No fading

No fadingA while back, I started a new category here entitled “The People in My life”, hoping to write about those individuals who may have walked in to say hello, walked past me, or who had decided to stay and have been part of my life since the day they walked in. It just struck me that there are so many people in our lives we often lose track of. People who, whether in a deliberate or very passing way, touch our lives.

I have almost 49 years of those people. I still haven’t quite gotten down to seriously writing a piece about any one, I guess – but a phrase I said to myself the other day struck a chord when thinking of those people. “No fading.”

“Goodbye” seems to have gotten the raw deal when we think about the painful junctures in our lives. When we think about “sad partings”, we think about those times we broke off with someone, someone broke off with us, or when someone left for good to be someplace else. I think that no matter how goodbyes are said, the fact that they are said whether verbally or in action counts for something. There is a finality to it that allows you to put a period at the end of the sentence, instead of those three dots and a question mark. It helps one to move on.

I have said my share of goodbyes. Some were happy – like when I decided to move to New York 15 years ago. Some were sad, like when someone told me that although the feeling would never change, he had to say goodbye. Or when I bid my Dad goodbye on the cellphone as he was about to breathe his last – because he was 10,000 miles away. He couldn’t speak anymore, but I told him I loved him and that I was sorry if I had gotten mad at him, but that I was okay now and no longer angry. And yes, that he could go.. he need not worry about me. That goodbye still makes a knot form in my stomach.. even now as I write here. I have to take a deep breath so the tears won’t come.

But those are goodbyes that were said or made known. Sometimes you don’t need words, but then your actions speak it with finality.  Nothing is left to interpretation. It was goodbye, and that was that.

I think the sadder thing is when people just fade away.

You know how when someone comes and says hello, and you feel like the sun just started shining a tad brighter.. and just when you start believing it’s all good, that person fades away. No warning. No goodbye. Just plain fading. For a time you start thinking maybe this friend will come back. Maybe that’s why there were no goodbyes. Or maybe this friend just wasn’t really a friend after all.  There was a need, and being there met that need – and once the need was gone, so was this friend.

I have been guilty of fading away myself – years ago when I thought I’d be a coward and just slowly disappear. Is there really such a thing as “slowly disappearing?” We choose to disappear — period. We choose to be no longer a part of someone else’s life. Like those friends I might’ve run to when I felt like the rug was being pulled from under me – and while I was not asking them to take sides, they chose to take the safe side and not get involved. (I know I sound bitter here.. maybe because I am.) So I faded.. If I happen to meet them some place, I’d smile. I’d still talk to them, but they are no longer a part of my life just as I walked away from being a part of their lives. I have family that I wanted to hold close, but who, I guess wasn’t in the same frame of mind. No hard feelings. While we can’t choose family, we can choose if we want to be with them or not. So again, I faded.

“No fading.” That should be a rule of thumb between friends. A friend, after all, will always be there — whether 10,000 miles away or within the same time zone. So when someone fades, she’s just not being a friend at all.

We’re all entitled to change our minds. And sometimes, life does happen.  But wouldn’t it be nicer if we can tell the person affected we’ve decided to move on whether in plain language or in a definite action, instead of not saying a word, perhaps mistakenly believing it should be understood. Between friends, goodbyes are never implied. It’s like your boyfriend – you break up.

I’ve only broken up with one friend — someone who was like a sister to me and she and I continue to be estranged. Once upon a time, we just didn’t quite agree on where she thought I was coming from and where I was actually coming from. Major events took place and I was relegated to guest instead of friend or even the sister she professed she always wanted to have. Letters were exchanged — carefully worded, yet very painful — and in the end, we said our goodbyes.

No regrets.  I’ve moved on.  Do I miss her? Sadly, no. I think our friendship and even our sisterhood was meant to end then.

No fading. It simply ended. Perhaps that’s the reason it’s such a final goodbye – because it was actually very pointed and clear.

I try to think of the people who had faded away somehow through the years. Some, I think about wistfully and wish they had not.  Some, I understood the reasons why and leave it just as another one of those friendships or relationships that weren’t meant to be.

I guess I’m thinking about this now more for my benefit and to remind myself to try to be more mindful as I go through life from hereon.  No fading, Dinna..  There are conversations that will have to end.  People you have to say goodbye to.  People who will have to hear, this is it — I’m moving on.  While it may be easier to just stop answering emails or ignoring text messages and phone calls, there will always be that part of the population that needs things to be spelled out in plain and simple terms.  (As BFF Fe says, you have to dumb proof the statement.)  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a matter of kindness.

