I start my mornings earlier now and often end up at the bus stop really, really early that I catch the sun rising slowly as it opens another day.  I was grateful to see the blue skies above and not the glum grey we had with the rain.

I am so looking forward to next week when Angelo and I start a journey a week ahead of Alan and my mother-in-law.  I am in the midst of packing and ticking off a mental checklist of things I want to do.  Mostly, I just want to spend time with my family.

I want to eat “taho” in the morning, walk the familiar sidewalks of Greenhills.  Smell the polluted air of EDSA.  Walk the dirty streets of Divisoria and Quiapo.

My camera which is all banged up is probably making one of its last trips.  I was seriously considering getting a new one — it’s  battery case cover keeps popping open, and the cover for the camera card slot has split into two.  (I did manage to repair it with some superglue.)  This camera has been with me to Paris, Belgium and Manila several times.  For as long as it works, I think I’m going to keep it.


It must be a new thing with me, reducing my blog post titles into single words.  I think it’s simpler, and it actually spurs the words to come out more fluidly.

I just celebrated my 11th Thanksgiving here in New York.  My 11th Thanksgiving ever — since we don’t celebrate it in Manila.  This year we kept it simple.  My boys are both non-turkey guys, so we opted for prime rib roast.  I have this recipe for “Fool proof Standing Rib Roast” by Paula Deen on which I’ve been going back to for the past 3 years for any similar occasion, and it has never failed me.  While I have experimented with the dry rub, the method of cooking has never failed me.  Perfect indeed!

So we sat around the dining table — Alan, Angelo, my mother-in-law and I, and straight from the mouth of babes came the question, “What are you thankful for, Mama?”  My answer was spontaneous — “You.”  He insisted upon hearing answers around the table and we indulged him.

Now that Thanksgiving weekend is officially over, here’s my random list of things I am thankgul for:

1. That I know how to relate to a God whom I can give thanks to for all the blessings in my life.

2. Everyone is in good health.

3. Like Alan said, that we both still have jobs and have a roof over our heads.

4. Laughter.  Alan and I still laugh together and we do that a lot.

5. Family that haas continued to hold me up.

6.  Friends that have stuck by our side through the good times and the bad times.

7. The means and the passion to do things that fulfill me beyond work and motherhood like my crafts and doodling.

8. The chance to go back to where “home” really is for me another time during the holidays.

To be continued..


My 2011 Christmas Card
Work in Progress

I don’t know why the word just came to mind as I took a picture of my zentangled Christmas background so I could talk about it here, and as I am waiting for my e-mail to reach the server and help me transfer my photograph to my laptop, the word just popped up, and two people in particular.

First, though, here’s what’s become of my Christmas card — still a work in progress, but you can see that save for the inside portion of the Christmas tree were the front caption would be and a patch on the upper right hand, the background has been completed!  You can see 7 parols or lanterns in the background, and around it I filled the spaces between with different patterns.  I tried starting with the middle portion but that proved very wasteful as far as paper was concerned, so I’m putting it off for until I am done with the whole thing.

I think I might make my after-Thanksgiving-mailing target after all!

Back to the business of forgiveness.  I have always been honest about my inability to easily let go of a grudge.  If not a grudge, pain.  I consider myself pretty liberal and tolerant when it comes to accepting others for who and what they are, so when someone falls of my “good” list, it is almost next to impossible and definitely improbable to get back on.

That’s why I would think that the people who know me very well would know that to lose me is to lose me forever.  I know, that sounds so final.  But it should be when you consider how I forgiving I am.  So I am not a saint after all, because while I seem to have a bottomless supply of forgiveness, when one loses the right to be forgiven, it never comes.

To be someone’s sister she never had

I have someone who used to be a very dear friend who was practically like a sister to me.  The feeling was mutual — or so I thought.  I thought this was one forever friend.  In fact I would go out of my way to help her out and to listen and encourage her.  But one relationship she had and my opinion of it didn’t quite sit squarely with her personal opinions — and that meant the end of “you’re the sister I never had,” and all that love.  I had thought it would pass — that we would eventually find our way to each other again, until I got an invitation to her wedding two weeks before it was to happen on the other side of the coast.  So forget about the 14-day advance booking or saving for a gift or getting the right dress.  My heart shattered to pieces.  And what hurt the most was when I was told “only my family” knew about the preparations — so I thought a “sister (one) never had” was “family”.  I felt as though I had pictured our friendship to be something it was not.  Reality check.

She tried to renew ties several times, but when you tell someone you have hurt that you hope they will one day learn to accept what had happened, it feels like a slap in the face — and an affirmation that you were wrong about the kind of friendship you thought your shared.  I did learn and accept that I wasn’t that important a person to this “friend” after all.

