Daily Prompt: My daily toil

Daily Prompt: How do you feel about your job? Do you spring out of bed, looking forward to work? Or, is your job a soul-destroying monotony of pure drudgery, or somewhere in between?

From my first job as a radio newscaster back in the early 90s while trudging through law school to my current job, I must say I’ve been very lucky to have acquired the skills I did along the way.  I’ve gone after the jobs I thought suited me well, got paid well for them and have jumped into the rat race and out and still feel quite happy where I am.

So there — I do look forward to work and I’m proud of it.  I toil five days a week as the Executive Assistant to one of the top honchos of a Fortune something something in its field.  I’ve been on the so-called Executive floor for 7 of my 10 (now almost 11) years with this company, and I’ve had the pleasure and honor of serving three top executives during that run.

The current boss is considered a rock star in the company and I’ve been lucky that he rocks as a boss as well.  We had a rough start almost three years ago, but we’ve gotten into a very good rhythm that makes me look forward to Mondays and doesn’t see me craving for the weekend by the middle of the week.  I work long hours, yes, but I consider that part of the job description, and I do get paid well for the trouble.  Of course I wish I was paid more, but in this economy, we should really count our blessings.  I do get the occasional call from recruiters looking for executive assistants for c-level executives like the ones I’ve partnered with, but it’s a little tough beating my current work arrangements given the way the market is.  (Too much competition from equally qualified jobhunters who can dive salary-wise, so we always hit a snag when I tell them what salary range would make me jump ship.)

I must admit there are days when I miss not having to dress up for work and being able to go with jeans on an every day basis — not that I have to look like a fashionista, but there is a certain dress code I abide by.  (More so on the floor.)  I also think of moving up or doing something else, but then I have to think long and hard about plunging myself into a career again — chasing after deadlines, stressing over projects, and working even longer hours.  I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

My boss doesn’t even know I have a law degree — something I don’t need to proclaim as I do my daily duties.  I’ve said time and again, it’s always easier to “dumb down” rather than try to appear wiser or smarter than you really are.  It’s like being exceptionally good at the easier job rather than constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to more challenging things.

I like that the world won’t stop turning if I decide to go on an extended vacation to Manila — and that there are no projects that I need to stress over while I take the morning off to watch my son perform in school.  And yet I’ve distinguished myself as smart and good at what I do enough to know that I have earned the tag “hard to replace” considering “indispensable” is not exactly true of anyone in the workforce today.

I’m fortunate to have the latest gadgets to help me perform my job well — from an iPhone 5S to whatever else I need to be an effective assistant.  Plus how can you argue when the view I see outside is this gorgeous portrait of the Manhattan midtown cityscape..?  I should be so lucky…
Happy Monday, New York!  23 floors above my usual view.  Cold but not quite as cold as we thought it would be. Good morning, everyone! #ny #nyc #newyork #manhattan #mynewyork #happymonday #goodmorning #ilovenewyork #cityscape #monday #mgviewfrom23 #nypl #

Making a wish

It’s been relatively quiet over the weekend. Nothing special or eventful — I did manage to recharge and rest. Even took a nap or two — the exhaustion of the previous week has caught up with me, and I’m ready for another round.

I continue with experimenting with my beads (rather unsuccessfully) — had some quiet home dinners of pizza and pasta. Had the time to work on my journal and dream of trips nearer to where I am. I am trying to find a place easily accessible by bus or train, yet near enough to allow a day trip/adventure on my own.

I wish..

My entry today for my journal was a simple line — “We used to think that making a wish would make things right.. and then we grew up.” Isn’t that so true? When life was simpler, we closed our eyes to make a wish and then we relied on luck and life in general to work its magic and give it to us. Or we prayed so hard to get that which we wished for. Until we realized that wishing and life don’t necessarily hold each others’ hands throughout the journey.

My wish today? Can we skip to May? Can you believe I’m turning 48 in a couple of days? I feel old that I don’t. I see those I knew as young children now getting ready to get married. Or now going to the prom. My own little tyke is now an almost tween — a few years early than his numerical age. And yet when I look into his eyes, I see my baby.. He will forever be my baby.

On my way homeI’ve been trying to establish a semblance of being anchored again to the ground instead of spinning in a free fall like I have been doing the last six months.  Looking at my son and thinking of him helps me to grab onto something that is mine and is true and pure.