One final good deed when needed.  Instead of you just turning away, leaving another waiting.  Just think of it this way, if it were you on the other end, wouldn’t you want to be told instead of being left just hanging.  You wouldn’t want to be the one left wondering..

Five things to be thankful for.. on a freezing Tuesday

Wouldn't be complete without Maison Kayser's pistachio eclair. Taste of heaven! #maisonkayser #foodporn #foodtrip #foodtreat #pistachioeclair #midtown #mynewyork #manhattan #40thstreet #lunch #withPeterOI am trying to focus on the positive as I just saw that temps outside are in the single digits.  I am already mentally planning my winter attire today, including how many layers I will be wearing top and bottom.   In the meantime, let me get started and hopefully jumpstart my optimism quotient by typing away.  Again, I try to write this as spontaneously as possible to keep it simple and just so it comes from the heart.

1.  Pistachio eclairs from Maison Kayser.  I’m supposed to be on a diet but I did indulge with Peter O last Saturday and am so tempted to go and drop by later today to grab another one.  If you haven’t tried them, they are absolutely to die for.

2.  Warm winter clothes that make me look fab anyway.  (LOL)  I have had a difficult time trying to look fashionable with my one size bigger winter coats which make me look frumpy.  My favorite fuschia pink coat also needs a replacement.. in the right size.  But I am so happy they keep me warm.

3.  Baileys.  I think of Baileys and I think of as close to chocolate heaven as I can get, but I’m resisting the urge to grab a bottle.

4.  Angelo texting me “I like to text.  I love you, Mama.”  He recently got his own iphone and is happily texting away, in COMPLETE sentences, mind you!

5.  Thinking about being in Manila in a couple of weeks time.  Just plain bliss.

Bundle up and hope everyone has a nice day.. I know I will have one..

Monday Musings – Give me some sunshine

I will overcome: word art on Kraft paper from an art journal entry a year ago. #wordart #artjournaleveryday #artjournal #laseronkraftpaper #kraftscrap #personalart #iwillovercome #determinationBack to the art journaling.  I have been slow with the journaling and started writing entries for the previous week only last night.  After I had finished for the evening, I went over the earlier pages and found myself at this entry I put in a year ago.  (And yes, the second word was broken up into two just to make it fit into a square word art.  I can spell.)

At the time, it was the inner me trying to push myself to go on in the midst of all the challenges that I was trying to cope with.  I felt like I was drowning in anger and pain and I didn’t know which way to go to make myself feel balanced again.  I was having palpitations that were so strong they made me cough — I would sometimes be walking and angry thoughts would overtake my heart and I would be filled with such rage I often found myself on the verge of tears.

I was at the lowest of lows that I told myself I will never say anything was the worst, because the worst might be yet to come.

Did I succeed and pull myself out of my lowest of lows?  I think I did overcome — and I managed to get back on my feet again.  A lot has changed.  A lot in me has changed.  I found me again.

The head strong, confident and practical minded me is back.  Less angry, not as easily hurt, and more focused.  It was a long journey, and I’m still on that journey — but I’ve come very far from where I was a year ago.  Yes, I did.

No one told me about the science projects being part of motherhood.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m used to this — I used to have my brother, Nikki, sit in front of me while I did those projects.  Then when everything had been submitted, I would ask with pride — “What grade did I get?”  I am trying not to be as lenient with Angelo now, so we are doing the projects together.  Science projects can be quite the task to complete even when you are just supervising.

I was told this ends here.. I hope.  Or maybe not.  The project has been finished finally… now Mom can breathe a sigh of relief.

Another freezing week in New York City.  When are we going to see spring?  We didn’t quite get as much snow as last year’s, but the termperatures have been brutally cold.  For the first time in my 15 years here, I saw 1 degree.  I almost turned into a popsicle.  The good thing was, double leggings and double and triple sweaters did the trick.  And I was careful not to breathe in the freezing air except through my infinity scarf.  That helped.. a bit.

So the week has started.  It’s been good — so far.  I’m trying to take things a day at a time.  Monday has been good so far.

Icy Hudson! Yes, it is THAT cold.. #winter #iceontheriver #hudsonriver #winter #winterinnewyork #cold

Journey to “Happy” – You made my day

This snapshot warms my heart as I remember walking this path one cold winter day not too long ago.  Sometimes something so ordinary can bring back a happy memory and it takes you to a happy place tucked somewhere in your heart. a happy thought, a happy plI’ve been meaning to write here the last 10 days.  I’ve been in and out of the site and the app.  I’ve been working on drafts (emphasis on “s”), but it’s just a tad difficult to get a coherent post out.  Or finish one.  Maybe it’s because it’s been soooooo cold in NYC of late that my brain is experiencing a literal “brain freeze”.  (Heaven forbid!  My dream is to grow old like Betty White and still be coherent, alert and still sexy in her 90s..)