I am not mad.. I wish her well.  But the past four years have seen us as strangers.  I think it is best to keep things that way.  I don’t know how I would react if we sat in front of each other.  I don’t want to cause her nor myself any more pain or disappointment.  We are just better off not being part of each other’s lives anymore.  Forgiven, yes.   But I am human, I am no saint as I said.  The chasm that has grown between us is no longer bridgeable.

On my end, I feel grateful that it happened when it happened, painful as it was.   Sometimes it takes forever to find a friend and nurture a friendship — and it may take as long or even longer to find out who one’s true friends are.   Better to have realized what I thought wasn’t there was really not there, rather than keep believing in something that wasn’t real.

I have no ill will or feelings — I am hoping the choices made were worth it and have brought this person happiness.  Just as I have found myself feeling truly blessed with what I have right now.

I just wish people would realize that forgiveness does not always result in reconciliation.   There are things just some things that once broken can no longer be put together and made whole again.

Getting to the holidays

I am sending out my first Christmas card today.  It’s not quite my “official” card, but I am back to snail mail which I haven’t done in a while, so I thought I’d start off with a holiday card.  Even just the thought makes me smile.  The holidays always bring me happy thoughts. =)

My own holiday card is coming along quite nicely, and while it is nowhere near being finished, I’m getting there.  I am zentangling a Christmas tree with a smattering of lanterns in the background, “parol” style.  I haven’t quite decided on the message yet nor on the rendering of the message, but I do know I’m putting it inside the silhouette of the tree.  I think I will make my Thanksgiving week mail out as planned.

My balikbayan box left Monday, but with the non-committal time tables from the courrier, I have decided to hang on to the things I really need by Christmas and just bring them myself.  So the box was half full of halloween candy.  Target had them at more than 50% off over the weekend, and I haven’t even visited my neighborhood drugstores who usually put them on sale at up to 70% off after holidays like this.  The candy would’ve been a strain on my 50-lb per piece baggage  allowance, so the best alternative was really to ship it out.

I would’ve gone with my usual door-to-door carrier, Johnny Air Cargo, but even with a pick up first week of November, I couldn’t even get a “maybe” for Christmas delivery.  They were flat out telling me it’ll get to Manila after New Year’s.  My next option was Macro, but again they were non-commital.  I finally tried LBC who, unlike the others who gave a 30-45 day window, gave 40 days max for transit time.  When I spoke with them, they actually gave an allowance of plus 5-7 days given customs delay, but that still put me down squarely for the timeframe I was looking at.  Plus, I’m banking on their name and reputation, so I hope I am not off with my expectation that they have the infrastructure in place to meet their own timetable.

Let us wait and see.

Not for lack of trying..

..but I’ve been trying to post here for days on end. It’s just that bits and pieces get lost in draft posts that never get published. One time I even logged on as I was about ready to turn in for bed after midnight — waaaay late for me these days when I try to turn in by 11pm. (Have to make it to work earlier..) And yet when the browser was up and I started to type away, I “lost” the flow.

So here I am again.

I’ve been busy moving myself back to a spot I had occupied before August, but which I had to move out of because the new boss was on another floor, and here I am again because he’s back to my original floor. Musical chairs. I am not complaining — well, not really. I am just grateful I still have the same job, and looks like this one will keep me. (Keeping my fingers crossed.)

In the meantime, I’m trying to go full steam creating, what with a craft fair in the horizon. Plus we are actually trying to seriously plan a trip home, but between Alan’s commitments and projects and my new boss, it’s hard to just say we’re leaving on this date and returning on this one. Luckily, the price of the fare is holding, but with four seats to book, I’m getting nervous we might lose the seats.

Can you believe it’s November already? I hate that TV Patrol keeps counting down the days to Christmas. 55 is it? Wow.. Perhaps it’s the fact that Christmas is literally just around the corner which finally got me started seriously on our holiday card for this year. I declared to Alan while driving to Manhattan early this morning that we must send out our holiday cards by Thanksgiving. I haven’t even planned that far yet, although I’ve made up my mind it’ll be roast chicken, not turkey, just as we did last year.

Have you started your Christmas list yet? I was hoping to send home a balikbayan box but it looks like the holidays crept up on me real fast and made me miss most cut off dates. Johnny Air can no longer commit to a pre-Christmas delivery, and I have LBC telling me that they will try, but cannot guarantee. TRY would be good enough if I didn’t mean to get there before Christmas. IF I get there at all, that is.

So last night I was boldly declaring I might as well just lug everything I meant to bring and keep within the baggage limits instead of sending a box out and hoping that it makes it there on time. Still, I had myself scheduled for pick up. (Fickle-minded me, I know.)

I’ve been busy with my pliers. And fearless as I am, I signed up for Art Journal Every Day again even if I haven’t posted anything at all the last couple of months. (Bad, bad me.. ) I always have reason to be optimistic that I will actually start to post again.

I did finish my zentangled collage flower.  I haven’t had the chance to continue posting its progress but here are the last three pictures.   Finally, some progress!