On the road through the years

Road tripAs I write this, we’re driving down to Washington DC to attend a wedding. Things sure have changed from the days of MapQuest and driving as a couple to today’s GPS and the boy seating in front and me relegated to the back.

I remember how we used to fight because I failed to prompt the turn or exit in time until I got the rhythm of reading the directions and calling them out. These days, any wrong turns are more because of the kid talking over the audio prompts or an outright miscalculation of the driver.

I still travel with my bag of “go-to” items… Paper towel, folded plastic bags, sanitizer, snacks, water, baby wipes. And there are the chargers, the various handhelds, the iPad, etc. the technology actually came in handy today as the boss started texting me early this morning. While I am happy he misses me, I worry that I’m out at the wrong time and day and start feeling guilty. I am lucky that he is generally very mindful of reaching out to me when I am out of the office, so when he does, I pay heed.

But back to being on the road.

I don’t know about you but I like visiting the rest areas. The ones in Maryland, in particular, have been recently renovated and Angelo says that they feel like you’re in an airport food court. I like browsing the convenience stores for postcards and other souvenirs. During the last trip, I got some wood-mounted postcards that were quite a find. We also got the tiniest snow globe magnet of New Jersey for my nephew, Art.

Each trip is different even if we have a familiar destination we’ve driven to and from before. This one’s been easier for the usually car sick 10-year-old this time around, thanks to his sea bands and meds. I let him sit in front and enjoy the drive with his Dad behind the wheel. I sit at the back and do my own thing.

We usually seek out the Cracker Barrel restaurants along the way, but we were in a rush to get going given all the traffic we hit, we’re postponing that for the trip back.

Autumn says hello

My mornings see me getting off right about here-- and at times I can't avoid the compulsion to snap a pic before heading to work.  In every season, in every kind of weather, there's always something camera-worthy here.  #bryantpark #mynyc #mynewyork #ManhThe mornings are definitely getting colder now, but I am still trying to resist the urge to take out the coats. I am trying to make do with my warm sweaters, and today when we were in the low 60s, I put on one of my fall blazers. I’m trying to hang on to the last vestiges of summer.

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love autumn.  The changing colors and the whole dramatic reveal as Mother Nature ushers in winter is always different, but never any less awe-inspiring.  I take the most pictures in the fall, when even simple fallen leaves can provide quite a compelling subject.  Or maybe I just like taking pictures.

Things seem to be slowing down a bit as the days get shorter.  Where we used to have the sun setting at past 8pm, it can be dark much sooner now, as early as just 6pm.  Both the nights and the mornings are colder, and the whole landscape is changing.  And before you know it, the year has ended.

Yet another reminder that time goes by so fast.

I would love to do my Central Park walk this autumn again. The last time I indulged was last year, and I didn’t get to snap up that many photos because Angelo was with me.  I was busy keeping an eye on him as we made our way to his favorite portion of the park where the rocks form a natural jungle gym for the kids who live in the city.  That was difficult, and the day ended in a not so good note — but I have high hopes for this year.

I’m going back to Central Park this year — on my own — to walk the paths at leisure and take as many pictures as I want to take.  Maybe do it with one of my photo buddies like Didi.  I hope to do it more than once so I can catch the glory of the Bethesda Fountain with different angles of natural lighting, and catch the sunlight as it streams down The Mall as I search for Jim Henderson’s park bench.

I’ll keep my autumn goal to that: Two trips to Central Park.  Have to get some comfy shoes to walk in — because I wouldn’t want to do that walk wearing my high heels.

I used to walk a lot with friends just to talk.  Fe and I used to walk from Legaspi to Salcedo as I lugged my law books wearing three inch heels and dressed according to the code in law school.  In high school, I would walk around the quadrangle just talking to my old friend Lilay whom I miss.  It has been years since she passed, and I recently “met” her now grown son via e-mail — but there’s a part of me that will always remember that time we were such great friends.

15 years in New York and I have yet to fully explore the Park.  Not that I think it can be done in one season, but it would be nice to get myself walking to parts of the park I haven’t explored before instead of being confined to the usual and the familiar.  Autumn would be a great time to do that.

