Friday Five: Second go

The idea is to list five doable tasks for the weekend or even the week to focus on.  I usually begin with an update on the previous week and then start a new list.

1.  Finish my papercrafts. – Managed to actually do this and although I wasn’t able to create as many invitations, I did manage to create enough to send off.

2.  Create one jewelry piece. – Got too busy buying ribbons!

3.  Start sorting the things making its way to Manila. – Off the list!

4.  Pull all my new magazines together into one pile. – Not quite!

5.  Choose my gown. – Ordered a couple and will decide once fitted in front of my personal stylist, Elaine.

My current Friday Five:

1.  Sympathy cards.

2.  Start writing cards meant to be given to friends in Manila — when I get to Manila.

3.  Sort the magazines.

4.  Check out the chocolate melts for the wedding.

5.  Start packing.

Easy enough.  Let’s see how this one goes.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Monday Musings: “Where did that other sock go?”, French Onion Soup and other tidbits

MondayMusingsLogoI had promised myself I would try to turn in early today, but just as I was about to call it a night, I found myself drawn to my laptop to attempt a last minute post that I hope will be published Monday.  (There’s a way around that..)

I had started it on the way home earlier but as always, a hundred and one things got in the way.  This is supposed to be a hodgepodge of thoughts that I try to pull together most Mondays.  There are times when I succeed in actually starting the post even before Monday hits, but this weekend was pretty busy and today was particularly chaotic.  I just hope things eventually ease up midweek on.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will not be as brutal.  This is not meant to be a coherent post — more like an enumeration of shot quips.  Be warned, though, that brevity is not one of my stronger suits.

“Where did the other sock go?”  Don’t you just hate it when you find yourself puzzled as to where half of a pair of socks suddenly goes missing?  I probably have like a a whole shoe box (if not more) of them tucked under my bed, because I just can’t throw them away as I constantly hope to find the missing half.  Maybe someone picked them up by accident?  Maybe I missed the hamper when I took them off and the other half landed somewhere else?  Maybe it’s true that the laundromat actually “eats” socks.. but almost always, just half of a pair and never both!

I’m loving French Onion Soup these days.  Blame it on Maison Kayser.  I’ve been there at least once a week, and usually to have a bowl of their French Onion Soup.  We have one close by on 40th between Fifth and Sixth Avenues by Bryant Park, so if you’re in the neighborhood, go try it.  I heard, though, that the Tuna Nicoise wasn’t all that fantastic.

The BESt French Onion Soup EVER from Maison Kayser on 40th between 5th and Avenue of the Americas.. And Franck took very good care of us, too!  #withPeterO #maisonkayser #frenchonionsoup #bestfrenchonionsoupever #foodtrip #foodporn #gastronomictreat #manh Snow on the first day of spring.  I found myself visiting a friend somewhere around Central Park West last Friday and finally fulfilled my wish to photograph Central Park in the midst of a snowstorm.  It was just totally awesome to be there, umbrella in hand, trying to keep the huge flakes from hitting me, and snapping away on my iPhone.  I managed to grab quite a few shots in the midst of it all and even that, in itself, was quite the experience.  I would’ve gotten further into the park, but it so happened I was wearing the wrong boots and just couldn’t risk getting all wet and soggy, or worse, slipping in the snow.  Sometimes I just get lucky.. like Friday.  I will post a photo essay on the photographs I managed to snap up — soon.

#CentralParkWest : I would've walked deeper into the park but the snow was falling hard and I wasn't wearing the right boots! #wintertospring #1stDayofSpring #mynyc #mynewyork #manhattan #centralpark #nofilter #aaoc #snow

And yes, Spring finally arrived!  I spent the weekend going into the city to browse some stores and try to find the elusive gown, and while New York continued to be chilly up to Monday (and tomorrow, reportedly), still, it was evident that the snowstorm of Friday didn’t quite stop Spring from finally arriving.

The snow is gone.. the air is crisper — and while we’re all tempted to dress lightly — we’re not quite there yet.

Just the other day I took a shot of this very same frame and it was snowing like there was no tomorrow.  Today was cold but the sun was out.. Couldn't be better! #Spring #SpringinNYC #BryantPark #midtown #MidtownManhattan #manhattan #mynewyork

Another week and another season begins.  I feel as though I am beginning so many new things this week, some of which started the previous week.  New resolutions, new realizations.  You come upon the not so obvious things that make such a profound impact on the way you view things when it finally hits you.

