Feedback on Feedback and a warm hug to the heart

I haven’t been here in a while to write — hence the Art Journal Every Day posts sans the accompanying blog post.  I guess you can say I’m in a rut again, but trying earnestly to get out of it.

I don’t get too many (legitimate) comments here, so when I do, I take notice.  And since I had started responding to them in blogposts way back when I started, why stop now?  That would be a disservice to those who took the time to leave me an echo of their visit here in my corner of the blogsphere.  Thank you, most sincerely, for letting me know I have more than 5 readers out there. =)  (Kidding!)

For starters, Shay surprised me with the sweetest of comments during a time when I felt like everything that could possibly go wrong was going wrong.  I was definitely in no mood to write anything but she made me pause and think and even smile.

Shay wrote in response to “Riding It Out” : “I am hooked reading your blog.. from new to older entries. hope you are feeling much better now.”

The Pinay New Yorker says:  … I am humbled, Shay.  Your comment couldn’t have come at a better time.  I have started reading a book entitled “When God Winks at You” by Squire Rushnell, and I think now that you would be what he calls a “godwink”.  (That’s another blogpost altogether!)

I have a confession to make, though — I actually thought you were someone trying to get me to go back to writing and using a pseudonym to push me forward.  So when I  wrote the e-mail address you provided with a thank you to make sure the address was legitimate, I was pleasantly surprised to get an almost instantaneous reply.  (Almost within my timezone.. !)  And when I replied once more, I even got a hug back!

But what touched me most was the warmth of your response which helped me get myself here tonight and write.  (While I would normally publish it, since it was said in private and was most meaningful for the simplicity of her words of encouragement, I would like to keep that exchange between Shay and I.)  For someone who didn’t know me to get a sense of what I was going through simply by reading my posts was truly amazing and touching.  It makes me wonder if I have become so transparent that my emotions are so easy to read.   But simply to know that people actually read what I write is most heart-warming and keeps me writing — more so during those times when I feel like I want to just clam up and stop churning out the words.

This blog has been my personal journal both during the good and bad times.  Often, there are things I opt to keep to myself, but which I am able to write about in veiled sentences that nonetheless encapsulate the thought or feeling I want to record.  I have always said I blog for my personal benefit — it helps me get in touch with my feelings, enables me to sort out my thoughts, chronicle my joys and pains, and it give me a channel to just plain rant and rave about life in general and MY LIFE specifically.  I find myself browsing back to entries from years ago and it helps me remember the good and the bad, and I recall the lessons learned.  It has helped me to remember the happy ones and relive them in my heart — and remembering the “happy” has helped me to remember how to forget the “sad” when I come across those heartaches.

I always say that you can never go wrong paying someone a compliment, no matter how simple a thought it may be for the most miniscule of tasks that was rendered.  You never know how you can make someone’s day, or change the direction he or she goes because you made nice.  Sometimes it’s not just the “Please” that gets us what we want and which matters — but the corresponding “Thank You” or “Sorry” can make the bigger difference.  (It’s the one reason I always take the time to fill out a customer survey, more so when the service rendered deserves recognition.)

Your words were a warm thank you to this blogger, Shay.  So I am back.. or at least I’m trying.. =)  I’m not quite there yet — “feeling better,” that is.  But asthma has a way of holding me back even if I fight it.  I am no longer “drowning” trying to breathe — I should be back to my usual self in a few more days.

I have been prolific writing longhand letters and cards, though, as well as finishing pieces for my Art Journal Every Day project as inspired by my art muse, Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.  I have managed to finish two entries which immediately precede this blogpost, the earlier of which saw a fellow “art journaler” (sp?) visiting and leaving a comment.  (I cannot publish or approve a second comment which is not returning a legitimate trace like Shay’s and Susan’s. — trying to check first.)

Again, I am humbled.  Most of these people who art journal with me and Julie are REAL artists in every sense of the word, dwarfing me and my novice attempts at rendering my journaling through my personal art.

Susan wrote: “Love the lettering and the flowers. reminds me of a beautiful garden.”

To which the Pinay New Yorker says:  Many, many thanks, Susan.   I have been learning a lot watching fellow art journalers do their own pages and reading up on their individual process in coming up with their work.  I feel like a kindergartener amongst experts, but I have always said, it’s never too late to learn.  I just might try what you did with the gel pen in a future entry.