I really don’t know how I can be writing here with a splitting headache — and maybe it’s just me trying to will the meds to finally kick in even on my second dose.  But maybe the subject matter will cause my endorphins to outwit the pain racking my head right now and instead bring me to a state of zen.  (Hoping.)

I’ve recently revised my Instagram profile to read:

Dinna. Filipina New Yorker. Passionate about motherhood, life, crafting and creativity.  On a journey to “Happy”.  On Flickr: PinayNewYorker. (emphasis supplied)

Like most people, sometimes I fall prey to the common misconception that “happiness” or “being happy” is always associated with something “big” or “pronounced” — and not “random”, which is usually how we come across this elusive “want” or “need”.  I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes is a simple act, whether to acknowledge a moment of “happy”, or to extend some kindness to another to make them smile.  And isn’t that what “happy” is all about?

That’s why I try to make it a point to say “Good morning” to the people manning the reception desks, whether they are from my company or not.  If I know them by name, I make it a point to greet them.  If I’m otherwise rushing to the second set of elevators taking me to my perch, I try to at least wave and mouth a “hello” or “good morning” to let them know people do notice them, even if the majority do not give a care.  Or I smile as a faint sign of acknowledgment when I meet strangers who take the effort to get out of my way when they see I’m trying to walk past.  Or when someone is wearing something particularly striking, that I mention how I love that magenta coat this stranger is wearing in the building lobby — or those fierce heels that the lady in the elevator in front of me happens to be wearing.  (Shoe love, BFF Fe!)

It doesn’t take much, but it can mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.

It can simply be a genuine smile that lets the other person read the message “I see you, and I like what I see.”  Or a nod of approval or smile that says “You’re awesome!”

The other day, a very elegant and sophisticated lady I work with gave me just that — a bit of kindness and she really made my day.  I’ve known her for as long as I’ve had this boss — three years now — and she always struck me as very well put together.  A stunningly tall African American lady who carried herself with aplomb, every inch the fashionista — and she knew how to pull even the simplest outfit into a real fashion statement.  After all, she was an interior designer by profession — and if you didn’t know what she did for a living, you’d think she was a supermodel.  Her taste for art and fashion were both impeccable.  This was one lady who knew beauty with a capital B-E-A-U-T-Y and she radiated it with a genuine smile every time.

I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months as she shuttles from state to state where there are ongoing projects for the company, and last Wednesday, I bumped into her in this long corridor that guests would go into on their way to the floor proper.  Even from afar, she lit up and exclaimed “You’re looking fabulous!” .. She and I met in the middle and hugged.  I was just happy to see her.. we did small talk and she had to usher her guests in.  I was on the way to do something else.  It was nice to see her again.  I told her she looked fab herself, but she always did!

I went about my day the usual way and on my way home, I did a refresh of the work email app, and there was this one e-mail that caught my attention from this same lady.

Subject matter: YOU…

Body: LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

A giant smile formed on my face.  She didn’t have to, and that she did, meant a lot.  That it was her who said it, meant a lot.  It was as if she had hugged me even tighter this time.  I wrote her a sincere thank you and told her she had made my day..

The next morning, I received a very short but sweet email from another friend which was a very sweet Good morning, wishing me well.. simply like that.  And that, too, made my day.

We all get these little nudges from everywhere around us, but we often fail to stop to recognize them as bits of happy — baby steps or giant leaps to that elusive place we’re all trying to find ourselves in.  Sometimes, you’re already there and you just fail to know it because you’re looking for that one huge dollop of “happy” that will take your breath away.  It isn’t always like that.

I’ve learned to embrace those ‘gifts’ that come each passing day and cherish them for what they are, letting them enrich me even just that one moment — and sometimes, in a more lasting way.  I remind myself I’m in a good place, and happy can be “here” and “right now”.  Being on the receiving end of those ‘gifts’ makes me want to give just as generously to others.  Sometimes, we don’t realize something so routine or simple or non-remarkable act can make someone else’s day and take them to a happy place, even just for a brief moment.

You made my day.

Be kind.  Be happy.  It all comes back to you.  Happy Friday, everyone..

