The Fourth of July Weekend looms ahead

I started writing this post two days ago (Monday) as I was thinking about it being a Monday when I was in a (somewhat) upbeat mood and yet looking forward to the weekend.  We are planning a short weekend trip to Lake George where we hope to spend some fun time together as a family.  We’re even taking my mother-in-law who has been enticed by the change of scenery and the promised fresh air.

I didn’t get any further than that first paragraph and my blog post lay in draft mode. 

I’ve been ticking off a mental checklist in my head, and I am actually going to do a written one today — marshalling my resources and making sure I have everything covered.  I even got a new swimsuit more suitable to my current voluptuous size. (wink)  I am also trying to get together the pantry supplies we will need, as well as trying to cover “entertainment” options.  (Read: downloading my ABS-CBN soaps so I can catch up.)  I would like to see the P-Noy (President Noynoy Aquino) Inaugural or part of it if I can.  (Check.)  I also want to be able to finally finish the English translation of Il Filibusterismo which has been in my living room all this time, and maybe start reading something new.  (I am still trying to get on with “Pride & Prejudice” which came free with the E-reader from Barnes and Noble on my Blackberry.)  I just let out an audible sigh after I realized that I have been no good in the reading department even if I don’t have to buy any new books to read, because I’ve had a dozen or so collecting dust on my bookshelf.

Sunblock, lotion, chapstick.  Snacks, artificial sweetener, water.  Some of these things we will probably get closer to our destination.  (Milk, for one, cannot be lugged from Queens to Lake George — unless I get the UHT variety…)  And the usual stamps and address labels for my postcards.  I am actually thinking about using some vintage postcards of Lake George that I came across years ago and which is part of my New York Postcard collection (vintage and new) and send them home which is what I customarily do whenever we go on a trip. 

I am even working on my scrapbook embellishments ahead (this time) just so I can start some layouts as I go along.  I’m using brown (kraft) paper on this project and am all excited about the different things I’ll be creating.  (Which I hope to share as downloads for those digital scrapbookers who might stray into this part of the blogsphere.)  So let’s see where that goes…

Craft experiments

My favorite past time of late is to virtually shop for beads and other craft goodies, research on materieals and think of new ways to create.  While I haven’t bought anything lately (since I am still stocked up on materials I have yet to turn into jewelry pieces), it gives me an idea about possible combinations.  It’s like reading a book, but browsing things virtually.

I am in the middle of creating a baroque pearl lariat necklace for someone who has everything — or practically everything — that the only meaningful present I can think of would be something I made.  I have a few other pieces I’m putting together to give as gifts.  (Forget the store and selling! LOL)  It doesn’t help that I haven’t actually had time to create much.  I did manage to post new earrings but I haven’t added to my stocks.  I really have to work on this soon because pretty as the pearls and the beads may be in their organizers, they are no good to me if they are not ready to sell.

Dried rose petals I'm trying to fashion into beads

I am even experimenting on rose beads.  I had dried these pretty two-tone roses a month or two ago, and I had tried working on creating beads out of the petals before they were completely dry  based on some online resources, but they ended up losing their pretty colors that I decided I would let them dry instead.  I never quite got to them because they were so pretty on my desk, but today, I fashioned 7 beads (approximately 10-12mm each) which, I am drying for 24 hours before applying another coating of craft glue or resin.  (I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.)  The point is to see how much the beads will shrink or contract once the glue dries out.  If they work and they are usable to make a necklace or bracelet, I will post the how-to here.  (More to follow..)

I am hoping for the day when I’ll be writing here complaining about how I cannot cope with the demands of the store.  It’s been pretty quiet there, but hey, it’s the recession.  And I always say it’s a numbers game — I have to populate the store to offer more choices.  And then maybe one day soon, I’ll see that number of sales in three digits instead of the two that it still is.  =(  In time…

No Feedback.. for now

It seems to me that more and more, I end up logging on to approve or delete comments that seem to be coming in droves, but which apparently are SPAM that are being “spread” around to provide links to certain commercial sites.  The comments can seem pretty harmless, but sometimes they get tired of “connecting” to the topic or post they are commenting on, and it leaves me asking “Say what?”.  So I’m going to ignore comments for the next couple of weeks until it tapers off.  (If  it will..)

