Into February – Feedback

The Empire State Building setting the mood for New York CityI have made it a habit to take a picture of the Empire State Building when it is all lit up in something colorful and today it was in all red. Trying to get New York in the mood for what others call Christmas of the hearts, I guess.

Again, another post not quite centered on one topic but which I just wanted to finish before I hit the sack.

It was a rather busy day that saw me doing a lot of things other than drafting or getting a post ready here.  Instead, I clicked to check stats occasionally but I didn’t see anything remarkable.  On my way home, I clicked on my wordpress app and saw a rather lengthy and very meaningful comment that truly made my day.  Thanks, Mike, for the note.  As I said, I will write more lengthily later although I can’t see what needs polishing given your comment.

Sometimes it’s the little things that mean a lot.  This was by no means “little”, but in the grander scheme of things, it was but a minute in my day but a full minute that made me pause a while to smile.

Try and make someone smile today.  All it might take might be a simple smile, a thank you, or a quiet acknowledgment of someone or something we usually take forgranted.
Thrice as colorful-the Empire State Building
 

Rain, Ice and Snow and Sir Kenneth Branagh

After the snow - as my day begins

I promise I will try to refrain from posting any more “SNOW” pictures until I get something spectacular yet again. Can we move on to spring, please? My snowboots get special billing in the collage above because I cannot be any happier with a practical (read: necessary) purchase than my Nine West Winter boots. Water-proof and traction is as good as any rough terrain pair — it has paid for its cost of acquisition many times over in this winter alone. And mind you, this was on sale at way below $100.

I can’t wait for winter to be over, more so today when I had to literally wade through slush, mush and snow — both hard and icy and soft and mushy.

Thankfully, it isn’t freezing cold, although you still won’t be able to make it through a block without your gloves and some headgear. I made it to work — and yes, in one piece.

For the first time since we moved to this building five years ago (if memory serves me right), I was greeted by a sheet of ice outside our window panes. At 41 floors above Manhattan, it was an eerie yet pretty sight to behold. I snapped up some pictures and this, below, is one of my favorites ever.

Icy rainy snowy morning

So what does rain, ice and snow have to do with Sir Kenneth Branagh? Nothing. It’s just that I didn’t feel like writing two posts so I’m combining them into one. (More for my benefit than yours.) I have been reading a back issue of Vanity Fair and had come across this one-page article, What You Should Know About Sir Kenneth Branagh.  Of course all it needed was his name and picture on the page to get me to read, and you’ll find it interesting whether or not you have a big crush on him like I do — but I was struck by the way the article was written — sort of a fill-in-the-blanks kind of thing and I thought it would be interesting to go and try that.  So here’s my version of What you should know about Pinay New Yorker:

She takes her coffee with 2% milk and Splenda, and when she feels like indulging her love of milkshakes, she puts some ice cream to flavor her coffee.

She irons her hair, as directed by her stylist Zeph, after she completely dries it and puts hair products in to protect it from that daily torture.

Every day, she begins her day by praying the Serenity Prayer (because that prayer is not only for those with real addictions but for anyone who needs courage and wisdom) and reads the daily reading from KerygmaFamily and prays.

Her being Pinay — despite being a New Yorker for the last 14 years, is a badge that she proudly carries even if she’s often mistaken to be Chinese or Latino.  And when told the last name throws them off, she launches into a mini-history lesson on how the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, hence the Spanish surnames for most of the Philippine populace (with the rest of us Pinoys carrying Chinese surnames.)

Her self-declared “addiction” is to soda and chocolates, both of which she is trying to avoid by starting to lessen  her usually voluminous intake.  (More water, please, and when the penchant for something milky and sweet hits her palate, she grabs a cup of decaf coffee with skim milk and her sweeteners.)

She still writes letters longhand. And long letters, at that.

She commutes home these days on the 6 or something express bus to her side of Queens, getting there just in time to rush through homework, cook dinner and be a Mom.   She hopes one day to find herself sitting next to some famous hunk of a movie star trying to get into the character of someone riding the bus home from work in Manhattan.  (Can I have Brad Pitt, please?)

Her most beloved piece of home décor is a print of the Laughing Christ which isn’t hanging in her home right now, but which has been transported from Manila to New York during one of her previous trips home.

Lured by the daily buzz in Bryant Park which is just across the street during the lunch hour, she often dreams of just sitting there and blending in with nature even when it’s raining, and more so when the snow is falling heavily.

The appliance she most despises is the flat iron because she could never quite figure out how to iron clothes properly.  (Yes, there are skills that can be learned but not mastered.)

The superpower she desires most is to fly so that she can go wherever she wants to go without having to worry about getting there and getting back home in time to do homework and cook dinner.. yet again.

