Reconnecting on Facebook

I have a confession to make.  I am usually a reluctant social networker on the web and signing up for Facebook was really out of a sense of needing to get into it based on other friends being in it.  (And Alan had joined up — so I guess I felt braver going in..)  I resisted MySpace, Hi5, and the like — maintaining a Friendster account only because I have classmates and relatives there.  I went into Multiply not so much for the social networking bit but for the blog and the photo archiving utility within that network. I wasn’t prepared for the way Facebook would enable me to reconnect with friends and family — some of whom I had not been in touch with for decades — LITERALLY.

It seems that every so many days, I find an old friend from college, a grade school classmate who went to another high school, someone I went to law school with, someone I had worked with.. or long lost relatives or younger relatives who have no idea who I am.  (“I’m your long lost Tita..blah blah blah”)

It has been very heartwarming to be saying hello to people with whom I had spent a good part of my younger years with, and who had faded into oblivion as I moved on.  I am just awed by how many of my friends seem to have weathered the years very well — and although you can say the years had caught on, they look pretty much the same.  I would be able to recognize them if I bumped into them here in New York or in Manila or wherever else fate might make us meet.  Facebook has enabled us to “catch up” as we go through pictures, do wall posts and just correspond through private messages.

As of this writing, I’m a few friends shy of 400.  It isn’t a conscious effort to rack up more people on my friend list — my list has grown with some amount of trepidation on my part to boldly request friends from way back to add me.  There is always that fear that a request from someone would put them in a quandary about adding me or not.  I have so far not denied any friend requests except for one that came from a total stranger.  I have a few pending friend requests out there that have yet to pull through, but I figure those who have not added me have their reasons.  They might be too busy or maybe, they just don’t remember who the hell I am. 

Of that long list of “friends”, I have only had one occasion to “unfriend” someone after a life-altering conversation where I realized this person probably wouldn’t appreciate being updated with the things going on in my life anyway.  I figured anyone who had such strong feelings against me shouldn’t have to be bothered by my rantings (like this one) or photo album updates or wall posts.  Besides, I think anyone who finds someone’s finger being jabbed at her would hit that “block” button faster than you can refresh your friend list on your mobile.

There are too many gems of a find that make Facebook a continuing source of wonder for me.  How many childhood friends from grade school have I found here on FB?  I have googled the names to death and have tried to look elsewhere — and here on FB is where we “met” again.  And there are the countless friends from UP Lightbearer and UP Timang who have all surfaced here.. colleagues from our MK days in UP Manila.  Classmates from the Ateneo School of Law.. former co-workers at the ad agency I used to work for and the two multinational companies I worked for immediately preceding my departure for New York in 2000.

I have come across long lost relatives and the next generation who I am getting acquainted with only now.  Cousins I haven’t spoken with for years, and god daughters who never even knew who this M.I.A. Ninang was.  There is much to make up for with all the stories that are waiting to be told.  In many instances, it’s a time to get to know each other again after all the years that have passed.

We often hear it said: “The wonders of technology…indeed.”  How else would it have been possible on all these fronts? 

At the end of the day, we find ourselves remembering how things were — and no matter how innocent or how short a comment exchange might be, there are countless things that we discover about our network and ourselves.  I get reminded of those years when what was easy was complicated — and when my world revolved around a smaller universe. 

So I choose to forget that there was a time when we were defined by our political leanings in school — when one would be judged according to whether or not you came to school in a car or if you commuted down the length and breadth of Taft Avenue, or Buendia and EDSA for those of us at HV de la Costa.  There is just that joy of finding people who were once a part of our lives.  Squabbles among the elders in the family that brought the next generation apart become inconsequential.  Instead, you look at the next generation as they come to their own.  And there are those who, you discover, never really went anywhere and continue to be the same friend you once knew way back when.

Reconnecting is not always as simple as just saying hello.. there are joys and disappointments to it.  But the eternal optimist that I am, I’d like to think that there is always something positive someone else can bring my way, or something new someone can teach me — and if I can go out of my way to find new friends, it should be worth the effort to reconnect with old ones.

See you on Facebook…!

Musings on a Monday

Despite a long night, I managed to wake up at a reasonable hour and am getting ready for the week ahead with my home-brewed Dunkin Donuts Vanilla flavored coffee.  We’ve stashed the coffee press away again and I’m  back to my ever-reliable programmable coffeemaker.  Thing is I forgot to put the coffee in last night, so I ended up brewing it early this morning.  Not to worry — since I’m brewing for Alan and I only, it’s a snap.

My Monday promises to be a busy day.. the fact that I have been suffering from slight vertigo since the weekend doesn’t help but I think I’ll survive. 

It’s starting to warm up here in New York but the morning is still a chilly 60 something.  So the Mommy in me is vacillating between sending the little boy to school wearing shorts or jeans.  I think I’ll go for the latter.  There’s a promise of 84 degrees later..