I get so amused when he tells me I can buy whatever I want within his bank balance.  I keep telling him I just want a string or two of pearls to make into a necklace — or better yet, something he made.  I guess he wants to feel like he really bought me something and I sense a hint of disappointment when I insist on the pearls because he wants to get me something fancier.

Fancy can wait for when he can get me the real diamonds he wants to get me.  He asks me how much they could cost… I said, I don’t really care.

I wish his heart will always be pure and true as it is right now.  I guard that happiness with a ferocity only a mother would know.  I have done things I never thought I was capable of in the name of my son… and I would do that all over again and more.

Another wish.. so I close my eyes, but more than wish, I pray.

Like every morning when I pray for him… and I entrust him into God’s loving care as I go about my day and he goes to school.

For now, I will let him make the wishes and believe they can come true.  He’ll grow up and realize there’s more to wishing soon enough.  Let it come when it comes…

Newspapers on a Saturday morning

I find it such a waste of a reading opportunity that despite a daily access at work to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, the best I can do is scan the headlines and look at the front page photo occasionally. So I’ve been trying to widen my reading, even if selectively, by pulling out sections which I tuck into my tote in the hopes of grabbing a few minutes to read in the bus or at home.

I finally pulled out what’s been in there a week now and read. No, I shied away from the headline news which is what I rely on TV and Twitter for. (And the only news Twitter Feed I am subscribed to is The New York Times.). I look at the lighter side of life like the art and the movies and what’s going on in my city.

I really should be reading more. Even with the digital access to so much reading, I am still partial to the printed paper versions. I spent a bit of time yesterday at Strand Books off of Union Square after getting a haircut. Crowded from floor to ceiling with books of every possible genre and from a wide range of publication dates, it was book heaven.
Book heaven at Strands Union Square.. I can browse here all day but had to go home.  Wall to wall and floor to ceiling.. Can't wait to go back.  Happy Friday, everyone... #happyfriday #bookheaven #strandbookstore #strandnyc #strandunionsquare #bookstore m
My favorite, though, are the shelves of books outside in the sidewalk where their bargain books are sold for anywhere from $1-5 each. If you have the patience and time to spare, you are sure to find something that will see you walking to the cashier to ring up a purchase in the store. Of course I was there not just for the reading but for crafting possibilities. I am scouting for a second book to alter and more crafting and blackout poetry possibilities.

Crafting-wise, I wanted to grab a ca. 70s dictionary for the prints and paper but I changed my mind because it was heavy. I did come upon a 1931 anthology of love poems (for blackout poetry) and a book on Britain which was not quite coffee table book size but bigger than your usual hard bound book. The pictures and the paper appealed to me and it looked like it was sewn in the spine and not just glued on like the newer books which made for a better altered book.

But the books can wait.  I wanted to read my newspapers.. and read I will.

Art Journaling and Chunky Agate Beads

Art journaling onTrying to keep a steady pace of output can be a challenge but I’m pushing myself to the limit.  The point is not to aim to finish a piece or to complete the work. You do it a little at a time.

How I envy those who can finish one whole layout in one sitting.  I’m not quite there yet.  There are days when I get swept up with all that’s happening around me and I don’t even open my altered book or pick up my tools.  So I’m grateful when I do get the chance and I begin a new project or continue something already started — because there are many days when I just end up not accomplishing anything related to the things I’m passionate about.

Chunky Agate Bead PendantI fell in love with these beads a while back and had them in my stash but they were tucked away in their leopard print brown bag. I finally figured out a way to pull them together the way I wanted them instead of the way it was strung together originally from the bead store. I’m not quite happy with the wire wrapping but I’m wearing this pendant around my neck just to give me an idea about how it actually feels when it’s worn. I think I will re-do or add more wire this evening, but I like it just as it is for now.

It’s rough on one side and smooth on the other, but the rough side has a whole lot of oomph and character.  I just need to refine the wire wrapping and the bead placement.  I’m all excited by the possibilities but even more excited by the thought that I’m creating again.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I can get these done by the weekend so I can post one or two in the store as new offerings.

I dream of the day when I can set aside time to do only the things I want to do and not the things I need to do to be able to do the things I want to do.  That statement is meant to make sense only to me. (Reminder to self: Buy lotto.)

