Postcards and pampering me

Postcards on the wayFor the first time in a long time, I worked from home Wednesday. Although I was hoping to do so much more, I think I was able to accomplish a lot while staying at home. Working from home is actually not as easy as most people would think it is, because not only are you taking care of things at home (like a nine-year-old wanting to go through every line of his report card), but you have to be able to answer calls and monitor e-mails like you normally would at work.  But I was happy, and it was refreshing, and I’m actually hoping I could do it again.

I managed to spend the afternoon with my boy, enjoying some play time at the local McDonald’s, then walking around the stores by the corner to grab a few things.  I decided to go for a foot spa treatment at this nail place which has been around a while, and it was surprisingly good.  I am already making a mental note of going back in 2 weeks.  I am trying to take better care of myself, and while most people would consider it an indulgence, it is an indulgence well deserved.

I’ve been writing on some postcards I’m sending to Manila with some lenticular or 3d postcards I raffled off to the Postcrossing Philippines group on FB.  5 of them made it to the post office today.  (If you’d like a postcard from New York, please send me an e-mail at  I’m trying to get some swaps ready, too, what with a 20-pc ATC swap ending this weekend.  19 ATCs heading out this Saturday.

As if all that wasn’t enough, I’m excitedly awaiting BFF Donna’s arrival this weekend from Australia.  We have a lot of catching up to do — what with 5 years having passed since we last saw each other here in NY.  We’ve kept in touch through emails and FB, but in person is still something else.  We have her birthday this month to celebrate and a host of other things.  I’m already smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it.  Tonight she lands on my side of the world, and tomorrow, we’ll talk while in the same time zone.

She’s one of the oldest friends I have — and I’ve told and retold our story here many times.  We were at a party waiting for our respective La Sallite guests when she approached me and told me she had always wanted to be friends with me but was afraid I wouldn’t pay her any mind.  We became inseparable, then we went to different universities. We had our own little squabbles but the years brought us back to each other each time.

And once again, we get to be together — really together.

Two minutes to five

My day is almost ended but I need to do an errand before I head home.  I really should be packing up and cleaning up my space but I felt an urge to stop by here and write.

Last night, I came across this daily prompt on the DAILY POST (which I am not tagging because it’s going to trigger a pingback which I don’t want to do) about writing a piece on Love in the 21st Century.  That was an interesting prompt, if I may say so, and like many other hopeless romantics out there, I had my own two cents’ worth to share.  But it’s such a simple yet profound topic all at the same time that we often find ourselves either floating or sinking in quicksand or in the clouds.

I stopped myself short and instead found myself writing someone who came to mind when my brain finally won over my heart and I made up my mind not to write the piece.  My e-mail turned out to be one hell of a blogpost if I had published it, but instead I hit sent.  5 times, I saw that x in red telling me it wasn’t going through.  Only then did I realize that the e-mail account I was trying to send from was no longer “active” in my phone.  Alas, I had to accept the fact — it wasn’t meant to be sent.  Too angry perhaps.  Too honest.

I could’ve insisted and sent through another e-mail account or other.  Instead I took a step back and just heaved a sigh and left it at that.

The universe wanted it to be that way.  So be it.

100 Ideas 2013: Dear Mom

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28.  Write a letter to someone you admire.

I don’t mean to be cliche-ish but I didn’t want to rack my brain about some popular person among my list of people I admire.  I wanted to make this entry personal and real, and when it came to that, I didn’t have to think about it too long.

Dear Mom,

I know I don’t write you anymore, simply because as I have grown older and I see you growing older yourself, missing you has become even more difficult.  Sometimes I want to write you a note, but I’m afraid that you might end up teary-eyed, because I often do at the thought of how I wish I was there with you.

I have always been a great fan of yours for your strength and resolve to become a better you.  You never let your lack of formal education or your circumstances thwart you desire to make life better for us.  You always put us first, no matter what.  You are my role model as a mother to my son, and as a woman of strength and unwavering resolve.  I know that much of who I am today is because of you.

From the faith in God that you instilled in me to your willpower and strength to overcome that I find in my heart now, you continue to be a beacon for me and my siblings. 

Every time I see you, you seem to age more and more.  And I get reminded by the fact that there will come a time when even that will be a memory.  Even now as I write this, I feel a tightening in my chest.  When I take care of my mother-in-law here, I wish it was you I was taking care of.  I long for our chats in Bicolano — I think mine has gotten rusty for lack of practice.

I miss you, Mom.  I wish you could be here to keep me strong.  But even in thought alone, you keep me strong.  I see you and remember all that you had gone through and all that you had conquered and I find hope that yes, I can do the same.  You kept that optimism alive in our hearts by showing us by example that hope is never-ending.

I love you, Mama.


100 Ideas 2013: Instructions for a simple everyday task: Operating my Nespresso machine

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77.   Create instructions for a simple everyday task.

Every morning, I crank up our espresso machine which is a Nespresso coffeemaker.  Here are the instructions:

*  Make sure that the water receptacle has enough water to make the number of cups you will be making.  I usually fill it halfway through at least if not a little more.

*  Put the espresso pellet in the slot and close the cover.

*  Put your cup under the spout.

*  Choose the amount of espresso you want the machine to spew out.

*  Enjoy!


100 Ideas 2013: My own definition of SLEEPING

This post is in connection with an e-swap for Swap-bot, the details of which you will find here. (Please refer to the navigation bar above or widget bar on the right for a link to the page.)

93.   Write your own definition of one of the following concepts, sitting, waiting, sleeping (without using the actual word.)

It’s the action of closing your eyes, whether you are seated or lying down on your bed, and you let yourself drift off to rest and let your body recharge.  You disconnect and let yourself flow out into a “nothingness” where your conscious mind slowly fades away to black.