Coming up for Air

Blog graphicsI had a whirl of a morning today. The afternoon doesn’t seem to be any different. I’m taking a moment to look at the fog descending on downtown thinking about the cold spell we’re in for, the next couple of days. I wish my head wasn’t spinning like it is. I’m trying to think of happy thoughts, and hopefully it’ll give me the air I so badly need.

This morning, I came up for air. It was brief.. I kicked in the water and started to feel myself rising to the surface. I let the water carry me up… I look up towards the surface and I could see the sun gleaming above the water. Brighter and brighter. 

Finally, the sun seemed to be within reach.  I raise my hand as if the sun would reach down and pull me up.  I broke the surface and took a big gulp of air… And another .. And another. I looked up at the blue sky above me and I breathed in deeply, the tongues of the waves teasing my skin.  And after the struggle up, I close my eyes and smile.

“That was fun,” I whispered to no one in particular. And I heard the ocean whisper back, “That was fun, indeed.”

I don’t like feeling this way because it makes me seek comfort food. Thankfully, my sugar tolerance seems to be waning in recent months. Where I could gorge on bar after bar of the treat before, now my tastebuds find the usual sweetness too much after a modest helping.  Maybe I’m losing my choco-tolerance.  Is that supposed to be good?  (And I am amused by that thought.. I have a lifetime love affair with chocolate… NEVER!)

Again, I go back to happy thoughts..

… Angelo’s giggly laughter — the one that’s deep and totally amused and innocent..

pastillas.

… freshwater pearls, rose quartz and labradorite.

… going home to Manila in April.

… Ireland in June.  (I have just been told I’m going with the team heading there.. can’t wait!)

… Banana pudding.

… Mom’s macapuno or leche flan.

… Bailey’s on the rocks.

… Being with Fe.. Donna.. Gina.. Ces.. Jonathan.. Dino.. not at the same time please.

… Parrots… Chelsea… Summa… coming up for air.

… butter pecan ice cream.

… Freedoooooommmm.

Let’s stop there or I will be on an artificial high that might just make it all the more impossible for me to get any work done.

Isn’t it amazing how thinking happy and pleasant thoughts can actually lift your spirits up?  Now, if only the same things could get rid of all the things or people who bring us unhappy or negative vibes — that would be perfect.  But life isn’t perfect, is it?  Unfortunately, it is not.

But we can always choose to come up for air.  I did.  And that was fun, indeed.

Stewing

Warning: This might be a lot of whining instead of plain writing… and I know someone is snickering reading the title of this post.

My "snowmeter" is still buried in snow but I think you can see that the pavement and the street are clear -- for now.  Rain later and snow tomorrow.. Will it ever end?  Spring, where art thou? #firehydrantinthesnow #firehydrant #winter #winterinnewyork #sIt’s been a rather trying weekend, what with a document hanging over my head which, try as I might, I still failed to finish.  BFF Fe tells me I should unleash the legalese and stop trying to be too polite.  While trying to be polite took a lot of effort, trying to be the opposite, took even more.  So I hit “save” and put it away.  I can write spontaneously most of the time — but this is something that just stumps me.  Fortunately, I don’t have a hard deadline to meet.  Even without a “must be done by” date, I am still trying to get it off my list of to-dos because other more important events are tacked on to it.  I racked my brains and I pushed hard.  I rearranged the paragraphs and kept editing.  Still not done.

I have tomorrow.  The document is stewing in my draft folder.

Meanwhile, we’re bracing for snow.  Forecast said by midnight, but it’s quiet and dry outside my window.  I’m praying the forecast is another dud — and none or very little will fall, sparing us the onslaught of more cold weather tomorrow.  I’m already feeling under the weather thanks to having braved the strip mall in Bay Terrace earlier today on a date with my favorite guy.  (How can I refuse?  Plus, I needed a quick trip to the salon for some spa services.  Done!)  I’m self medicating with antibiotics hoping it will work..

And can I just rant some more.. tried booking my trip home, but one of the two airlines — and the airline I was hoping to take based on schedule and mileage accrual for me — just wouldn’t let me make a reservation.  The website kept hanging.  Is anything every going to go right tonight?  (Or this morning, being that it’s after midnight.)

I’m praying I don’t wake up at just before 4am again — I need my sleep.  I am looking forward to a morning workout tomorrow if the weather cooperates and doesn’t hamper the commute to the city.  If I’m late, that’s that.  (Mother Nature, please pay heed..)

Well, my bed beckons.  Come to bed, sister, it says.  Good morning, New York.. safe travels tomorrow and onto Tuesday.  (Travel advisory warned unsafe road conditions from midnight tonight to Tuesday AM.. I need to go to work, please!)