One of these days, I’ll set aside a whole day and do just that: do the things I want to do.  So maybe I’ll spend the day in the city or just hop on a long distance train ride to somewhere and come back — just like that.  It’s something I’ve been thinking of doing once every say — two months or so… Just me time by myself not too far away from where I actually am.  It’s a thought.

 

 

 

Keeping up

Keeping up with the journaling

I’m trying to get back into the habit of posting here more regularly again. It’s lunch time, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t go beyond the break to write.  Just like I’ve been trying to be good with doing my art journaling.

You try to sort through the many thoughts running through your head and try to remember the ones you wanted to write about.  I’m kind of stumped.

It’s a beautiful but terribly cold day.  I made the mistake of walking out without my headgear nor my gloves, which made me postpone my plan to walk to one of my favorite bead stores to pick up more craft wire.  It’ll have to wait for until later.  Or tomorrow even.  I’m in no rush.  The promise of warmer and higher temps makes me smile, but I’m not holding my breath.  How many times has the weatherman said we were going to hit this and that and ended up 10 degrees lower than promised? (Again, someone make sure that Mother Nature gets the memo, please!)

I need to dig into some Fourth Grade arithmetic because the tyke has a unit test tomorrow.  Unfortunately for him, he seems to have gotten the gene that made numbers disagree with me when I was younger.  But we are both trying.  Motherhood and homework are bestfriends and inseparable, and I only wish I wasn’t grappling with other issues and could be at my 110% for the boy.  Nothing earth-shattering.  I think I’ve gone through that the latter part of 2013.  My world has settled to a numbing calm, but it’s also ground to an almost halt.

Sometimes I find myself standing still in the elevator or while waiting for the bus and I find myself wandering off in thought.  And there’s that creepy wish within not to move an inch this way or that.  Like I just want to stand there and not have to go… to anywhere.  But I always need to go — out of the elevator, out of the building, onto the line, and on the bus.

Spring is just around the corner, they say.  (They were counting down to it in the news this morning.)  Again, I’m not holding my breath.  In the 14 years I’ve been in New York City, I’ve experienced one of their worst winter storms one April maybe a decade or so ago.  (Too lazy to google.)  Almost a quarter of the year done.  Six months to the most challenging time I’ve had to go through.

Another audible sigh.  Of relief.  I’m still standing.  My world is in a status quo that it isn’t.  That statement doesn’t and yet at the same time makes a whole lot of sense to me.  At a time when I am weighed down by a forced moratorium on raising expectations, I’m actually bouyed by the thought that I made it through the last six months.  Scarred but not beaten.  Not feeling the winner but holding the trophy…

Lunch break’s over.  Time to get on with life again.

Counting the days yet again

I’ve been hoping to write a post here for ages but it has been a very busy past couple of days.  When the opportunity came, I opted to work on the Gotham Chick post first because that blog has been badly neglected and I feel bad about it.  I am trying very hard to jumpstart that corner of my webspace but life and work and life again get in the way.

Soon.

You know how you wish you could tick off even just half your list of “to do’s” and then find yourself unable to even write that list?  It can be paralyzing at times.

These days I just want to space out.  I have been thinking of hopping on a subway line and taking it from end to end over and over again.  But I don’t have the time.  I used to feel that way every time I got on e a long-distance bus ride — I just kept wishing I could just keep going without stopping.

In between ordinary chores like washing the dishes or just putting the dry ones away, I think about taking a trip some place on my own and just “disappearing” into a sea of tourists or like travelers.  Some place new where I’ve never been before.  I wish.. but I can’t.

I sit at my craft corner and start organizing the beads hoping the inspiration to create would come but I get stumped.  Time seems to be dragging its feet one minute and then slipping by too quickly in the next.

I want to jump to May.

This time of the year hasn’t been very good for me because celebrations have been non-celebrations for the longest time.  What should be Happy moments turn out to be numb if not sad.

I had to pause after that last line.  A half smile forms in my face and I try to remind myself I have been blessed.

Someone’s been telling me I have won.  That I should be happy because I have won.  Yet I am reminded of those Pyrrhic victories which were indeed wins but which were achieved at a terrible, terrible cost.  These days I often have to remind myself the reason for why I fight for what I fight for.  Sometimes I stray into a gray area and I find myself looking for some sense of balance which I shouldn’t be looking for — because I should be viewing it from another perspective.

I have to remind myself of the reason why I am where I am.  I have to remind myself of the choice I made and why I made that choice.  Forget about the ones that caused me pain and sadness. I look to the one who has given me my greatest joy.

