I’m still aching all over so I decided to stay home Friday. I worked until almost mid-afternoon, though, so I don’t think this officially qualifies as a personal day. Thanks to technology, it’s doable. My throat is still hurting although I don’t have a cold. My whole body is aching, though, and I’m steeping some jasmine tea in the kitchen.
The two adults of the house are sick, so no one’s here to take care of me. Not that I need taking care of. In a bit, I’ll be cooking the angus beef burgers we’re having for dinner. I’d really rather order out, but we already did pizza for lunch. And my beef burgers are delicious… I haven’t been able to do much except paint more backgrounds on My Altered Book.
My favorite TV shows are back, and I’m getting into some that I didn’t get to watch the first episode of in the previous season. Revenge, for one, has got me hooked. Of the new shows, I am totally enthralled by the story behind Revolution which I hope gets the ratings it needs to stay on the air despite its doomsday scenario. Of course, the best of the best, Scandal is back with Olivia Pope. And Castle is now on it’s fourth season (!) and although I haven’t been watching Grey’s Anatomy for the longest time, their cliffhanger from last season made me watch their season premiere.
My fever finally broke Friday evening. I was feeling well enough to walk to the post office to make it to my swap deadlines by Saturday afternoon. I still feel a tad bit weak from the flu, though. I hope to be feeling normal again tomorrow — there is a full week ahead to look forward to.
In the meantime, I’m keeping up with the water (gallons of it!) and the comfort of jasmine tea.
For the second day now, I’ve noticed that the leaves have started changing colors. I have been watching the trees along the pathway I walk to the bus stop every morning, and if I weren’t in such a hurry, I would’ve stopped to snap a picture. If I can, I will try to do that on a daily basis beginning tomorrow just so I can chronicle how Mother Nature majestically changes the landscape before our very eyes.
Sadly, time flies so fast during the seasons, more so in autumn. What you see this morning might change dramatically tomorrow. There are even certain points when rainfall will wipe away a whole swath of greens and leave you with a carpet full of wet leaves on the ground. At times a robust leafy tree bursting with the colors of fall becomes a sad, bare tree after a weekend of shedding leaves.
Autumn, I think, is the best illustration of what everyone proclaims with such conviction, that life is short. It is a reminder that what might be here today might be gone tomorrow.
But there are those who defy the laws of nature as they say. There is this unusual tree that I pass along 34th street around Murray Hill after the bus emerges from the tunnel in the morning which, despite its leaves turning brown and wilted, clings tenaciously to its dry leaves LITERALLY through rain, sleet or snow. It must be some unusual property of that particular specie, but I have always marvelled at how it stands tall with those leave clinging to it for dear life. No matter how much snow falls, and how long the snow stays — it stands like a proud old man not wanting to give in.
The mornings are colder now, the evenings colder still. I am resisting wearing a fall coat for now — a jacket serves me well. I always have a silk scarf in my bag anyway to tide me through the walk back to the house from where I get off the bus. It’s cold enough not to have the airconditioner on. Sometimes even the electric fan can be chilly. (Me and my old bones. =)
I like hot. Spring and summer are my favorite times of the year. Fall sees me hunkering down for the onslaught of the cold winter. The only thing I like it about it really is the visual delight it gives, more so when we go for a drive in the countryside, or when I go walking in Central Park. This year, I have a possible buddy to walk with, my serious photographer friend here at work, D, who gave me that non-digital camera a while back. =) I didn’t get to go last year. I am more optimistic about clicking away with my cam now that D and I talk more.
Isn’t that crazy that Central Park is a short ride away by bus (10 minutes) — and I have to plan it like a major trip? Blame it on work, and the fact that I have to rush home to see the boy right after during the days I’m in the city.
I know I promised myself I’d take a day off one of these days to just go and do some things I like by myself. I haven’t done that yet. October might provide me an opportunity to do it, so wish me luck.
I’ve started thinking about my Christmas card again. Last year, I did a zentangled piece. This year.. we’ll see. I will plan it this October and get it done by the first week of November. For the last couple of years now, I’ve always hand-made my holiday cards. Why stop now?
Meanwhile, My Altered Book has been changing quite drastically, with several additions and do-overs. I’m now at page 96. I’m chronicling the changes in photographs but I’ve been too lazy to upload them to Flickr and show them here. I really love my happiness journal. Every day I surf for passages to add to the book, I find so much wisdom out there that makes sense to me. It helps to set my mood right in the mornings when I sit on the bus and I open the book and just pick a page with a passage and read. Maybe I should read it at the end of the day, too. It seems that I’m needing “calm” more and more when my day comes to an end. Last night, I almost cried. I held it in, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and just sat alone as the boy worked on his homework.
I can’t believe that September is just about to end, with tomorrow being the 24th already. That’s three quarters of the year gone.
I’ve been trying to make room for another 6-compartment shelf I’ll be assembling in a while. So I haven’t really created anything today except for a set of ATC backgrounds I’ll be working on tonight or tomorrow. I have some postcards to pull together for swaps due tomorrow and an envelope to decorate in pink (which should be a breeze!), which reminds me, I sent out two pairs of envelopes yesterday.
