I love my Mom

Now that I’m a mother myself, I feel even closer to my Mom who is with me again for at least another 5 months before she has to return to Manila.  We have always been close although I am really a Daddy’s Girl. 

Seeing her taking care of my son with such love is something I cherish.

My mom is a woman of courage and ambition.  Although she came from humble beginnings, she made sure her children got the best education possible given our means.  She always encouraged us to better ourselves by giving us the chance to enroll in dance and music school, and moderated but not restricted our extra curricular activities.  She was always supportive and applauding us from the sidelines.

I know that she is here because of me and more importantly, Angel.  That is a big sacrifice on her part but one she is doing out of love.  Love that only a mother truly knows.  I am so lucky that she has been a guiding light in my life — even if in my earlier years she had to work hard to give us a good life.  Motherhood now is something that comes second nature to me because I learned firsthand from an expert at it — my own Mom.


Just because..

Security called me at around 10AM today to tell me there were flowers for me.. (ME??!!)  Yes, he said, for me.  I went down thinking it might be for the boss or something, but it turns out it was a beautiful arrangement from my honey. 

He wrote:

Dear Bu —

Surprise!!! Just because… Just wanted you to know that little bu and I appreciate all that you do.  We love you! 

Dada Bu and Little Bu

I’m speechless. =)  Totally made my day.  Little perks like this make it all worthwhile!

Trying to stay positive

I had started typing a post yesterday which looking at it now, is way too negative it convinced me it was not worth giving vent to in my blog.  So instead of going back to finish what is a good sized posting, I have decided to delete it and try to stay positive instead.

It seems that besides praying, staying positive is just about the best I can do.  I’m settling down to my new job, but still tying up some last loose ends.  I finally submitted something to the system and I’ve washed my hands of it.  It was not easy bouncing it around the past couple of months but now it’s done!  Feeling ko nabunutan ako ng tinik sa dibdib.  (I am tempted to translate but I think it’s not going to come out coherent.. LOL)

As I said, one of those things that I just need to get off my plate.  It can get stressful doing things you want so desperately to get away from, but they’re done.  Finally..


Craft Report: Found my cross stitch thread guide

I have a cross stitch project I have been working on for the last year and a half.. it has lain untouched in the bedroom the past couple of months because I misplaced my threadguide.  The cross stitch pattern was there, but I had lost the thread guide to help me with which thread to use.  I was working off of a color photocopy of the original pattern which I couldn’t find either.

Yesterday I spent a few minutes up in the attic looking for the photo print outs of my Paris trip for the scrapbook when lo and behold, there it was, not even tucked beneath other things but just inside a suitcase containing some of my things — the original of the pattern I needed.

I haven’t gotten back to work just yet, but I definitely intend to finish this before the year is out.  If I can have it framed before the new year, it will be perfect.  Finally finishing it!

Too short a long weekend

The sun is almost completely down even though it’s just 13 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.  Such are our late afternoons here in the winter in New York where we see the night sky as early as 5PM.  It’s not that unbearably cold outside.  Alan and I went out to pick up lunch and get the panoramic pictures I had taken in Paris.  I don’t know if it was just the atmosphere then which was mostly muggy and cloudy (it was, after all, end February) — or because the photo lab technician tried to improve the pictures, but they came out with a brownish hue which accentuated the old architecture of the Louvre and the copperish steel color of the Eiffel tower.  So I’m not complaining.

My scrapbook?  I’m getting along, and will be putting together the photos for the first part which makes up the first day I explored Paris on my own.  (Alan was still in meetings..)  Meanwhile, the weekend has ended.  Four days — can I have four more?

It’s going to be a hectic next few days as deadlines are here.  I am also trying to clean up all my loose ends with the old job.  We would’ve wanted to get into the holiday mode here at home but we weren’t able to get the new vertical blinds (although we made it as far as the blinds store — if only the line wasn’t THAT long!), and neither were we able to decorate the house.  I might yet fiddle with my parol tonight and get it working, but I need to work on a third of the lamps which don’t flicker anymore.  I bought this kapampangan parol back when I went home in 2002 and every year, it is the landmark sign of our unit when we invite friends over because we are the only ones who have it.