Her favorite songs are “Can We Still Be Friends?” by Todd Rundgren (very, very sad song but with a very good progression of notes that evokes such feelings of regret and resignation), “Two for the Road” by Monica Mancini — yes, the daughter of THE Henry Mancini who composed the song (a sad melody with a very romantic promise of commitment one can only wish and hope for) and “Bituing Walang Ningning” by Sharon Cuneta — I always said it evokes that feeling of one giving up everything for someone you think is worth giving it up for.  Of course whether that turns out okay or not is altogether a different story — and another song.

When craving a sweet, she prefers the old style caramels coated with milk chocolate like those that used to be known as “Pompoms”.

Germ-averse, she is not, but she takes care to make sure she sneezes into a handkerchief or sheet of tissue lest the germophobes around her get upset.

Her last twinge of bemusement was in watching her son make fun of her attempts to lose weight, saying she’s not cute and sexy if she isn’t fat.

Her celebratory drink is a glass (or two) of champagne which she hasn’t had in quite a while, probably for lack of something to celebrate or simply because New Year’s Eves are not pop-the-bottle-of-champagne kinds of occasions in her house (even if it is for her.)

Snowy, snowy Monday

Snowy Monday
We woke up with a good layer of snow covering most of the ground and a steady snowfall threatening more.  I was the only one who trudged out to brave it, and there was already almost two inches of snow as I made my way to the bus stop.

I’m a fan of freshly fallen snow, but I loathe having to deal with its aftermath.  You feel like you’re walking inside a freezer and you have to be quick to distinguish ice from slush from soft snow.

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More than an hour later, the bus managed to literally crawl to Manhattan.  Snow tends to slow vehicles because it is slippery and gives the vehicles a lot of difficulty when it comes to maneuvering.  It wasn’t as bad in the city but the snow didn’t stop falling.  The trees were already outlined by snow resting and accumulating on its branches when I reached Manhattan just after 9am.

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By noon, the New York Public Library and Bryant Park 41 storeys below me were blanketed with snow — and no, this photo is not in black and white.  Snow and the weather condition made it look like it was.

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The vista across from our building was a gloomy grey.  The continuing snow fall made it so, as if a shroud of gloom descended upon the city.

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The most dramatic yet was the one I took just a short distance from my doorstep as the sky glowed while a slight drizzle of snow fell to the ground.  For all the hazard and difficulties brought about by such heavy snowfall, you can’t help but admire the beauty of all that white, coating the outlines of the trees as you look up into what looks like a luminous night sky.  No bright lights — hence, the brownish tint of the picture.  (Plus, of course, a little help from Instagram’s filters..)

Breathtaking.

Five things to be thankful for

It’s Sunday evening and like every Sunday in my daily readings from Kerygma Family, I look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I was sort of sidelined by a bad infection which threatened to take over my immune system but I made a strong come back after resting it away at home.  No fever, but my neck ached liked crazy due to swollen lymph nodes.  I’m okay now but still exhausted — so I’m trying to take it slow.

Tonight, I’m thankful and happy about…

1.  Finally some good temperatures that are not in the teens and which actually allowed us to go out with jackets but no scarves today.  (40s!)

2.  Getting Angelo’s science project going.  (We conducted the experiment but still have halfway to go with his partner, Ryan.)

3.  Finding a ring I had misplaced.  I wear three rings daily — and I take them off when I do my chores.  One, somehow, found its way to another bin away from the two, but they’re a happy threesome again.

4.  Family lunch at Waterzooi, a place we used to visit and went back to again.  Loved their Baked French Onion Soup (upper right picture in the collage below) and shared Alan’s Paella Moules Frites (bottom pictures).  Ended up eating Angelo’s burger, but I’m not complaining.  The promise of doing things differently.. keeps me hopeful.
Food trip: Waterzooi Belgian Bistro fir lunch and Banana Nutella Crepe for snacks on Super Bowl Sunday

5. Completing my “HOPE” multi-page layout for Art Journal Every Day in my altered book.

Art Journal Every Day: Hope Multi-page Layout (pre-journaling)This one was done quicker than I had thought it would be, although I’ve had to retake the layout graphics over and over again because of changes to the drawings. The journaling pretty much stayed as is, then I had to blur them out.  I’m happy to be able to work consistently on journaling no matter how short my window to work on the pages may be.

I’m now working on another multi-page layout, “BELIEVE”, but will write a feature on “HOPE” before I post anything on any other work in progress.

Another week and another month ahead… can you believe January has ended?  And yes, we’re officially into the Year of the Horse which is my year although my element is Fire…  That only means I’m turning 48 (because I’m certainly not turning 60 YET)… another year.

Thankful and happy, and feeling blessed I am.