At last, we meet!

Since I started blogging here in August 2004, I’ve gotten to know other bloggers or just plain strangers who have strayed into this space of mine.   There was Jeannie in Paris (!), Elaine here in NY, and now Lou from Chicago.  (Lou was actually the reason I signed up for Multiply ages ago.)  These blogfriends have gotten to be more than just readers and bloggers I read after the years that have passed.

I regret that I have yet to meet some of the more remarkable ones like my favorite couple, the Two Jeromes, Jerome and Jher.  Despite the many times I’ve gone home since we met online, sometimes it’s not that easy to pop in and sometimes things get too hectic.  I remain hopeful that we will meet one day.  Many of those who have interacted with me in this blog have come and gone.  There are those who keep tabs on me, though, popping up here and sometimes at my Etsy shop’s website.

We’ve “known” each other through life changes and the shared grief of lost parents.  I’ve discovered new hobbies like lomography which I’ve always been interested in but I just don’t have the energy or time to get into.  Lou is a fantastic photographer as well.  We’ve shared with each other our ups and downs and hobbies through our own spaces on the web.  In words and in pictures, we took a peek into each other’s lives.

When Lou left me a comment here that she was headed for New York after Christmas, I thought I’d just ask and see if she might have the time to meet up.  I know how vacations can get hectic.  I am the last person to take it personally when I cannot be scheduled or when people schedule and don’t end up confirming so we don’t get to meet up at all.  If it happens, it happens — and happen it did!

We scheduled lunch for Friday in the city.  I wanted to pick some place closer to where she was staying by the Upper East Side, but I ended up staying close to familiar ground.  Celsius at Bryant Park or Bryant Park Grill.  I’m glad Lou picked the former because it’s a seasonal restaurant that “pops up” in Bryant Park when the rink is on the great lawn.  While I have seen it the last couple of years, I’ve never been in it, and this luncheon was as good an occasion as any can be to explore this restaurant.

Lunch at Celsius NYC in Bryant Park

The food was great from the calamari to the braised short rib I had and the caramel pecan chocolate fudge cake we shared for dessert.  Unfortunately, we were both so engrossed in catching up that I failed to take pictures.  (Lou managed to take a picture of the dessert before we dug in, though.)

It was as if we had known each other all these years in the “real” sense.  I have always been struck by Lou’s no-nonsense straightforward comments and friendly advice.  One thing that struck me in our personal exchange last Friday, though, was this simple line from her:  “Some people come into our lives to stay, and some people are just passing by.”  How true.

I know I have this running joke that I have 8 readers keeping track of the things I write here, all of whom are not related to me nor known to me personally.  =)  I’m happy with the 8.   It is always a blessing to actually talk to them in person when fate brings us together somehow.  And when that happens, it feels like we’ve known each other forever.  Indeed.

Enjoy the rest of your stay in New York, Lou.. until you come back to view its beauty when the trees are green and the flowers are abloom.

Citipond in Bryant Park

In search of a new art journal for 2013

I’ve already “trimmed” my old art journal.  Luckily, the bulging pages had created a more or less “even” book that allowed me to cut the left-over pages easily without causing an imbalance in the book.  I’ve been studying how I can put a cover on it, and hope to get that done tonight if not over the weekend.

I’m leaning towards a spiral sketchbook, but I’ve been thinking about sewing up my own art journal, too.  (Fickle, fickle-minded me.)  I already knew that Barnes and Noble had sketchbooks on sale, but the format was still something I hadn’t quite made up my mind about.  Format as in size — has always been a major point of consideration for me.  I didn’t want it to be too small, and I didn’t want it to be too big.  I started my art journal entries as postcard sized entries, then I went for an 8 x 8 square layout, after which I eventually floated towards a double page layout of a composition notebook.  I ended up creating layouts on poster paper and then pasted them onto the notebook.

In search of a new art journal
My first art journal has been a learning experience on many fronts for me.  I tried gesso and realized it did NOT work for me.  I dabbled in watercolor which was fine done on pre-pasted blank pages, but then worked best with separate pieces I worked on apart from the book.  By the time I had gotten adept with acrylic paint, I had stopped art journaling so I want to do more of that in the next.

I took a trip to the city today and saw the many choices for a sketchbook.
In search of a new art journal

I drifted towards this eco-friendly bound journal made from recycled paper.

In search of a new art journal
It was gorgeous but the pages were sewn together (eliminating it as a candidate for collages and the like), and the pages were paperback novel size which was just too small.  I might end up finishing up one journal in a matter of weeks which would necessitate getting more blanks.

In search of a new art journal

I guess that was that.  Then I stumbled into a shelf full of sketchbooks which were on sale.  I picked two up from Piccadilly, but I zeroed in on a Sketchbook – Black – Large..( Top wire-o – Unlined – Black wire-o ) plain black, spiral bound on top, with paper measuring 8 1/2 x 11.

Ambitious, I know.  Now that I’m cradling the book on my lap as I’m typing here, I’m wondering if I’m not getting in over my head with this choice of a formal for my next art journal.  The biggest positive about this choice is it is commercially available, so I can actually stock up on it.  I got it in a smaller format, too, the size of a steno notebook but unlined and with decent quality paper. (Although I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with the smaller format.)


I am going to finish up the first art journal by creating a cover first then I have decided to work on layouts to get me going.  (Much like I’ve done with the altered book.)

I think it’s a good way to begin the new year — literally, a new beginning.

I am looking forward to another year of art journaling — and hope that it does the same if not more good than the first attempt did for me.

I journal because it helps me find a means to express what I feel and what I am going through in more concrete terms without reducing everything to words.  I also like going through the pages and I find myself marveling at the finished layout.  (“Did I actually do that?,” I ask.)  Sometimes a word or a simple scribble can actually capture a whole chapter in my life.

Perhaps when my memory starts fading, these pages will help me remember.  Or when the heart forgets, seeing the pages and reading the words there will help me remember the good and the bad and the lessons learned in between.  My art journal has no rhyme or reason.  Unlike the altered book which is supposed to be a happiness journal, this one is just a plain art journal.  It exists as a compendium of my attempts at art.