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Monday in 20 minutes.  I can’t believe the weekend’s over and another week unfolds.  In a few days, it’s March.  In another month, I turn 46.   How time flies indeed.

My  bestfriend Fe would say “Life is short.  You cannot postpone happiness.”  Indeed.  Even when you try putting things on hold because your heart seems to have stalled — the world will go on.   So I picked up my pliers tonight (hooray!) and actually created quite a bunch of freshwater pearl pieces in sterling silver findings.  (I am getting adventurous and extravagant, I know..)  I almost wasn’t quite sure I could tweak the loops the right way in the uniform width, but I think I did pretty well.

Another godwink, I believe.  Or if I were to believe Fe, it’s the universe listening.

Riding it out

I’ve been trying to catch up with rest today, but it’s difficult to lie still when your body is periodically racked with heavy coughing.  I am also not used to sleeping with my head this high since I cannot lie flat because of the asthma.  All the struggle for air has also exhausted me, so while I am not confined to the bed because of this, I find it such a chore to move around.  I did breakfast and then tried to rest two hours, then hit lunch and now get my break before dinner.  (Since it’s just 1pm, I’m confident I’ll get some shut eye in before I have to return to the kitchen again.)

I hate it when I’m sick because while I’m not sickly, when I do come down with something, I tend to get hit hard.  A simple cold or sore throat can easily be a precursor to asthma which usually takes me a week and a half to ride out.  I’m almost done with the first week and will hopefully get to the “half” instead of a second week.  I’ve been offered a ride to the hospital if needed but I think that’s a little too extreme.  I’ve been worse. I just need to ride this out.  It’s also not like the things I do will get done if I don’t get up.

I feel helpless, though, in the face of all that I had planned for the weekend.  Of course I haven’t picked up my pliers, I haven’t had the chance to do any knitting (a precaution against further aggravating the asthma) although I think I have the right knitting needles now.  The only thing that has moved is my art journalling although that has moved at a literal snail’s pace.

I have been waiting to hear from a friend but who, I guess, has been busy processing things.  I patiently wait.  One thing I’ve learned in recent years is that when some thing is beyond your control, you can either pray or just lay in wait.   Spoken like a true disciple of Fe’s theories of the universe. =)  (I know, pal, the universe is listening.. I just don’t think it’s heard me just yet.)  I try not to do any processing myself because I’m afraid the old impatient me will kick in.  It just makes me wonder how one can put a friendship on hold.  Sometimes, processing takes more than one to do — like I usually process with Fe.. but that’s me and her

I try to take things lightly and just sit back here in bed.  I would normally be already up in arms for not getting a response — but the answers will come in time.  Perhaps the absence of an answer is an answer in itself.  (Although Fe would argue against that.)  I just know I’m exhausted — literally and figuratively.  It’s like constantly drowning and coming up for air.  I really shouldn’t be complaining because I’m used to being ignored.  I remember one time I had written letters endlessly with nary a response until some mischievous room mate picked up the letters and sent me a hair-raising reply that brought my friend to the rescue.  It sounds amusing recounting it now, but relating that to what’s been happening makes my heart sink anew.  I thought I was promised this would not happen again.  But we each have our guilt and grief that we must deal with our own way.  Process, we must.

Sleep would be such a welcome respite from it all.  Endless sleep.  That would help my heart catch up and rest from running after each and every breath.  The dreams would bring me some place where all is well.  And maybe I might meet a little girl there I missed out on meeting in this life — and she might help me touch this heart that needs to know it’s alright to be happy now, that the sins of the past are forgiven, and the promises that have been made can be kept without it being at the expense of others.  I know she would want that heart to move on — and she would say it’s alright to be happy.

I just wish the asthma would go.  I just want to be able to sleep uninterrupted for a change.  I woke up just before 5am this  morning — and I can’t remember now if it was because I couldn’t breathe because of the cold or my chest was congested and I had to cough to clear my airways.  I hate waking up because I gag and retch when I try to cough then.  Nothing left for me to do but just ride it out.

Like cooking Spanish Chocolate

It’s almost midday here in New York and I’ve so far fed everyone, caught up on two episodes of A Gifted Man, worked on a few art journal entries (not quite finished yet), and I’m trying to pace myself with the rest of the day as I approach the middle of my three-day weekend.