My Thursday felt like Friday.  We’re heading back to DC tomorrow for a wedding on Saturday.  I think the boy is more excited than the Ninong-to-be Dad and me.  I have been teasing him that I’m looking forward to dancing with him, to which he shook his head from side to side in disagreement.  I guess not.  Or he might yet indulge his favorite girl.  (He says until he finds a wife…)  Yet another precious autumn memory.






Art Journal Every Day – Journal First Aid

Art Journal Every DayThis really started just as another spread painted in one color, and while I sometimes edit the background before starting to write, this layout needed major first aid with the pages falling apart from each other.  Masking tape to the rescue.  Of course, I wouldn’t leave it just like that, but I wanted to keep journaling instead of editing the page before writing.

The cut out of Angelo’s picture on the right came later, as well, as it’s a new picture of him taken during the first day of school.

Art Journal Every Day
Gold was my color of choice which I brushed on top of the masking tape and sort of “splattered” with the brush on the edges of the photo.  (Angelo was complaining about my doing that, but I told him it was to create a certain effect in the layout.)  I like how acrylic paint easily covers and adheres to masking tape although I think the drying time is a little longer than doing it just on plain paper.

I like acrylic over masking tape as a writing surface, though, as the pen glides through it nicely and it absorbs the ink just the same way.
Art Journal Every Day

So here’s the final page, with the entry written in another text direction.  I like doing that to separate the days when a spread accommodates several days.  I hate leaving blank spaces in my journal.

My journals are not quite as artistic or fantastic as most other art journals that make even me drool for its color and impact.  I am working with an altered book which in itself is still a work in progress, and I am enjoying creating layouts to later embellish or write on.  It is also different writing on a page you had created yourself instead of  being confined to plain journal pages.  Luckily, I am many weeks ahead of the actual journaling as far as the altered book is concerned, so I can choose to stick with plain journal entries (simply writing them) or embellish already existing backgrounds.

Some art journalers prefer to start from scratch and create the page, but it’s the writing more than the art that really draws me to the project, so I tend to be very text heavy instead of just “representative” of what I am feeling or thinking about in the art journal.

As they say, to each his own.  This is my journal, after all.


Missed Opportunities

On Friday nights, I usually end up watching if not at least “listening” to Girl Meets World, a staple on Angelo’s chosen programs to be watched “live” and not “on demand”.  I always pick up something worth quoting, but I don’t always get the chance to scribble it down to be able to quote it verbatim.  In last night’s episode, it’s not so much a sentence but a phrase.

“Missed opportunities.”

Two words.  Spawned a blog post just after I had hit “publish” on the post I had started writing Friday morning.  I don’t know why but those two words resonated with me and a torrent of related thoughts came rushing in.  I was only clearing the boy’s dinner and had caught part of the scene.

It made me pause and reflect on those missed opportunities when I could have actually maybe done something different — it leads to one “if” to another. Too many. But it helps us reflect on the things we missed out in terms of making some good of something. Those chances we had to make things right before they went wrong. Or those times we could’ve picked up on something and instead chose to ignore our instincts and let it go.

That’s why when Angelo asks to sit on my lap, even if I’m in the middle of something that makes it inconvenient (like cooking) or if I’d rather sit comfortably on the barstool in the kitchen or my work corner, I drop everything and let him. One day — not too soon, I hope — he will stop asking to do that. At the rate he’s growing up, I probably have a year or so before he’s too tall to sit comfortably on my lap facing me, hugging me like a toddler would. That won’t be a missed opportunity for me.

There will always be things that we might have a choice to go on with or not, people to befriend or not, people to let into our lives or not.. those we should let go of or not.. places to go to or not. And when we choose not to, we let go of the possibilities of what might have become of that. We find ourselves looking back at missed opportunities later on.

The thing is to learn from them instead of dwelling on the what-might-have-beens, and not to let a similar missed opportunity pass you by. Have you any missed opportunities you wish you hadn’t passed up on?

Something New

Flowers & ButterfliesI’ve put my Friday Five list on hold for now so this won’t be one of those posts.  One reason is, I’m sort of veering away from the focus of the list and that’s just not what that list was supposed to be about.  Secondly, I am trying to post more rather than just punctuating this blog with the latest iteration of the list.