Another pause.  This time I smile.  A real smile.

There are many things I dread coming to pass these days.  Birthday being one of them.  I get hundreds of greetings thanks to the automatic reminder feature of FB, but I don’t quite get all the ones that really matter.   And much as I would love to respond to each and everyone, I never quite get around to doing it.  (Too slow, I know.)  It’s not so much that I’m turning another year older and I am getting old — but all the “happy” associated with birthdays ring hollow to me more so at this time.  I used to hear people wanting to sleep through Christmas or whiz by their special day for some reason or other — and I never quite understood what was wrong with these people.  Now I understand why.

And remembering certain things associated with past birthdays — more so last year’s — makes it really hard to look forward to this coming one.  I’m tempted to say that after everything that had taken place, I cannot go to anything worse.  It can only get better as they say.  But I had said that of my life in general over a year ago, and 2013 proved me wrong.  It did get worse — so now I try not to tempt fate by proclaiming a hollow optimism after the storm.  I have learned that the pragmatic thing to do is actually just brace for whatever else life throws my way — be it good or bad.  More than hope for something, I need to pray and pray hard I must.

I am trying to count my blessings.  I don’t mean to sound ungrateful or unappreciative of the breaks life has thrown my way.  It’s just that I’ve fallen very hard the last two years, my knees are still smarting from the deep cuts — and the aches and pains haven’t quite gone away.  Who was it who said scars make you beautiful… they are reminders of how strong you are… they probably were looking at someone else’s scars and did not suffer that kind of a fall themselves.

Spare me the birthday greetings — not because I don’t like getting them — but because I’d rather ask for your prayers.  I’m two years shy of the next milestone agewise, and I would like to think I’ll be at a much better place then than where I find myself now, whether or not things do get better or things get worse.  (Does that make sense?  It does to me.)

I have realized a lot of things more so in the last six months which I sometimes wish I didn’t uncover or have to face.  We sometimes find that illusions or the way we’d like to believe things are are safer than the truth that they mask, just under the surface.

I want to go on a short trip to this resort hotel and book a room and just lay there in bed, staring at the ceiling.  To feel how it is to be there in that place..  and to just see the sun rise outside my window.

I want to believe in me again the way I did before my illusions about my world were shattered to bits.  Sometimes that is the hardest because I am my own worst critic.  I wish the pain would go so that “happy” can have room and reign again.

I am trying.

Even as I count the days to one of the occasions I dread — for many reasons, in many ways.

A sight to behold: Analogia in Bryant Park

Analogia over at Bryant Park - viewed from across the Avenue of the Anericas.  This is an epic new public outdoor art installation by artist Ben Tritt making it's worldwide debut at #bryantpark.  There until March 18.  Just another one of those everyday t

It’s entitled Analogia and it’s one of those things that make being in New York City a privilege.  This has been up for a week now and you have another week or so more to enjoy it.  Up until March 18, this epic art installation in Bryant Park by Ben Tritt, produced by Jodi Kaplan has been standing proud on the Fountain Terrace.  The picture above was taken from across Sixth Avenue, aka Avenue of the Americas.

I snapped up a picture during my noon walk and another on the way home.

Even when taken with natural lighting, the graphics were imposing and just amazing.  Although the installation is not lit, the way it was executed makes the visuals come alive, more so when viewed up close from street level, making the various levels “connect” into one flowing scene on each side.  (Just below the steps is the better angle.)
In Bryant Park: Analogia at night with the Josephine Shaw Lowell MemorialFpuntain glowing at the back and the New York Public Library standing guard in the distance.  Even more imposing at night and viewed up close by the steps.  Art installation by Ben T

It was pure luck that I stood in the middle and then noticed the gap framed my fountain beautifully.  Just moving a few inches to center it made for the gorgeous evening shot.

Catch it if you can while it’s still in the park.

Work in Progress: Wire Wrapped Earrings

Work in progress: wire wrapped agate earringsI’ve been trying to stir up the creative juices again.  It hasn’t been easy even if I’ve made it a point to sit at my craft corner a few minutes each night.  And then there are nights when I’m just too tired to do even just that. 

I’ve been trying to create polymer clay canes which have proven to be quite the learning experience for me, which I guess, translates to it being a hit or miss kind of thing right now.  Fortunately, it’s a very cheap medium and I have stocked up on it the last 12 months. 