I created these handmade envelopes with materials that I had in my stock of paper and painted and pasted on them. I hope they are not far too simple for the swap. I tried.
After mass this morning, I just wanted to rest. I’ve tried but I have the shelf to worry about. It’s almost 6pm and I’ve done as much as make room for it and cleaning up around the space where I will put the pair of shelves. I will assemble it tonight when things “quiet” down after dinner. (Which, by the way, I haven’t planned yet.)
Dinner was poached tilapia fillet with olive oil and soy sauce with sliced green onions. I added a side of bacon-wrapped scallops (which were so big I had to halve them.) I had a bola-bola siopao with my scallops, and I’m now winding down, getting ready to attack my shelf project. I did a few backgrounds in my altered book. That project is progressing rather well. Just browsing online for “happiness” quotes pushes up my happy quotient a notch or two higher with each passing day.
Last week was pretty busy for me socially, what with Cousin M (engaged to be married in a few days) now a New Yorker down in Brooklyn, and my new friend Elaine who moved here in May to join her husband. Brings me back memories of 12 years ago when I landed here myself… We had lunch… I brought Cousin M to Woodside and gave her the Phil-Am Store tour. Elaine came down to see me another day and I gave her the bead store tour. (Something I’m seriously considering getting a license for and making money out of.)
This week it’s going to be all work for me. (The boss is back from his week-long business trip.) I did get a lot of cleaning up done the previous week, and there was no stopping the meeting requests that come with or without the boss in the same timezone.
Well, time to get organizing. I am wrapping some hard boxes with pretty paper to use as stock boxes in the shelves I’m assembling, although we bought those foldable cloth bins that fit beautifully into the shelves. I am also such a fan of those see-through shoe boxes for my craft supplies, so I have a couple that would fit nicely into the compartments of the shelves.
I don’t need to buy all the bins I will use. There are some that are better made at home using the color scheme and the materials I prefer. For one, I don’t throw away shoe boxes unless they are beat up. I am using stationery boxes, though, for the bins I will wrap up. Did one last night and I’m more than happy. I might yet get to do another later. (Keeping my fingers crossed.)
Sunday’s getting on rather slowly. I like that. No pressure. The boy’s ready to hit the sack and I’ve cleaned up after an early dinner. I’ll get down to assembling in a few minutes and hopefully get a few more “me” things done before I turn in for bed.
On the way home last Friday, I made a list of 12 things I had hoped I would get to do on a sticky I put on the cover of my altered book. I’ve crossed off around half which isn’t too bad. I’m going to try and do a list of three things I need to get done every day for the rest of the week to focus on my goals. That will hopefully get me doing more instead of “lingering” or floating from project to project.
What I regret I haven’t done is write the letters I had hoped to write today. Well, I have the lunch hour tomorrow.
I haven’t quite been able to create Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) except as needed for a swap. I just sent off my second ATC for the “Book Page & a Stamp” swap at Swap-Bot.com. I entitled it “Pinay New Yorker I” because I want to create a series of ATCs relating to my being a “Filipina living in New York”. I’ve already gathered relevant clipart for the New York part of the ATC and will be concentrating on the Filipino side.
I used my favorite subway map clipart for the main background and painted a gold coating over it. The book page came as a freebie from the store I bought my ATC sleeves and album sheets from. (Came in handy!) I singed the edge on the stove although that is hardly visible in the final work.
The building I used is personally relevant to me because I had worked on the floor of the clock on this tower my first few years here in New York. The building still exists and remains to be one of the more elegant older landmarks here in the big apple.
More ATCs coming soon. I have some alphabet swaps due by the end of the week and I will render a “D” in the style the letters I send out will be rendered.
ATC swaps can be direct, meaning send to a designated partner assigned by a coordinator, or ran by a swap coordinator who receives all the cards and sends them out. My first two ATC swaps through Swap-bot were assigned partners so I sent them directly. The upcoming ones through ATCsforall.com will be through a coordinator. We have been requested to send three ATCs and we will receive three ATCs in return from three different participants.
My ATC Swap album only has 2 ATCs for now but I’m waiting on some from other fellow traders. I haven’t quite ventured on direct trades because I really don’t have the confidence to offer any. Not yet anyway.
(Post drafted while on the bus home the previous night.)
I’m on my way home quite a bit before I usually do. Parent-Teacher welcome tonight.
I rushed to the bus stop and actually caught a bus that had just closed its door but was still waiting for the light to go from red to green. I knew he saw me running to his side, and I gently tapped on the door, but he ignored me. I took a deep breath, stepped back and decided not to get all upset by it. No sense in getting all riled up over something I couldn’t do anything about. It’s just sad that sometimes, people don’t want to make nice. So I waited for the next bus.
(Unbelievably, the heat is on in the bus.. airconditioning please!… looks like the driver heard me — cool air… finally!)