Do I miss you, Manila?

Manila 2011: JeepneysLast Tuesday, I was with a friend who asked me if I missed Manila.  And my answer came without pause or thought — Yes, I do.. I do miss Manila.. a lot.  Everyone who means something to me is in Manila — well, except for my little guy who is attached to me at the hip so he is here.  But everything I love and hold dear is there.  My mom who is turning 75 this year.. my siblings.. my friends..

And I’m so happy at the thought that I will be coming home this April.  It’s a belated birthday gift to myself.. and a chance to be a principal sponsor at the wedding of one of my favorite godsons in baptism.  My first ever as Ninang, too. =)  I guess every other godchild who got married got hitched when I was already here in New York, but Anthony is one of the few I actually seek out each time I go home, so he was never more than just a thought away.  And to him, there was always my next visit to look forward to.  When I saw him in December 2013, he boldly requested if I would consider coming home for his wedding, and again, I said yes in a heartbeat.

That’s this April, and just thinking about it is making me smile.

There are a hundred and one things that I miss about my city of birth, and I thought one way of “going back” today was to share a few of them here.  Maybe in writing about it, I will at least spend a bit of time “back home” and curbing a craving for things I hold dear.

I’ve been fortunate to have a mom who is a true wiz in the kitchen, and I can’t wait to taste her Kare-kare (Oxtail peanut stew), Ginataang Alimango (Crabs in coconut milk), and Macapuno (a coconut dessert).

I miss going to church in my favorite places of worship: The Redemptorist Church in Baclaran where I used to go EVERY Wednesday for the 9-week novenas which were answered even before the 9 weeks were up; my local Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan City, and get a bunch of apa later from the vendors who ply their trade on Sundays; and Manaoag Church which I visit every time I go home, even if it’s via a 5-hour commute each way.

I miss Jollibee, ChowKing, Aristocrat, Max, Dencio’s and Gerry’s Grill.  How come it feels like writing that enumeration just made me gain a pound? LOL

I miss riding the tricycles and jeepneys.  And one thing I’m looking forward to doing is riding again with my little guy if we get to go back together in December.  It was such a thrill for him the first time when he realized the jeepneys were OPEN and had no windows!  (My boy gets carsick with the scent of enclosed vehicles, even here in New York with our buses!)

I miss Divisoria with all its textile, notions and craft stores.  I grew up going to Mom’s suki from whom we got our textiles and which were brought to the favorite designer or modista or dressmaker of the month (or season).  It is quite a trek and the experience, but once upon a time, I used to brave the place when I was doing hair accessories and selling quite a hefty bunch of them to friends.  Plus, I used to tag along when mom went around and bought various spices and ingredients from the Chinese wholesalers/retailers.

One time I went on my own looking for those wooden steamers, and I asked the salesperson in the vernacular how much it was, whereupon I chanced upon a gorgeous all-steel tea pot.  I lifted it and uttered “Too heavy.”  From thereon, our conversation went on in perfect Engish.  My trader was apparently one of those rich guys dressed for work in regular garb but who was educated in one of the exclusive universities in the city, and he somehow saw I wasn’t exactly “from here”.  That was an interesting and eye-opening experience.. and which convinced me that no matter how I dress down and wear the slightest hint of lipstick only, I will still stick out like a sore thumb in that crowd.  Still, I love swimming in that crowd of people.

I miss watching Tagalog movies on the big screen.  Here in New York I actually consider sitting down through a two-hour movie a chore and a waste of precious time.  In Manila, though, I’d love to squeeze in as many movies as I can but I never have enough time.

I miss roaming Greenhills which is the shopping center that I saw grow and change in front of my eyes through the decades.  I know I’m dating myself here again — but I’ve seen that place change with me as I grew older.  And no matter how there are bigger and posher malls now, Greenhills has a homey feeling that none of the other malls actually engender.  Perhaps it’s the size of the entire complex.. or the presence of smaller, individual stores.. and no matter how it gets as crowded as other similar places, it remains MY shopping place of choice.

I miss National Bookstore.  For those who know Staples, Barnes & Noble, OfficeMax, Papyrus and Hudson News here in the US, National Bookstore is all those stores COMBINED.  I am one of those who can literally claim to be “Laking National” or one who grew up on National Bookstore.  Whichever mall I find myself in, if there is a National Bookstore there, I MUST check it out for the goodies and postcards (of course!).

I miss Cafe Adriatico.  I haven’t been back there in the last 3-4 trips I’ve made back home but will make sure I go back this time around.  BFF Fe and I spent many ours just sitting there people watching and passing the time away.