If I can pull it off, I will make small white parols to hang from the windows facing the courtyard.  That should take a day to make, then I need to figure out how to light them.  Alan leaves for a business trip next Saturday, but with or without our christmas tree, I will start decorating.

We were all getting dressed to take a drive to nowhere in particular as a family when Angel started acting up and sure enough, it was because he was sleepy.  The boy is snoring away on his roll away sofa in the living room.  There goes our drive.  He’s been a doll, but as I told a cousin, he looks like a two year old and is starting to act like one.. !  (Remember those terrible twos??!!!)

Too short a weekend, indeed.  The next holiday will be the day after Christmas which is a month away, then the day after New Year.  (Both days fall on a Sunday this year..)  We’re not going anywhere.. it’s always nice to just “chill” here in the house.

I did get to accomplish a few things this long weekend besides get some major rest.  I found my cross stitch thread guide for the tapestry of Our Lady of Perpetual Help I’ve been working on for over a year now.  While I cannot get to that until the coming weekend, it’s heartening to think that I will finally be able to finish the project and hopefully get that framed and hung on our common hallway between the bedrooms before the New Year.

It’s been a good weekend.. we didn’t do any Christmas shopping but we’ve started thinking about it.  We’ll just take a day off sometime middle of the month to do it all in one day, instead of stressing with the rest of mankind in the malls this Thanksgiving weekend.  We chose to stay home and give thanks for the blessing of our family — and give thanks indeed, we did.

Champorado on a Saturday afternoon

I have some leftover malagkit here from an attempt to make some biko ages ago.  (I can’t even remember when..)  Mom had bought a tub of Hershey’s Cocoa even before she left in April this year to return to Manila with the idea to make me some champorado.  Well, we finally had champorado this afternoon and all I can say is it’s soooo yummy!

I grew up in a household where we had good champorado, ginataang mais, ginataang halohalo, pancit, and all the good stuff merienda is made of.  Mom even made maja blanca before, I used to make palitaw, and we always had access to the goodies from sapin-sapin to the mango cream pie of Red Ribbon Bakeshop.

I was trying to make Angel taste the champorado, but he’s been torn between lying down to nap (which he hasn’t done yet), and playing around now that everyone is just lounging around here at home.

These are the foods that I want my son to grow up with … even if the champorado means the pre-packaged boxed champorado.  And there’s always biko, cassava cake and suman from the Filipino stores.

Feedback: On Scrapbooking

Here’s another comment from my friend, Lani:

You know what D, I also want to start scrapbooking (digital or manual). I actually joined a digital scrapbooking e-group but unfortunately I wasn’t able to download those free templates offered by some of my co-members.

This December I plan to start my (manual)scrapbooking.

Happy scrapbooking, sweetie and please give me naman some tips on scrapbooking (hehehe).

Lani, the idea has got me hooked.  I spend most of my free time browsing through scrapbooking sites to get ideas and to surf sites offering free resources.  Being crafty, I also have stocks of notions and odds and ends I’m trying to use for my first project.

Although I had initially thought I would get away with not using scrapbooking paper and downloading scrapbook printables and piecing together available patterns into the 12×12 sheets I need, I think you have to be ready to spend for the basic paper stock as well.  (I already succumbed and bought a bunch although I continue to piece together patterned sheets.  They can be expensive here at anywhere from $.30 to $.99 per sheet!  Basic cardstock though is like construction paper but selling for something like $5.00 for 20 sheets, depending on the type/color.)  The key is choosing your color scheme.  I’m going more for the darker shades of the primary colors, with a mix of beige and other earth tones.

Here are some free scrapbooking sites.  You will have to be ready to print when you go to them, though, because they are mostly non-savable (sp?) resources.