The weekend went rather well–. a get-together with friends in Pennsylvania last Saturday, an unsuccessful attempt to bring Angelo to watch Earth yesterday (which didn’t quite work out but we had our usual run of errands on a sunny Sunday…).. and several episodes of the now defunct BBC series Hotel Babylon

I’m back to planning Angelo’s 5th birthday party (two weeks to go!) and working on my scrapbooks.  Almost May now, can you believe?  It just serves to remind me that no matter what happen, life goes one — and time doesn’t stop for anyone. 

Tulip Crazy

 I have been enamored by these beautiful flowers which are a staple of spring.  A few days ago, I had started taking pictures of the tulip bulbs up close as you saw in the post below and Friday afternoon (or early evening since it was after 6pm), I decided to stop by and take another look at the halfway blooming bulbs and I snapped away again.  I wish spring didn’t go by too fast — it would be nice if it was more subtle like Autumn is where you literally see the landscape changing colors through the weeks. 

Bryant Park in the Spring is such a hub of activity that brings New Yorkers and tourists alike in droves to the vast expanse of green littered with chairs inviting everyone to stop by and sit.  The air was cool and a tad nippy but not chilly.  Still jacket or coat weather, though, but the sun was out.  After days and days of rain, it was a welcome respite from the horrors of a wet New York.

I am dying to go to Central Park.  There just hasn’t been time.  I hope I still get to catch spring in full bloom when I finally do.  Meanwhile, I’ve decided to use more of the tulips for my blogheader, and I’ve put my site name as a permanent sign outside the header.  That way, we all get to enjoy the tulips and scenes of spring in New York without being bothered by the blog ID.

Saturday.. we’re supposed to be heading out to a barbecue in Pennsylvania which is going to be quite a drive — but the chauffer is still taking his power nap.  Me, I’m catching up with the e-mails, blogging, and hopefully, some scrapbook layouts that need redoing.  Oh, and maybe get a to a chapter of my English El Fili.  (Still on Placido Penitente.)  I really, really want to get on with the reading, but there are nights when I’m too exhausted to read. I actually slept through a rerun of  Law & Order Criminal Intentlast night which is unusual — so now I don’t know who was actually pulling the strings in the case they were trying to solve last night.

I fell asleep while cuddling Angelo in his fold out sofa.  I even said no to the Crumbscupcakes Alan had brought home which he offered to me around midnight.  (That should tell you I was absolutely wiped out!)  Well the weekends are here and I can feel myself recharging.  I can feel the vertigo back, though.  (Which makes me wonder if the trip to Pennsylvania is really such a good idea..)  No meds for me, please.  It’ll knock me out and make me useless for the next 24 hours if I take any.  I’ll live.  I’ve had this forever — something I discovered in my teens and which really comes and goes.  (Maybe the cupcake I had for breakfast will make it go away.  Ha!)

Meanwhile, I have my tulip shots to relax with.. makes you smile at how wonderful nature truly is.  The handiwork of a true artist — just look at all that beauty around us.

The Colors of Spring

We’ve been experiencing some horrible weather here in New York the last couple of days and the sun was taking a peek behind the cloudy skies this morning, but it was dry.  So I thought I’d take a moment to stop by Bryant Park before heading to work to take some pictures of the tulips that deck every nook and cranny of this 42nd street patch of green.  There are days when I get so tempted to do just that but I often find myself rushing up to the office.  Not today.  I took a walk around the park and caught the newly planted bulbs.  I’ll be back when they’re all in bloom.  What a treat for the eyes — even after things turned gloomy and the rain started to fall.


As my mom would say…

My mother has this pearl of wisdom that she had tried to ingrain in me from a very young age — that we are all created differently, and that although I had my strengths and my talents, I should not expect others to be at par with them, and that I should be patient and accept others for their shortcomings.  For if we were all created equal, then I wouldn’t be good at what I was good at — I would be part of the norm so to speak.  It was her way to instill some humility in me by making me realize even those who fall short were given less for a reason.

I miss my Mom.  And I miss her all the more the past few weeks that I have had some challenges as far as being judged for what I have said and done by those who didn’t know me well enough.  It has taken me the past two weeks to be able to say I’m okay now.  Even thinking about what had happened and the things that had been said no longer rile me up or unsettle me like they did when the words were still ringing in my ears.

After all, I am by no means a saint.  Forgiveness is easier for me than forgetting.  And sometimes, the memory of painful words and incidents are harder to let go of than the feelings of pain associated with it.

But my mother is right.  While I have managed to widen my outlook in life and I have a higher tolerance for the quirks of others who do not think like I do, I cannot expect others to be as open-minded nor as accepting as I am.  I, too, fall prey to wrong judgment, even if you say it’s giving someone the benefit of the doubt that was undeserved.  My bad, as I would say — I should’ve known better.

Sometimes I am honest to a fault, to the point that I end up putting my foot in my mouth.  Or worse, to the point that I end up being misjudged or misunderstood.  Then again, perhaps it is those brushes with people jumping to conclusions wrongly about what I meant by what I did or said that has made me more tolerant of others.  Where I would normally have shunned the types whose opinions clashed with mine, I have learned that sometimes, tolerance will get me farther and will actually not really cost me much — except perhaps for a spell with boredom and a tug-of-war with my patience. 