I’ve been waking up early the last couple of days even if the sun hasn’t been rising as early as it used to.  The cold morning air is coming in from my kitchen window, and although I am tempted to close it, it’s still pleasantly cool and I just want to enjoy that along with the peaceful quiet surrounding me.    New York is getting colder with the onset of fall — but just Baguio-like as I have been writing two friends who are visiting the big apple the coming days.  (No thermals necessary!)

While I don’t like the fact that summer is gone, I love autumn for its glorious colors and dramatic shift which allows us to settle nicely into the cold of winter.  After 15 years in NYC, I am still awed by how the seasons can shape and literally color our lives a different hue each time as they come and go.

I have been very busy lately but I’m still trying to work on my projects.  Yet looking back now, I realize I really haven’t done anything new until the last couple of days.  Summer started with all these plans of maybe taking some lessons as suggested my fashion designer student friend, Laine, to hone my jewelry making skills.  (Didn’t happen.)  I was thinking of taking a day trip somewhere I’ve never been ON MY OWN, just for the adventure.  (Again, didn’t happen.)  Brings me back to my daring adventure to Chartres, France, a couple of years ago — hence the Throw Back Thursday post on Instagram with a favorite window pic from there.)

This week, though, I managed to actually try one of the new places around my building that I have been meaning to go into after walking past it more than a dozen times the last couple of months.  I finally got a friend to go with me to just try out Mexicue on 40th street and I liked the atmosphere although we didn’t really go there for the food.  (Trying to diet for the wedding next week in DC.)  I finally signed up for online ordering at Kobeyaki so I could eat their food without having to eat there with someone because I hate eating at restaurants alone!  (Fast and efficient and saves one the trouble of going through the longer lines.)

“New” doesn’t have to be grandiose or a big deal.  You just have to get out of your comfort zone.  You can try doing something a different way.  You can finally pick up that instrument you’ve been meaning to learn.  (The violin, for me.)  You can walk a different route from the one you’re used to taking.  You can be brave and do something you think you cannot do — trying alone is something new, and you might just surprise yourself.

You might find that that restaurant you’ve been eyeing is actually a cool place.  The things you can actually do if you only mustered the courage to do it might blow you away.  The thing you keep saying no to and which seems to keep dogging you might be a good choice, after all.  A friend had suggested something to me which I said “no”, “no”, and “no”, to.  But my friend persisted, and I relented.  And it was cool.  I had fun, I had a ton of laughs.  Sometimes you just have to try and say yes more often than continually saying no because that’s new to you.








When the ghosts come haunting me in my dreams

George Washington Bridge on a muggy Saturday evening... #mynyc #mynewyork #georgewashingtonbridge #rainynightI sat here and started writing this post a few minutes ago and my post “disappeared” just as I hit “Publish”.  No drafts apparently made it to “save” and I have tried in vain to try to “pull it back”.  The only thing that seems to have survived is the html code for the graphic I had decided I would use for the post.  When I hit “paste”, there it was.

Take two.

I woke up earlier than usual this morning, knowing I had a good night’s rest (turned in before midnight, believe it or not) and then got up after the first alarm just after 5am.  But I had a heaviness in my heart and it took me a while to remember what it was.

I had a most disturbing dream about someone who I hate to think about and whose very presence, even if not in my life, has and continues to cause me so much pain.  I am trying to let it go, but when she visits me in my dreams, everything seems to fall apart.  And I don’t normally dream about people I know… my dreams tend to be bits and pieces of a never-ending movie starring me, myself and I.  When someone I know actually pops up in my dreams, I get  worried and think of it as a message from the universe that needs heeding.

But this one person whose actuations had distorted my life beyond comprehension the past year is a constant ghost in my dreams.  I just saw a draft about yet another “visit” sometime in July — and back then, I had gotten so upset I never even finished the post.  This time, it’s different.  I feel like I have a need to exorcise my demons by speaking out.

I wish I had the grace to forgive, but my lessons on forgiveness in the recent past have been fraught with disappointment and frustration.  We have seen it all too often in the movies how when one is hurt by another, that person comes down on bended knee to seek forgiveness, and then makes up for that transgression to earn it and all’s well that ends well.  I have forgiven and yet I never got anything back for the forgiveness I gave.  I didn’t get anything that made me feel good.  My debacle was not solved.  The storm seems to have abated, but it didn’t really leave.

Yet other portions of my life have gone on as if nothing had happened.  I try.  Until the she comes in my dreams yet again to haunt me.