One site that will allow you to save your background packages is Scrapbookscrapbook.com .  You will need to download the Efax Viewer which isn’t really a hassle, and you can have a pick of quite a selection of backgrounds from the tartan patterns I wrote about to floral prints including etoile, and paper textures.

Hewlett Packard has it’s own Activity Center which will allow you to print various projects from scrapbooks to cards and picture frames, but it will not allow you to save.

You won’t believe the various scrapbooking sites devoted to the hobby and you can get a ton of ideas from them.  Good luck and keep sharing!

Tartan in my scrapbook

Cross posted on my PinayFrancophile and Friendster blogs

I’ve spent most of my free time the past few days “stitching” together scrapbook paper for my Paris scrapbook.  I had mostly blues and a few reds and beiges.  A paper store website gave me some paper samples which I have been able to weave into loud floral borders.

I tried to put together an orange pair and a pink pair as well, but now that I found a website that had free scrapbook background papers for download and one of the packages I downloaded was tartan (or what most people refer to as plaid) backgrounds.  They are such a breeze to “stitch” together even if they download onto regular letter (8×11) pages.  Three sheets will make a 12×12, and the stitching is seamless given the straight lines in the various pages.

Meanwhile, I’ve designed various sheets in shades of blue and printed them onto 12×18 sheets via color laser.  One sheet I’m particularly proud of because it looks as though it had been bought from a store.  I had also managed to scan parts of the two Paris maps we had used and pasted the various parts together into one solid graphic (given that the flatbed could not scan the whole map), giving me additional background graphics.

In my spare time, I try and cut out the flowers and other embellishments I’d pulled off the clipart collection of Microsoft online which I intend to paste into a floral collage as borders, frames and spotholders.

I’ve also collected a sizeable bunch of border artwork which I resized or pasted onto 12 inch strips.  I have saved cutting it into pieces for when I actually find a use for it.

My sewing kit has an assortment of threads and buttons which I intend to use as additional embellishment, and I have always had a penchant for collecting fabric swatches from IKEA and the color swatches from the hardware store.  It’s just that at the time, I was concentrating on reds and greens with just a smattering of blue (because I intended to use them to make my own Christmas cards sometime in the future), but now that I know my color theme, I intend to go back to the IKEA in Hicksville to collect more swatches in my color scheme. 

Browsing scrapbooking sites has also given me a lot of ideas about what I can do for this project, and it’s basically what has convinced me to stick to one color scheme.  I’m glad I did this before I used up the other colors in my paper stock. 

This weekend, I’m piecing together basic pages per tartan pattern, and I’m going to start writing up the captions and journal entries for the scrapbook.  Hopefully before Monday, I’d have been able to put together the first few pages of my Paris sojourn.

I have two friends to credit for the inspiration – Kate and Pier who I sat down with for dinner some two weekends ago.  Kate has even invited me to a scrapbooking event in Manhattan on December 5 which I hope to attend.

My scrapbook has definitely started to take shape — and I’m getting very excited to see my Paris trip unfold again.  Now if I can only find a French dictionary that shows the intonations and definitions, not just equivalent English words, I have red tags to put them on to deck the various pages.  It’ll not just be a trip down memory lane but an elementary lessong in French as well.

Working on the scrapbook has been very relaxing for me — it has even made blogging a second passion only because I’ve devoted a lot of my time online to surfing for scrapbook resources, downloading fonts, artwork, background paper and actually resizing and creating something I can use for my project.  So I guess the books I’ve been meaning to read will have to wait for later..

The things I'm thankful for

Below is a post I started drafting on Thanksgiving day itself but didn’t get to finish until Sunday after Thanksgiving while writing a missive to my bestfriend, Fe..

Today is a big holiday weekend for Americans as they celebrate Thanksgiving.  For someone who has lived here the last 5 years, I’ve learned to live as they do and consider myself adapted to the spirit of this holiday.  Of course Christmas is still my favorite holiday — in fact we are going to decorate the house this weekend.  But in the meantime, more than just looking forward to the family feast, I want to stop and think about the things I’m thankful for on this day of giving thanks.