Breakfast was Spanish Chocolate and quezo de bola.  I’ve been “simmering” here in the kitchen all morning, looking out at the sunny day outside and trying to convince myself it’s good enough a day for me to brave the cold despite the asthma.  I’m doing okay.. I just need to see if the rest of the house is up for an excursion to Target today to do errands.  I do need to go to the pharmacy at least.. need to pick up some meds and check out the valentine clearance sales. =)  I’m trying to stretch my time and make productive use of it — reminding myself to be patient, like when I wait for the Spanish chocolate to cook to the right consistency and taste.  I’m trying to keep busy and preoccupied.

Waiting has never really been one of my stronger suits but sometimes you really have no choice.  I smile at the sunshine and whisper a message to the universe as Fe says.. the universe hears and will take care of getting the message to where it is supposed to go.   I just have to radiate positive thoughts and trust that all will be well.  My brother sent me word today that things are seemingly okay back home — for now.  Some good news for a change.

“Rest your mind, calm your heart..”  I keep hearing that over and over again in my head.  P’s card made it to the other side of the world already — I have the art journal version moving on.  Those words are a much-needed source of calm at this time — and I am counting on it to carry me through.  Sometimes we can’t help but think of the worst instead of focusing on the positive.  That neither gives one’s mind rest nor does it calm the heart.  In the end all that is left is to believe that things will turn out fine.  And Fe tells me it will.


Positive thoughts.  Woke up to a text message this morning that made me whisper those two words.  Oui. =)

One of my favorite words is “Yes”.  When Angelo was yet a toddler when “No” apparently became a favorite word, I would tell him I don’t like that word like I don’t like “cannot”.  So we heard more of  “yes” and “can”.

As I am a closet francophile, “OUI”, of course figures as a favorite word.  It tells me yes.  It says I understand and I’m okay.  I don’t know if it’s more of me saying that to myself or me just declaring it so I will be.  As Fe says, the universe is listening — and I’m listening to Fe.

Saturday morning pancake breakfast.  Oui indeed!  =)  I was getting lazy to mix up the batter and wait for the three pancakes to cook perfectly on the non-stick pan, but I looked at the sun shining so splendidly outside and I told myself it was a perfect weekend comfort food treat I couldn’t miss.  After assembling my pancakes (with tons of butter, heavy cream and maple syrup), I sat on the breakfast counter wrapped up in my own little world here and doing some “me” time, logged on, checked who was online (everyone out), if there were any new e-mails (none).  Just taking my sweet time and I drifted off to YouTube.

Just saw the official video of JASON MRAZ of a now favorite song, “I Won’t Give Up” whose lyric video I first saw and which I fell in love with.  I am officially a fan now.  The official video below is an even more profound masterpiece — you cannot argue with the power of human emotion onscreen, be it as still pictures or snippets of film.  If you had listened to the song and knew of it before watching the video, you’d love it and appreciate it even more after watching the clip below.

“And when you’re needing your space

to do some navigating,

I’ll be here patiently waiting

to see what you find.”

Oui.. =)

Sleepless in NYC

I had a wonderful evening chat with BFF Fe, but her laptop, as always started overheating, hence a forced intermission.  I did my dishes but the downstairs neighbor rang the doorbell as water seemed to be leaking to their unit.  (Yes, in the middle of the night.)  Nothing I could do but say we’ll call our maintenance guys tomorrow.  Meanwhile, all the discussions about coffee and laughter and the energy of the universe has kept me awake.  I’m typing away in the darkness with the tyke lying next to me.  Half awake, brain in full gear.

Fe is trying to get me to channel positive energy by ridding my mind of negative thoughts.  She says the universe can hear me.  I’m trying to absorb that thought between the itch I feel in my throat and the dry coughing, and I wonder if the universe can hear indeed.

I’m okay.  I think I’ve handled this asthma attach pretty well.  Got rid of the cold fast enough, but the congestion is still there.  I’m hoping it doesn’t get any worse, because I should be back to 100 percent again by next week if I manage to catch the symptoms early enough.

Positive energy.. I went back to happy thoughts, happy emails, happy posts.  I guess you type “happy” three times and a smile does appear from out of the blue.   I just haven’t been one to patiently wait — and just sit things out and ride the asthma through to its going full circle.  More so when I hear the beating of my heart like a drum inside my chest.  If you have asthma, you know what I’m saying..

I heard from my friend P, by the way and I was so happy to hear some good news.  My cards have made it to Manila in quick succession, and she says her doctors have given her the option to rest a few weeks as her ailment has neither worsened nor progressed otherwise.  One of the baby steps that need to be acknowledged.  There’s one happy thought. =)  Just got to hold on to the “happy”.