I had written a lengthy missive — hoping to assure a third party that I was not angry at him.  After all, the transgressions of the wife are not the transgressions of the husband.  I am actually not even angry — just totally disconnected.  That a friendship that we had all hoped would be formed is now a distant possibility is but a consequence of what happened.  There was a question as to how to rectify things, or how to resolve the situation — but to my mind, there was nothing to resolve, it was not a wrong that could be righted just as there was no question that needed answering..  It just happened and we all have to live with the consequences. 

I, too, am guilty of sometimes closing my doors to people who strike a raw nerve in me.  But I retreat and just take a step back — I don’t go charging to tell off this person I don’t like how she does things or what she said or what not.  There are people who, for no reason at all, don’t have a good fit with me socially, just as there are people who make me feel as though I’ve known them a lifetime and then some.  But for the former, I remind myself about what my Mom used to tell me.  I hear her telling me I should not look for what I want or what I hope to see in the people I encounter — I should not look for “me” in them.  So where I would be more patient, I realize others will not be as tolerant.  Where I would have the gumption to speak out, others would be timid.  Where I would choose to hold my piece, others would be outspoken.

Pandacan, Manila left an unsigned comment

While I have made some exceptions about publishing comments from those who fail to leave a working e-mail or URL to track back to, there are still those who insist on putting nonsensical comments like the ones I got from someone in Pandancan, Manila just recently on my post on Alimangos. 

Ah, the wonders of technology.  Short of giving your full address, it can actually tell me where you are.. and yes, we can go as far as get the address if I fork up the money but which I find completely uncalled for.   

On with the Scrapping

I’ve been planning to do this for a bit now but I hardly have had the time to seriously scrap.  With Spring here and more trips coming, I’ve decided to seriously pursue this personal project. 

One of the things that drew me to scrapbooking is how it enables you to weave bits and pieces of mementos from the occasion or event or person you are scrapping about into the layout.  In the beginning, I downloaded printable scrapbook elements and “stitched” them together into actual scrapbook pages.  My introduction to digital scrapbooking was gradual but while I have created layouts digitally, I cannot avoid adding actual embellishments or elements — be it tickets, brochures or magazine articles relevant to the trip.  Wherever I go, I have a scrapbooker’s eye out for “scrappable” paper, items, and souvenirs.  In essence, I do hybrid scrapbooking which is a mix of digital and “actual” scrap layouts.

I have been trying to create my own embellishments, both drawn and crafted.  I haven’t really been able to create as much as I’ve wanted to for lack of time, but my scrapping eye has hit upon an idea to create scrapbook elements and embellishments from a single magazine.  So I’ve decided to pick a specific issue of one magazine to dissect and pull elements from.  So that’s my MAG SCRAP PROJECT.

For starters, I’m taking low resolution photographs of each and every page in the magazine I will use to catalogue where the pieces I use come from.  I don’t know how long this will take or how far this will go.  That’s what I find most challenging and interesting about this new project of mine.  With several projects currently on my plate, I should have enough layouts to use whatever it is I come up with.  It has been challenging creating these embellishments I create in a format that will enable me to share it, but I will try and mak ethis possible whenever I can.  My graphics software capability is very limited, so it depends on how well I can make a usable graphic file of my elements.

Let me start by choosing which magazine I will use.. next step is to take pictures of the pages and we’re going to get on with this project.

Susan Boyle Dreams a Dream..

Susan Boyle – Singer – Britains Got Talent 2009 – video powered by Metacafe

I posted this clip to my Facebook profile yesterday and I know it has moved a few of my friends who took my invitation to view it.  As I wrote by way of a personal note there:

I have watched this video countless times and continue to be awed by Susan Boyle’s talent and powerful performance (during her audition for Britain’s Got Talent) over and over again. Up until I saw Susan Boyle sing I DREAMED A DREAM, I thought no rendition would move me as much as Lea Salonga’s live performance when Alan and I watched her do Les Miserables on Broadway.. up until I heard Susan Boyle’s version, that is.. you HAVE to watch this…Very inspiring and moving indeed. This is a full video of her audition from the pre-performance spiel to the the post-audition clip. Enjoy…

Thinking about pan de sal as I enjoy my morning cup of coffee

I signed in to write a blogpost hoping to write about my coffee press.  But between the time I sat down to write this and got in here, I started thinking about pan de sal.  Yummy old style Manila pan de sal.  I am being specific because we have our own versions here on the East Coast.  The last time I bought a bag, it was even whole wheat.  None of the pesto flavored or the corned beef or tuna types, though. =(  Only in Manila.

I ran out of coffee filters last week and had used my coffee press one morning — Alan liked it so much that I have been using my old coffee press which had been tucked away in one of the shelves of my pantry since then.  It does have a different flavor.  Forget that I’ve had to consciously grind my coffee beans to a grainier texture than the usual fine grind (which is good for the paper cone filters).  It actually is a different experience.  The coffee steeps and turns up creamier.  The flavor is not as solid but more apparent.  Now all I need is some pan de sal.