I miss the kakanin vendors and the Jollyjeeps that are parked on the streets of Makati for lunch.  Again, something to do when I come back.. this April if not in December.

I miss hanging out in the malls, in Starbucks (which I hate doing here but don’t mind doing in Manila), and sampling the great culinary outlets that are everywhere.  Yes, there may be a ton of people just going into the malls for a whiff of the airconditioning, and yes, Starbucks there is the same as here (well, almost.. they have food offerings there that aren’t present here like their delicious tuna pandesal), but it’s the whole vibe there that’s different.  And the restaurants — I have to salute those culinary schools for the genuises they have nurtured and grown!  More!  More!!  More!!!

I miss the live band performances — wherever and whenever.  The world was so wowwed by Arnel Pineda who was a perfect replacement for Steve Perry in Journey but there are hundreds of Arnel Pinedas in the Philippines — and quite a number of them perform with world class bands who can get you dancing on your feet with their perfectly strung together music sets.

Would I consider moving back to Manila?  Yes, I would.  Sometimes I actually dream of doing that.  Yes, even if the view below is a glorious postcard view that I actually have within reach every day.

A glorious Empire State Building in the downtown cityscape

Updated: The Blogger (Yes, it’s all about ME)

Updated February 5, 2015 – 2015 has brought about a lot of changes in my life as a whole, and I feel that though I liked the perfunctory listing of things telling you about the writer behind the blog, I think it’s time to change things up a bit.

Pinay New Yorker is a mix of words pertaining to my ethnic origin which is “Pinay,” slang for FILIPINA, and the “New Yorker” bit is to identify where this Filipina currently is.  The blog has been around since 2004 (same age as my little guy) but I’ve been in New York the last 15.  And while most people consider New Jersey and Westchester part of New York City (which they are not), I do live in one of the five boroughs.

I am passionate about writing, crafts, motherhood and celebrating life.  You’ll see that in the things I write about here, and in the photos I snap up (mostly with my iPhone6) and which I post on Instagram and Flickr, and my feed on Twitter.  I have a second blog dedicated to crafting under the banner of GothamChick, which is also the name of my Etsy shop, and a third which is more of a project that will hopefully get off the ground this year, The Thank You Postcard Project.

I love the color pink (my wardrobe has enough of it to allow me to wear it everyday if I wanted to), am a self-confessed chocoholic (and my taste runs the gamut of Li-lac here in New York, Fauchon and Dalyanov in Paris to Neuhaus in Belgium, and Goya and Serg in Manila!) .  I can eat tuna sashimi as a full meal (Saisaki back home never fails me..), and miss having tapsilog without the silog (Did someone say Tapa King?).  Oh, and I also miss the fishballs on the streets of Manila.. (I just remembered how a friend asked me if I miss Manila.. and every time I remember being asked that question now, I feel something tugging at my heart.  Yes, I do… I really do miss Manila.)

I can be really bossy (being the eldest child… I am forever the “Ate” or big sister) , overly fussy and attentive (being a Mom and again being the eldest child in a brood of 4 — which is probably the reason why I always feel a need to take care of people), and always wanting to be in charge (again, being the eldest child, everyone knows my word is law… so disagreeing with me is not a wise thing to do.)  

I miss music and poetry.  I love playing musical instruments particularly the piano, and listening to music in general — and have made it my mission to find time and the resources to play the keys again — even if I don’t own a piano.  And perhaps the inspiration will come to write poetry anew.  It has been ages since I wrote anything close to prose — not since before I left home and came here to start my new life.  Perhaps that will change this year, and the words will flow again.

If you took my iphone and looked at my playlist, you will find Todd Rundgren (Can we still be friends), Robert Palmer (Can we still be friends — yes, he has his own version), Himig Heswita (.. just can’t shake the Jesuits out of my system..), Adele (To Make You Feel My Love), Keane (Somewhere Only We Know), Josh Groban (You Raise me Up), Michael Buble (Best of Me), Joss Whedon (Sigh no More from Much Ado About Nothing), Coldplay (Till Kingdom Come), Ursula 1000 (Riviera Rendezvous which you’ve heard a million times but probably don’t know that that’s the title of that catchy tune), Donna Summer (Last Dance), Minnie Ripperton (Never Existed Before), U2 (Song for Someone and that entire free album), Sam Smith (the entire IN THE LONELY HOUR ALBUM).

IN MY COLLECTION: Starbucks mugs (and Starbucks only please..), PencilsPostcards, and autographed books.