It looks like I’ve injured a finger for the nth time.  Teeny tiny drop of blod on a fingernail… hmmmm… looked at the actual middle finger and saw a really tiny cut.  I can’t even remember where it might’ve come from. 

I’ve been meaning to write and say something here all week long but the truth of the matter is, I just don’t know where to start.  (Yes, I’m in another one of those ruts.)  It happens.  I’ve also been trying to catch up on the jewelry-making, and have so far posted an addition 7 earrings in the shop.  I have around half a dozen others more to post but I need to take photographs, which reminds me,  my Flickr account has been quiet, too.

Not for lack of photos to upload.  I have just been unable to find the time to (1) take pictures, and (2) upload what I have.

Soon.  In the meantime, there’s the blog (here and my craft blog) and I have three topics I am itching to write about:

– the tyke just finished kindergarten (!);

– Father’s Day is this weekend (!);

– plus some odds and ends.

It is supposed to be a sunny weekend so I’m hoping we can drive to the wineries of the North Fork of Long Island and use my brand new picnic caddy (courtesy of my new boss..) and maybe take some photos again.  On another note, I hope to visit Central Park this summer again and take photos before the fall.  My trusty cam has been getting a lot of use, but I’m not using it as much as I hope to.

Summer’s here.. it’ll get it’s fair share of use soon enough.

While on the subway to see Kuya Jack

The following post was written last Friday while I made a trip uptown to visit an ailing friend.

I’m sitting here on the 42nd street stop of the D train waiting to get on one.  (The B just passed.). I am on an adventure of sorts, trying to make my way to Fort Washington Ave to the NY Columbia Presbyterian Hospital to visit a friend.

As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to leave early today, but first, there was a belated birthday celebration I needed to pull together, and I was struggling printing a copy of a gift I wanted to give Kuya Jack.  (D train is here)

Si Kuya Jack

I’ve known Kuya Jack since I arrived in New York in 2000.  An older brother of one of Alan’s and my dear friend, Jackie, (Angelo’s Ninang Sexy), I had taken to calling him “Kuya” myself as a term of endearment, not having any Kuyas around.  he was always funny and warm, ready with a joke, and to me, “tunay na jeproks“.  (Those who are younger will not know the term, but bear with me.). He reminded me of Mike Hanopol, Joey “Pepe” Smith and the whole gang with his long hair and easy-going demeanor.  He always made me feel welcome in family gatherings, so I sought him out and bussed him in the customary hi and hello greeting at parties and the like.

So when I heard he had been taken ill and was in the hospital, I made up my mind right there and then that I would make an effort to visit him and say hello.  That was 2 weeks ago, if my memory serves me right.  A lot of things had gotten in the way taking me this long to finally head down to where he was.

The Laughing Christ

I knew he probably was on a restricted diet so fruit was out of the question, and no matter how people say it’s the thought that count, I just thought flowers would not be appropriate for Kuya Jack.  I thought I zeroed in on something I could give him but the problem was reproducing it because I was not about to part with my copy.

It must’ve been in the 80s when I found this print entitled “The Laughing Christ” in one of the stores in the original Virra Mall.  I got a copy for myself and gifted one to one of my dearest friends, Gina, and she swears she still has her copy despite having moved houses since.

(Transferring to the A train)

I cannot remember now if I got to bring my copy to NY during one of the 5 trips I’ve taken home since, or I had asked my sister, Ofie, to send it to me, but my yellowed and definitely aged print has been stashed away all this time.  I took it to the office and took a photo and altered the shot to produce a lighter and more vibrant print.  Mine is now a dark brown tint, presumably from the adhesive surfacing to the print from its wood mounting.  I decided to attempt printing it on canvas using an ink jet printer and my first 8 or so attempts were unsuccessful because the canvas sheet kept jamming on the paper path.