The past two nights, I turned my attention to some wires I had bought before the weekend (which remained untouched because other things preoccupied me), and I started trying to manipulate the gauge 18, 22 and 24 wires just to get a feel for it with respect to what I wanted to do.

The picture you see is one of my more successful attempts at creating a wire-wrapped dangle for an earring which I am trying to get the hang of, and which I want to “execute” as a tighter and cleaner wrapping eventually.  (Like most things, this takes practice.)

You might think the earring above which is the size of a nickel (roughly) is heavy, but it was surprisingly light, using a 10mm round agate bead.  I made the earring hook from the same wire I used to wrap the gemstone. It’s pretty rough but I liked the way it felt as I wore it today. I always make it a point to “test run” my wares, more so if it’s not your ordinary beadwork piece.  My ears are rather sensitive these days but this was comfy and light and didn’t even irritate my skin one bit.  I’m looking forward to doing more of this over the weekend, while at the same time trying to continue to organize my jewelry crafting supplies.

New York is cold again.  I think Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about the forecast for temps up to 51 today so it’s a gloomy Friday that holds no promise for warmer temps.  We’re going up to 39 which is just 7 degrees above freezing so it’s not very promising.  Still, it’s Friday, so I’m going to stop the whining with that.

I have my work cut out for me over the weekend with test prep for the state tests on Angelo’s calendar and mine.  I have the organizing and cleaning up to do over the weekend and maybe I’ll try and get some serious reading done.

Day 3 into Lent and I’ve kept myself clear of red meat.  It was  a bit of a challenge last night as I cooked some spicy skirt steak for Alan, but I stuck to my grilled cheese.  By the way, did you ever try grilled cheese with an ever so thin swipe of mayo (light mayo for me) on the outside in lieu of butter?  I read about this in one of my older mags and boy, did it taste more delicious, indeed!  I’m now a convert.  Don’t overdo the mayo, though — do it as you would butter, but maybe just a smidge less.

Hope everyone is having a good start of the weekend.  Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

A matter of faith

Ash WednesdayI went for ash at a nearby parish which was a short walk from my building, like I had done the last 3 years.  There was this pair of ladies on the church stoop with a camera on a tripod, and I was curious but had secretly hoped they wouldn’t stop me for whatever it was they wanted to ask.  But stop me, they did.

They were doing market research and putting together a documentary in the process, and would I be willing to answer a few questions about Ash Wednesday for a talent fee of $10.  I don’t know what made me sign the release form pronto, but I said yes, took off my shades, and waited as they got set up with the rest of New York walking past me.   I was lucky that it was a sidestreet and not a main thoroughfare, but this being New York City, the traffic was pretty brisk during the lunch hour.

From the first question of what is Ash Wednesday to whether or not the Pope’s admonition about Ash Wednesday brought me here (and no, it did not — I go for my ash whoever the sitting pope is) — I’m glad I took the time to answer the questions, because it was a reaffirmation of what I have grown up to believe all my life about my religious leaning.

Like all other surveys and interviews, there is that question that sticks with you:  “How would you define faith?”  And spontaneously, I replied, “It’s believing in something or someone, a higher power or being even if you cannot see Him or physically feel him.”

That is the kind of faith that I am trying to teach my son, and it’s a kind of faith that you cannot give to someone if you don’t have it in your heart. 

I did a Lenten fast yesterday which was rare and not easy for me, but I made it through the day with a few slices of bread and water.  At night, I made do without the meat and had grilled cheese.  For the season, I’m trying to give up red meat.  So far, so good.

This Lenten season is more solemn to me for many reasons, and I want to make the most of this season or repentance and renewal and flesh out my relationship with God.  Faith has always been a very personal aspect of my existence, and while I wear my faith on my sleeve literally, what goes on and what I think and say to Him stays between Him and me. 

I am also trying to find the courage to forgive and to not let anger or pain crowd my heart.  It is not easy but I know it is the only way to find my way to inner peace and calm.  I try to be more introspective now, thinking before I say or do something — and reminding myself of what is right and just according to His word.  I am trying.  I am praying.

The past few months have seen me feeling closer to my God and I have never been more reassured of His presence in my life than at this time.  I feel blessed. 

I wish you all the blessing of that kind of presence and reassurance, and hope that the Lenten season will find you having a closer and more meaningful releationship with Him.