I’m the type of person who believes that it is important to be kinder to myself and take care of myself better.  I know that must sound pretty selfish and self-centered, but last year’s journey of coping and forgiveness has taught me that I need to start with myself before I can do anything for anyone around me.  Sometimes “good enough” IS “good enough”.  It does NOT always have to be “the best”.  That sometimes “okay” can actually be pretty awesome in other people’s eyes, so I shouldn’t beat myself up over not meeting my sometimes uber high standards.

While I wear my faith on my sleeve, I also believe that the universe speaks to me.  My faith and resolve have been tested many times over, and I credit my upbringing (yes, with the nuns of St. Paul and then the Jesuits later in law school) mixed with my exposure to the real world in the “real as real can be” world of the University of the Philippines during my college years for giving me the capacity to believe in the unseen and in believing beyond that.

I’ve learned to embrace the “me” I’ve become and I actually can say that I like the person I am now, both in the physical and spiritual sense.  For all the challenges that the world has thrown my way in the very recent past, I think I can confidently say I’ve emerged a better person, more in touch with who I really am and what I want in life.  And if I were introduced to “me”, I think I’d think I was pretty cool and awesome… a little cuckoo  — just crazy enough, easy to laugh and fun to be with.  Sometimes a tad too cautious and conservative, but quite surprisingly daring at times and open minded about life in general.  At times overly sensitive and quick to be hurt or get angry, and while capable of evil schemes and does have a bitchy side that surfaces when needed, the more reasonable and easy-going part of me is usually the one you’ll spend time with.  Quite the loyal friend, but once you lose that friendship, chances are, it’s lost forever.  (Yes, I hold grudges — I’m human.)

Welcome to my world — this is me… at least that part of me that I will allow the world to see.

Monday Musings: Rain + Snow =”Me not happy”

Monday Musings are snippets of what’s going on in my mind as the week begins.  It’s not meant to be a coherent post.  It’s mostly a list for my own consumption.

Yes, the snow did come!  We had snow last night and the weathermen didn’t disappoint this time.  I sense they are being modest with their forecasts because of the brouhaha over last week’s “over-forcecasting of x feet of snow”.  Really.  I can’t understand why people are complaining that we didn’t get buried in what was being broadcast as one of the worst snowstorms in New York history.  Me, I’m just grateful that it was what it was.  I got a snow day which I didn’t mind at all — even if it meant being cooped up at home.  I still don’t like the “after” — slush and ice but it warmed up quickly enough that I didn’t have to worry too much about slipping as I walked outside.

Today’s snow is mixed with rain, though, so while back home in Manila, people would think of that as something akin to the snowcone (which is like our Italian Ice here in New York), what actually happens is a sheet of ice forms being that temperatures dip mixing the ice and the rain, instead of the rain melting the snow.  Perfect equation for Dinna slipping on her way home.  (Fingers crossed!)
Snow never stopped New York City.. The lights burn bright illuminating the snow-topped buildings.  It's actually a pretty sight from my perch.  It tells me how cold it might possibly be but I'm all bundled up.  Keep warm!  #mynewyork #snowneverstoppedNYC

Creating again.  I stayed home all weekend, most of the time with my fleece blanket keeping me warm on the living room sofa.  I didn’t really nap — I think.  Not much.  I also managed to do more than just journaling — I did backgrounds.  What’s more, I created this pendant from a fancy half strand of Rose Quartz faceted nuggets, and one of five fancy cut pink quartz puffed square beads I bought ages ago for quite a price, but had no idea what I would do with it.  Angelo was amazed at what I came up with in what he thought was such a short period of time (only half the afternoon, thank you) — but the truth of it is, it took me around 4 attempts until I was happy enough not to cut the wire and disassemble the piece to try again.

I need to get used to my pliers again and find my wire.  (I only found the gauge 30 artistic wire which was too thin and I didn’t want to crochet wire this time. It took me awhile to decide between the gauge 22 and 24.  I finally settled on the latter.)

I needed the creative outlet because I was deep into a document that was being thrown back and forth, and which, for all it’s simplicity, was giving me the biggest throbbing headache I hadn’t known in more than a year.  (Yes, the ghosts of unresolved dilemmas from that far back can come back with a vengeance that not even Aleve can help me with.)  I could’ve gone on and on but Sunday afternoon saw me deciding to postpone it and give my tired mind (and heart) a break.  I wrote back that I will give a response this week.  The world will not stop turning, waiting for my reply.  I have one all written up, but it was too snarky and might muddle the peace process.