I gave up momentarily to do my surprise birthday cupcake celebration, and then I tried again.  (Getting off and trying to find the exit.)

(Back on the A)

I figured the printer was having trouble grasping the canvas sheet, so a lightbulb lit up in my head and I taped some magic tape to the edge that “meets” the printer and it worked.  I trimmed th 9×14 canvas sheet and let the fresh ink “breathe” as I noticed it had smudged where I touched it and some ink transferred to my fingertips.

Visiting with Kuya Jack, I handed him the print but sensed that he might not be able to see clearly.  The nurses were fussing around him so I stepped back.  When the guard was reduced to a single nurse, I sat down.  I guess it must have been the medication.  He was talking in English, Spanish, Tagalog and maybe his native Panggalatok.  He was in restraints because he keptt trying to get out of the bed, and the nurse told me he had gotten belligerent punching a nurse.  At least he has someone there with him 24/7 to tend to his medical needs.

An avid poker player, he was talking about cards and his money.. Then he said he was playing a game with some black men.. And how he was going to have the enemy killed.  Being the funny guy he’s always been, I didn’t know if it was the meds or his funny bone emerging in all the haze of the pain and painkillers.

He seems to have shrunk a little — perhaps it was because he was in bed and not standing tall next to me.  Finally, it was time to say goodbye.  I edged closer and touched his hand and he recoiled, admonishing me not to touch the part where his IV needles left tender spots in his pokerfaced comedian stance.

(Back on the D to Midtown)

Walkng away from the hospital, I remembered Dad yet again.  A sadness crept upon me,  I remembered my friend, Kuya Jack’s sister.  I sent her a text message and told her I just left and gave kuya a print of the Laughing Christ, although I he probably couldn’t see it, and how we chatted although I doubt he’d remember it was me.  I told her to be strong.  I wanted to tell her she is lucky she is here by his side while I think about my Dad 10,000 miles away.

I thought about their 70-something Mom.  Having been a registered nurse herself, it must be doubly painful for her to be so in touch with all that is happening to one of her precious children.  Kuya Jack whose humor and good cheer not only infected everyone, but whose generosity helped another sibling battle a failing kidney when he donated one of his own 15 years ago.

I know I’m not supposed to say “Get well soon” knowing his is a journey and not just a single treatment.  I told him to be strong and to follow his doctor’s orders so that they may send him  home.  It didn’t matter that he probably didn’t see me or recognize me — it was enough that I was there to say hello, in the midst of all that was happening to him.

Unsigned, origin unknown
The Laughing Christ

Always children in our eyes

Last week was a tad bit hectic because I had two “almost pamangkins”  visiting for four days.  (I know, too short a stay.)  I say “almost” pamangkins because although we are not related by blood, their Mom and I have known each other for ages now, and if we had a choice as to who we can call “relatives”, I’d pick them.

I’ve know Phoebe since she was a baby and although I didn’t get to spend as much time with Keoni since he was born two years before I moved to New York from Manila, I have seen him grow through my visits to Manila every now and then.

They have indeed grown.. !

When I see these kids no longer waddling along like they did as toddlers, I feel “dated”.  I can’t help but come to terms with the reality of how I have advanced on in years as I see how much they have grown.

Phoebe is now a young lady — and Keoni, while I had somehow stuck in my head was 15, is actually a 5’5″ 12 year old.  (I might even be selling him short..)  I had wanted to spend more time with them but the schedule and circumstances just didn’t allow it.  I remember her as a chubby cherub-like little girl — and now she is a young lady with a boyfriend in tow and who, despite whatever contrary impressions others may have, has grown with such grace and wisdom.  I do not fault her for her shortcomings or mistakes, because it is through making mistakes that we learn.

Yet in my heart I will always hold her as that young little doll, no matter if that time should come when I see her walking the aisle.  Not yet, I begged.  (Looking up to the heavens in prayer!)  I remember her through the years and continue to marvel at how time has flown.  I look at Keoni, still a child at heart, but growing up to be quite a young man.  They are their mother’s treasure — and they will always be my children in a different way, but always special in my heart.