A loving husband and a healthy son.. Although it was at the cost of giving up everything back home, I wouldn’t trade the life I have with my son and my better half for anything — challenges and all.  All I have to do is flash a picture of Angel’s disarming smile in my mind and all my worries and aches and pains go away, and I’m reminded of how truly blessed I am.

The love of my parents, siblings and friends.. We have our share of soap drama in the family but I feel lucky to still have my parents with me.  Even if my siblings and I have different personalities, we grew up very tight and remain very close to this day.  My sister would have no qualms borrowing my toothbrush if we had no choice and my brother would have no qualms running to me for help — and I would be the same towards them.  We have had our disagreements but we have always held on to the bond of family.  I feel equally blessed by the presence of the people who have become true and dear friends through the years.  I have been fortunate that even if we are 10,000 miles apart, we have remained true to each other.

There are many things I say thanks for with each passing day.  I thank God for the fact that He has given me another day.. I thank Him for the wisdom to deal with the challenges I face — for the little miracles that give me the big ones.  I thank Him for His presence in my life — something not everyone is fortunate enough to have in theirs.

Yes, I give thanks to Him for everything I have and will have in my life. 

I have been busy with my scrapbook

I just realized now that I have been busy posting in my Pinay Francophile blog and have been unable to post here since Friday.  Well, the scrapbooking bug has hit, and I thought that before I start working on additional embellishments or paper, I better set something down here.

I’m trying to hide in my little corner here on my new floor.  I want to enjoy the silence — the new boss is out on vacation all week, and next week, I think he forgot to tell me that he won’t be around on Monday.  Then again, I think he just moved a meeting which means he will be.  I really want him around, though, because we haven’t had the chance to bond except for Friday since I started here.  I guess his schedule will take some getting used to considering he’s always on the road.  (Which is something which really appealed to me when I applied to be his assistant.)

In the meantime, I’m trying to get some work done while trying to tie up loose ends with the old boss.  (Yes, that one again..)  I’m waiting for a call from them but it has been quiet.  I know they want something from me but no one has called, so they’re probably driving themselves nuts trying to find some paperwork I have.  Mean old me, I’m waiting for the call instead of coming forward.  Sometimes I realize I have not been that good an assistant to the old boss after all, considering the lapses and my shortcomings.  Some, for the most part, were caused by the strain in our relationship and the way we worked as boss and assistant.  I feel no remorse at this point really.  I’m just sitting here trying to do my job as best as I can for the new boss.

There is a marked difference in the way I’ve been handling my work here in my new position.  There is less stress and overall, I feel good about coming to work.  Mondays are no longer dreadful, and I can rest easy during the weekends knowing I need not fear my phone ringing with the old boss’s caller ID.  (Although yesterday her new assistant called me to ask for the number for the car service as she had to cancel a request they had made during the previous week.. now why didn’t she think of putting the numbers on her phone like I did?)

I have been trying to gt started with work but have managed to get preoccupied with little things this morning.  This afternoon, I’m working hard all day.  Have to — I want to go into the long weekend knowing I’m good as far as my deliverables are concerned so I can enjoy it. 

Piecing together my artwork and paper into scrapbook sheets has been rather tedious but very rewarding.  My precision point knife has been most helpful.  I now want to concentrate on getting little borders or frames to put my text in.  There are many resources online and so far, I’m happy with the things I’ve gotten.  Just need more print outs.

Last week I was able to download some free fonts from online servers offering them which were attuned to the theme of my scrapbook.  I have been good keeping away from expenses but I need a self healing mat because cutting on top of magazines I was throwing out is a little difficult when I’m doing 12×12 pieces on a smaller cutting surface.  (That’s on my to-do list this weekend.. will pay my local craft store a visit!)

So that’s my scrapbook update.. for the specific scrapbook update, visit my Pinay Francophile blog in the link below, or click the link on the left side of this page.