattern for this jacket from MoodSewciety, and after some adjustments, hope to cut the fabric (also from Mood) to try my hand at finally sewing something I can wear to work.
Mood Sewciety free pattern

Sending the postcards and letters on their way. I have actually slowed down quite a bit with the swaps and the Random Acts of Kindness or RAKs, but continue to add to the collection. Postcard collecting can be quite a drain on my time, and I’m trying to focus more on My Postcard Shoppe over at Etsy, which finally has a couple of items listed. As my efforts to send out holiday cards this past Christmas was an epic fail, I’ve also decided to write letters sans the holiday cards to the people I meant to send cards to. (The few who actually got their cards should feel lucky their cards made it out!). I am hopeful that since that will be over a period of time, I might actually get it all done before next Christmas. (I am trying.)

Yes, I’m pulling together a “22 for 2022” list, even if it’s already the second month of the year. Surprisingly, I am whittling down the list instead of falling short on what to write as my personal goals for 2022. Reading more books, finding that rehearsal studio and sitting down with Bach and Beethoven, taking a solo vacation (finally), doing a postcard series and finally doing the podcast, to name a few. Maybe see Billy Joel again, and tracking down some old reliables who now perform in smaller venues in far flung towns.. Daunting and ambitious but I’ve always aimed high. (Previous lists have their own menu on the top of the blog front page.)

And yes, I’m still pining for home — and hoping this year, I finally get to go home again. Quarantine requirements in Manila have been lifted, but the flights are sparse, hence the higher fares. Some airlines of choice like Cathay Pacific aren’t flying yet.. Philippine airlines still isn’t flying daily and charging double the usual fares for the period I am looking to fly. I am trying to hold my excitement over the thought of the possibility at bay, but I am wishing very, very hard that I get to go. Soon.

And yes, I’ve been bitten by the Tiktok bug. You’ll find me there as Gotham_Chick (for the Etsy shop and crafting), PinayNewYorker for all things personal and unrelated to the business, and MyPostcardShoppe for the postcard collection and the new shop.

So for now I will ride out the winter and wait for the warmer days to find me. And I will hopefully get to write here more regularly. (That had become a mantra for the last few years that I hope I can finally live up to in 2022.). There is much to write about, if only I can find the focus to sit and write like I was able to today. Fingers crossed.