I have to admit I’m not always successful in going the extra mile when needed. You know how sometimes you just don’t have the energy to expend the effort to wait a second more? Or to bend down and pick up something? Or when you rush past by when you could’ve slowed down a little… more so in years past. These days, I try to give it a little more effort. It’s often the little things that count in the course of your day. And we find ourselves simply shrugging our shoulders and smiling when others don’t make the effort themselves. I’d like to think that my giving it the effort will create some ripple effect. Somewhere along the way, I’d like to believe I would’ve helped to make this world a kinder and better place.
Again, I am not always that successful. Sometimes I give in to some evil thoughts lurking in my head about spreading chaos and cursing my (perceived) enemies or going on a monologue in my head just unloading what’s in my heart. I try to stop myself when that happens because sometimes, it really gets to me. It makes my heart tighten up and I get “distracted” and “derailed”. And the feeling of my anger at myself creeps up from nowhere — and that makes me want to reach for my “happiness journal” for relief.
“Focus on the happy.” I repeat that to myself over and over and over again. And there are many things to be happy about. =) (That thought literally made me smile.)
It just takes a little extra effort. It doesn’t cost anything.
I’m trying to get the hang of a keyboard for the iPad which, I know defeats the utility of the tablet, but typing wiz that I am, I still have difficulty writing with the touch screen. Long nails? Chubby thumbs? Or just not the touchscreen friendly typist? I don’t know. I do know I’m VERY happy with this keyboard.
It was a rather busy day so I didn’t get to write anything this morning, or during the day for that matter. I fell in line to get Joel Osteen’s new book, I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life and I got a copy for my sister, Ofie, who is the true Joel Osteen fan. I am just in it for the experience.
Like the previous time, Joel worked the line outside Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue, but this time took the extra effort to actually head to the end of the line which was closer to the Park Avenue side as it was. He shook hands with the people who came, and as luck would have it, I was one of the lucky ones. If Ofie were here, I would’ve had the perfect photo op for them as he didn’t breeze through — he actually spent time with the people who had come to see him.
Unfortunately, B&N didn’t provide a staff member to take photographs this time around unlike when I went to see Rob Lowe, so we had to take photographs a distance away. I tried some shots of me with Joel’s table in the background but they didn’t register well.
I haven’t done a book signing in a while and I found out about Joel Osteen being in town quite by accident this morning while listening to the news. As luck would have it, the book signing was at the nearest Barnes & Noble to me. I took that as a message from above to go get a book and have it signed. Amen.
I went about my day at work trying to catch up with the clean up. I hate throwing away paper but sometimes I just have to. I am monitoring my swaps and trying to keep up and have been good. It actually excites me every time I come home to find out what postcards arrived.
Another day ended… rather heavy tonight, but we’re trying to work through it. Age is something that we cannot fight, that we can accept. There are things in life we just have to take as they come — as individuals, as a family. Minutes to midnight and we’re getting ready to turn in for the day. Amen.
I’m still rather shy sending out Artist Trading Cards but I finally signed up for a swap at Swap-bot.com and came up with the ATC on the left and sent it on its way to Australia. I’m just hoping that the recipient doesn’t feel short-changed when she gets mine. I tried — I’m still learning.
It was supposed to be a motivational ATC about being beautiful and believing you are, so rather than put in some profound quote, I just went for a straight-forward admonition. Ta-da!
I used some handmade paper from Manila, a heart from a wallpaper trim roll (bought from the dollar store), and I just put that “button” of sorts there with some scrap handmade paper and abacca twine. That button actually proved to be the real challenge, but I got it together and I think it filled up what I thought was too much blank space somehow. (Read more about how I did it here . The link takes you to gothamchick.com)
I’m trying to go slow for now but I am enjoying learning the basics of ATCs and as I have always loved to create, I am truly having a ball making the cards. I am thankful for the generosity of many experienced artists who are very open to helping me through my learning process. Some are already sending me cards. I can’t wait.
Special thanks go to Raine, a friend from a Filipino postcard trading group who draws her own ATCs, and to Katherine of the same group who urged me to join Swap-bot. Raine and her ATCs are another post altogether. She also introduced me to ATCsforall. (Another blog post on that coming.)
It’s 11:30PM and I’m tired, but I thought I’d blog before hitting the sack because it has been a day full of “happy”.
Happy that I’ve arranged my jewelry making supplies organizers into a neat stack in one of the closets — and keeping my fingers crossed that I can get creating again.. soon!
Happy to have had lunch with my cousin, Mia, who has moved to New York. It always feels good to be with family — even if among her three sisters, Mia, being the youngest, must have the foggiest memories of me. That’s the advantage of being older, though — I remember more. Lunch at Bryant Park Grill — and a date in the works.
Happy to have finished my first ever artist trading card. I’m still pretty nervous about sending this off for my first ever ATC swap, but I figured waiting and not doing anything is not going to make me better at it. (More on this at a later time..) Creating I go.
Happy to continue to be creating new layouts in my happiness journal. How much happier can you get than a pink rose bouquet on a two-page spread? (Now trying to think of a graphic to use in the next spread which is an almost teal or teal blue.)