That’s when I decided I was going to make myself a Rose Quartz Pendant I’ve aptly named “Heal my Heart.”  (Note to self: post about the piece in the other blog.)
Pendant: "Heal my Heart" In Rose quartz and #pinkquartz - happy to be creating again, this time a piece to wear.  Gemstones are touted to have different properties and energy.  #RoseQuartz is touted to be both a #StoneofLove and a #HealingStone.  Large fa

I’m beginning to miss Target.  I usually go there every other week.  I’m going to miss going there for a bit because I don’t drive.  I remember Lou telling me there will always be cabs and other ways to go –if I need to go — until the little tyke is big enough to drive me.  And yes, there’s Target online, after all.  It won’t let me go through the make up and all (which is a favorite to-do.. what’s the latest shade, latest product.. let me get that one, and that one!), but when you really think about it — I can always go to the local neighborhood drugstore and pick up my stash from there — at least the ones I don’t get from the department stores.  And let’s not forget Sephora which is everywhere around me in the city.

As for Michael’s, thankfully, there’s one nearby that I can commute to.. even closer than the one in the city that is commutable from work.  I will survive.. “for as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive… ” .. Okay, enough of the singing.  The rain is bad as it is. LOL

I need to seriously diet again.  Luckily, I haven’t gained weight.  The sad thing is, I haven’t lost any beyond the half pound I gain and lose depending on how much chocolate I ate.  I have to get serious about this because the wedding is in April, and I am slated to buy my gown, in say, 6 weeks.  (I’m going to be a Ninang to the groom who is my godson in baptism.  A favorite one, at that!)

I’m so excited about this trip home for many reasons, primarily because it’s my birthday gift to myself.  (Jumping up and down for joy!)  And like Ces had told me last year, if I ever need loving, all I needed to do was go home because there was a whole lot of that back there from her and from the family.  I can’t wait.  Even if my last trip home was just December 2013, it seems like it’s been forever and a day.

But back to the weight loss saga, it’s a toss up between seriously plunging into the crash phase of The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever (again) which has worked for me (lost two sizes and its the same diet that is helping me not gain any weight..) or do this new program about doing 21-day cycles.  (Purchase plus commitment to do 30-minute workouts daily.  Might work..)

TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE: Notes, Chords and all.  Yes, I did it.  Just bought it from Music Notes today…  Then I had to think about whether or not I would transpose to a lower key which, after whispering the song in the lowest possible volume to myself in 2 keys higher than the original and one key lower, I realize is the better one to sing to —  hence, the one I should endeavor to study.  Next step, find me a rehearsal studio.  With all the crappy weather this week, I think I’ll target next week for the first hour.. or maybe this weekend.  (I  have a “ME” weekend coming up..)

Of course, I’m no Adele — but she does sing at a relatively lower key that is manageable for trying hard singers like me.  But more than just the singing, I want to PLAY the song!  Lou (from Chicago), is offering me her piano for free.  I WISH!!!!  I would gladly take that off your hands, if I could, but getting that from there to here would be such a herculean task that I will have to pass up on the offer.  (SADLY.)

First Monday of February.  Where did January go?  I’m actually grateful that the month has passed.  It makes me feel like I’m actually moving forward.  Maybe it’s just because I’m in the middle of something I’ve been told will take a tad longer than I would want to give it time to be completed.. but that is beyond my control.  The passing of the months is actually comforting, because then, the longer period of time I’ve been told to expect will be done in no time at all.  Patience, Dinna — I tell myself.  It has never been one of my stronger suits.

Compassion comes from the strangest of places.  I had a talk with a lady who, in her professional capacity, gives out compassion in buckets every single day.  I tried to be cool and collected, laughing through her inquiries, and yet trying to let her know I’m really at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do.  I spoke, she listened.  Then in a very calm way, she told me I should take care of me.

She gave me her professional opinion.  Again, I listened.  And I stood calmly, clutching my phone to my ear, and my mind to my heart.

“It is important that you take care of yourself,” she said.   Hearing that from someone I only knew professionally, somehow felt like a warm hug to the heart — on this day when I am trying to bundle up against the cold of winter, and when I am trying to find my balance as the road starts to get uneven and steep, those words came like the crutch I needed.

Time to brave the cold.  Bundle up, New York!
Snowy morning in Bryant Park.. The ground hog said six more weeks of this!  Lovely to behold but it's another thing to wade through this all layered up... Keep warm, NYC ! #groundhogdayNY #sixmoreweeksofwinter #nyc #mynewyork #manhattan #midtown #wintervi