100 Ideas 2013: Dear Future Me

This post is in connection with an e-swap for Swap-bot, the details of which you will find here. (Please refer to the navigation bar above or widget bar on the right for a link to the page.)

2.  Write a letter to yourself in the future.

Dear Dinna —

I think it’s a good time for me to write the future me at this point where I have been going through so many personal changes, and I am rediscovering my potential and failings all at the same time.  I used to think that at 47, I would have figured everything out.  It turns out, though, that learning and discovery, more so about one’s self, is a never-ending process.  I know now that I will never be the whole of who I really am until I reach the end of my existence — whenever that may be.

I hope that you will find yourself standing up tall again one day.  When your shame and guilt and pain would have been assuaged by the passage of time. 

Perhaps it will happen in the next few months, the next year, or not for a couple of years more — but even now as I bow my head down in the process of healing, I remain hopeful it will happen.  That it will come.  And you’d be able to go above and beyond the challenges that you have faced.

There will come a time when you might feel strong enough again.  You’ve done pretty well in the face of life’s challenges.  Others would have surrendered and just chosen the easy way out by embracing a personality totally not their own.  But you have never been one to give in to denial.

You used to be stronger… you can  be strong again.

One day.


100 Ideas 2013: 10 Habits of mine

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94. List 10 of your habits.

1.  I unplug my phones charging on the bedside as I get up and take them to the breakfast counter with me.

2.  I weigh myself before taking anything for breakfast.

3.  I always have to make a stop at the little girl’s room before I leave the house or before I leave the office.

4.  I say my prayers as I walk out the door on my way to the bus stop.

5.  I always kiss Angelo goodbye before I step out the door, or on those days when I get the chance to drop him off, I hug him tight and kiss him before he starts his day in school.

6.  I paint my face in the bus or in the car on the way to work.

7.  I make it a point to greet every security person and receptionist I pass on my way to my desk on the top floor of our building.

8.  I take off my rings and other jewelry as I walk into the house after work.

9.  I have to drink a glass of water before I retire for the day.

10.  I plug my phone (which is my alarm clock, too) and charge it by the bedside.

100 Ideas 2013: The places I have lived in

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37.  List all the places you have lived in.

Unlike some people who have lived from place to place, you can count the places I’ve lived in one hand.

1.  I was born and lived out my toddler years in a lowel level rental (silong) in the town proper of San Juan.  My parents were still starting out back then, and it was a tiny but cozy place good enough for a growing family like ours.  We had a tiny living room that led into a dining room, and then you had to walk a few steps up to our bedroom which housed my parents, my sister and any guests who slept over.  It was in a noisy part right off of what we considered the main street in town, “N. Domingo”. 

2.  By the time I was four, my youngest brother was born and my parents bought what would be our family home for the next 43 years.  It was still in the same town, still off of a street branching out from N. Domingo, but now in a residential area.  It was a huge house which had its own maid’s quarters, and although there was a guest room, my siblings and I grew up sharing one bedroom.  When we hit our teens, my brother got the other room but on the same floor.  It was a spacious home which saw many parties and celebrations.  We just recently moved out after giving it up.

3.  When I first arrived here in New York in 2000, we were renting a two-bedroom apartment in Floral Park, another part of Queens.  We were evicted by the draconian landlord who insisted my arrival violated the terms of the lease for the two-bedroom unit besides the state practice that each bedroom was habitable by two people.  My mother-in-law had shared the apartment with my then fiance and I would’ve simply been the third occupant.  I liked it because it was near some stores, and easily commutable, but it was far from the city.  I wasn’t working yet so that was sort of a bummer.  I could only go so far and had to rely on Alan to take me to and from the city.  I only spent a few months here until we found our own place after we got married.

4.  Around half a year from my arrival, we moved into another first floor one-bedroom unit in a very nice area of Queens called Bayside, which is on the other side of the same community where I am now.  (I am still in Bayside.)  Those were learning years for me as I discovered I could cook, thanks to the Barnes & Noble behind our apartment row where I would spend afternoons to copy recipes, then I would walk over to the Waldbaums next door to do my groceries.  We stayed at this apartment until we had saved enough for a down payment on our own home.

5.  When we finally found our place, we knew it would be in the same area where we last rented, but on the other side.  We liked the cultural mix of the area (Asian and Jewish mix) and the school zone was a prized factor in driving real estate values up.  We have been here for the last 11 years, and we’re not going anywhere.  I like the community and how it makes one feel you are in an enclave away from the buzz of the city, and yet you are not too far away.  I can’t see myself living elsewhere except the city perhaps which is unlikely.

100 Ideas 2013: Me and my Washing Machine

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39. Write about your relationship with your washing machine.

We live in a co-op which, although not a high-rise and instead is a courtyard style group of houses, so we don’t have a washing machine in our unit.  Instead we share a laundry room with the community which is exclusive to the tenants and owners like us who live in there.

So why would I choose this prompt given the so many other prompts in this list of a hundred?  You’ll find it even stranger considering I’m not the one tasked to do our laundry on a regular basis.  I simply fold.  I chose this prompt because I’ve always been fascinated about how I can get hypnotized by the actions and motions of a washing machine as the water spurts in, and the clothes inside get wet… and the detergent starts bubbling up, and the clothes spin in a faster cycle… and over and over it happens, and I sit there and watch.

I would normally pull a chair and just sit in front of the machine where our clothes are.  I wouldn’t even think of pulling the blackberry or the iPad or a book or magazine.  I have to watch.

I guess you can say I am somehow enamored by these spinning machines.  Perhaps it’s a preoccupation with things that are round.. or go round and round.  I have never tried to figure it out until now.  But I like watching washing machines — I have great respect for them.

Go figure.