A gorgeous goodbye, the sun bid me

Sunset tonightOur days have been shorter with the exit of summer.  This is how the sun bid me goodbye tonight.  Gorgeous, don’t you agree?

I am tired and exhausted after a long day, but as I went through my usual before-bed routines, I made up my mind to try and come up with a quick post.  I just felt like it.

I wish I didn’t have to be intimidated by the thought of having to wake up really early tomorrow to take the boy to school.  I want to make it to work on time and even just the thought of it feels daunting.  Another long day tomorrow, but at least it looks like there is hope for the rest of the week to ease up a bit.

I was so busy today that I am surprised I managed to cut out the multi-page layout I’ve been planning for a bit.  That part of my altered book will take a while to finish.  But the trickiest part — that of cutting the “windows” out of the pages (and several pages, at that) is done.

The me-side of things has taken a backseat to work.  I don’t mind.  Busy is good, I always say.  I didn’t pick up my tools but I’m okay with that.  I need to be in the proper frame of mind to be creating.  It’s not always as simple as wanting to create.

Do you ever send out a note or a letter not expecting a reply but silently wishing you will get one?  I never learn.  I guess it’s just the eternal optimist in me.  Or that part of me which continues to be in denial.  Not everyone is kind.  Not everyone will go for “good”.  The lessons of the past two years have taught me that only too well.

I was cleaning up one of my mailboxes which has been cluttered by unread mail.  Promo mail, mostly.  They can pile up.  I came upon an e-mail written to me around the first half of 2012.  I had done someone wrong and I received very searing rebukes for my misstep.  At the time, and for a very long time, I bowed my head in remorse.  Then later I discovered that person had done me more wrong, a hundred times more painful, with transgressions that were repeated over and over again — and suddenly I realized my guilt was misplaced.

Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves.  I was. I continue to be.  Force of habit, I guess.  Sometimes people tell us something over and over again and even when it’s a lie, it becomes our truth.

I want to shake that off.  I want to rinse it away.  I continue to try.

And it’s sunsets like this that make me hopeful.  My own redemption has been in that I had felt and shown remorse for what I thought was the bigger mistake committed by me.  That has given me pause to forgive myself.

Goodnight, sun.. see you tomorrow..



The Rainbow Connection

Did you catch the rainbow over Manhattan today?  Sometimes you have to look hard and be quick before it's gone...Happy Friday! #happyfriday #manhattan #midtownmanhattan #rainbowovermanhattan #rainbow #lookup #friday

Remember that song from the late 70s, “RAINBOW CONNECTION”?  (Sung famously by Kermit the Frog and covered by a ton of artists after..) — it’s the song that comes to mind when I remember the splendor of seeing a rainbow above Manhattan Friday afternoon after a quick shower.  We were expecting a thunderstorm, but Mother Nature gave us a break.

It’s hardly discernible from the picture I took upon seeing it, as I caught it as it was about to “disappear” into the clear sky that was revealed after the grey skies had passed.  Magnificent..



Friday Five – Three out of Five off the list

I had actually written and finished this Friday, but I was so exhausted by the end of the day that I slept without hitting publish.. so here it goes..

I am proud to report that I am ticking off three of the five on my list last week.

1.  Write on the postcards I meant to send out to friends in Manila.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  

3.  Report on my progress with the THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.

4.  Create a pair or two of earrings from my polymer clay discs.  

5.  Create a non-polymer clay piece.

Save for the pants, I might even be able to belatedly take no. 3 off soon, too.

Not bad.

This week’s Friday Five:

1.  Finish the pieces for posting to the shop.  The polymer clay disc pieces and the non-polymer clay ones are just up for finishing, photographing and posting.  Target for the weekend: at least one.

2.  Work on the hem of at least one pair of pants.  Still trying to get this done before the fall is fully present in NYC!

3.  Write a post in the other blog, THANK YOU POSTCARD PROJECT.  I’ve been working on this and there is much to report.  If only I could find the time to sit down and write.

4.  Begin the next multi-page layout I started planning last weekend.  I love doing multi-page layouts which I fill in as I go on with my art journal

5.  Create one of my Marian necklaces.  About time, considering the request from Lou came a while back.

Let’s see how far I get this time…