I knew it was coming but it hit me hard last night.  The hot-cold-hot-cold weather in the extremes this winter finally caught up with me.  I had to cut my conversation with Fe midway last night as I had a hard time talking.  All the sniffing the past few days have not helped either.  I was feverish as I lay down last night and my throat was killing me.  I simply wrapped my neck in another one of my trusty tubaos, downed some antibiotics, drank a ton of water and slept.  All the walking I had been doing of late during the day has also taken a toll on my lungs.  No matter how good you are at bundling up, the cold air hits it with a punch.  (Memories of braving a cold winter day two years ago when I snapped away at the Rockefeller Christmas tree..)

I have had asthma since I was a baby and have learned to cope with it.  I try not to take any asthma medications unless I literally cannot breathe anymore because of the finger tremors and the adrenalin it infuses my system with.  So I self medicate and deal with the symptoms.  (I know… not good.)  It is during these times when I appreciate each breath I take as precious.

I thought I’d be good today but I ended up walking towards Bryant Park first thing when I realized that I had arrived in the city just minutes after 8am.  No reason to rush to the 41st floor — Boss is travelling.  So I took the camera out and started snapping away, trying to learn how to swing the camera to take panoramic shots and just clicking for graphics for the blog.  I have always enjoyed just shooting pictures randomly and then going over whatever I have in the memory card for later use.  Of course I forgot that temps were under 40 degrees.  I was, after all wearing four layers of clothing (!) along with a silk and a knitted scarf and finally, a hat.

I didn’t get very far because of the cold.   Then after depositing my goods to the 41st floor, I remembered I had to get some throat spray which meant walking out again.  I have started a love affair with the cold winter air — as if I was praying for pneumonia. LOL

I would’ve gone to the bead stores but they were still all closed.  I picked up a few things at the nearest Duane Reade, got my throat spray and I don’t know what possessed me when this bottle of nail polish seemed to call out my name.  Pompeii Purple by OPI.  I don’t normally purchase nail polish because I have quite a stash from Watson’s and Landmark from Manila, but this was just irresistible.  I think it’s my half-lucid brain wandering off — sort of a semi-insane moment brought on by the lack of oxygen thanks to the asthma.  It’s a metallic fuschia pink, actually, so I don’t know where the purple happens to be.  I tend to go for make up or anything to pretty myself up during times when I feel like a much-needed boost in the cheer department.  Looking at my now painted nails as I type away, I’m actually soooo happy I took the bottle.  (Shallow thrills..)

Lunch time was a done deal.  I hied off at 12nn and went straight for my pearl supplier — I can stay in these bead stores forever and just go up and down 6th avenue and 37, 38th and 39th streets and just browse, browse, browse.  My excursion to the stores today were not without purpose, though — my pearl earrings needed some help, and after an hour of browsing and looking, I finally went up to my warm and cozy desk.

I know I tortured my lungs again but I had to keep busy.  It felt liberating to pull myself away from the computer for a change.  I had been sitting in front of it through lunch the last two months.  It was more for my sanity than anything else — hence I’ve been taking these “dates with myself” even if the air is stone cold.  Spring is just around the corner anyway.  Then maybe I’ll actually corner one of these tables in the park for a regular lunch outing when the air is warmer.

We’re getting some rain between today and the weekend.  I guess that’ll limit my strolls around, but I comfort myself with the thought that the park is not going anywhere.  I actually like exploring it when it’s all wet and not so full or near-empty because then, it’s easier to take pictures.  Then, the park is all mine.

I took another deep breath at that thought.  My chest is still heavy with that knot, and now my breathing is more audible but no discernible wheezing yet.  I just feel it inside.  Sometimes the exercise of exerting energy to take air in can be cleansing, too, at least until any accompanying pain reminds me I’m actually toying with my asthma again.

I’m excited to start creating again — if I actually find the energy to take my pliers in hand again and create something tonight, that is.  I haven’t really done that since I arrived from Manila.  (!)  The vacillation is really between creating more and just storing everything away.  The asthma doesn’t help, but with the long weekend up ahead, I might actually get something done.  The pearl dust gets me worried but I’ll live.  I’ve worked with my goodies before when I was in a worse condition.  I just need to keep busy.

I can feel my sinews getting tight again, and my back is heavy.  Have to head home but the eyes are burning.  I guess I just have to remember to breathe..