You find yourself more daring, and more easily given to taking a chance.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been through so much in the last 20 months or so that I feel I can weather most anything, at its worst, and it’s about time I reaped the rewards — if I get lucky and I end up with a win.  Sometimes, even I surprise myself.  A friend told me I was brave — I said, I think not.  I can’t explain why certain decisions I make now are the complete opposite of what is expected of me.  Maybe I’ve stopped trying to live up to expectations and instead am trying to live my life the way I want it — keeping on my journey to happy with a better focus on taking care of me.

So goes life.  Happy Monday, everyone.

#ThingsToDoIn2015: March update

Blog graphicAt the beginning of the year, I did two things in particular referencing the year just ended and the one beginning.  I went back through a list I had written in 2014, and I wrote up a new list with the hashtag title above.  I’m reproducing the list here and tallying what I have to show for the first quarter of the year.  Again, more of  a list of reminders for myself.

I just went over the list and realized that I am not doing very well in many respects with regards to following through on what I had hoped to accomplish.  I think it’s a good practice to check back periodically and see what I have actually done.

1.  Read six books (one every two months should be doable) – You’d think with the Kindle app on my phone and several books to be read sitting in my digital library, I’d have no problem saying I’m doing good by this one every two months.  Plus, I actually have a hard copy book I was hoping to read.. (Still haven’t done it, though.)  Reminder to self: READ.

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California. – This one’s going to take some planning.. it might happen in May (there’s a Paulinian gathering in Virginia), or maybe not.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.) – This one, I have an excuse for.  I have to follow the craft fair schedule.  While there was one nearby, weekends are not that easy to pull off at this point.

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (A request that was made just today and which Mommy committed to make happen.. note to self: buy tickets early!) – This one, I have until October to fulfill!

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.) –  Next term.

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. MAYBE day after my birthday. – Well, I was vacillating between buying tickets and not, basically because I didn’t know if I would go alone or take someone, and if I did, who I was taking.  When I finally decided I would buy the tickets anyway and just decide on who to take later, the date was sold out.  So that’ll have to wait for later in the year.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  (Yes, it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from where I work and I didn’t watch any last year.) – This one, I will do after I return from Manila.

8.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) – Uhm.. pass.

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!) – This is turning out to be more difficult as I have plateaued seriously.  I have been trying to break it, but the struggle has been more not to gain any more pounds.

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.) – This, I’m proud to say, I’ve been very good with.  In fact, I’ve been thinking of doing a separate post just to tally what has been uploaded so far.

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – Last weekend, I printed off the music sheet I got, bound it for easy skimming through on the piano and planned, although not seriously, to go into a rehearsal studio in the city.  But there was the gown.  So instead, I spent a good part of over an hour in a fitting room, trying to find my right size and fit.  So no rehearsal studio.

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own,just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..) – While this has taken effort, I have managed to do this by spending one Saturday meeting a friend in the city, and the last two Saturdays doing personal errands I would otherwise normally rush through on a week day.  Again, I owe posts to chronicle these, but will get down to doing that starting this weekend.

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. – Soon.

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month. – I have been good with the “give away” part, but have been slow on the 5.  But since I just sent back a balikbayan box with old clothes and other things for destashing two weeks ago, I guess I’m good?  I should document it, though.  Just to make sure I’m keeping with the goal.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month. – Proud to say this one, I’ve been good with.

Two posts in one day.. wow.. and I have a third brewing in my head.  Friday is proving to be quite a productive one, even with the snow we’re reportedly getting later in the day.  Bundle up, New York!

Friday Five: One More Try

The idea is to list five doable tasks for the weekend or even the week to focus on.  I’ve been trying to do this but have slacked off the past couple of months.  I thought I’d give it another try.

1.  Finish my papercrafts.

2.  Create one jewelry piece.

3.  Start sorting the things making its way to Manila.

4.  Pull all my new magazines together into one pile.

5.  Choose my gown.

Easy enough.  Let’s see how this one goes.  Happy Friday, everyone!

And the sun will shine again

#Sunset over #Manhattan -- sometimes I get lucky.. I've fallen in and out of love with this city and have fallen back in love with it again.  I'm here to stay.  This is where my #JourneyToHappy is taking place.. Getting there, holding my little guy's hand

Sundays usually find me thinking back to a weekend I wish wouldn’t end.  But this time, I’m actually looking forward to Monday.  I had started this post while sitting over my ribeye steak dinner and then had to stop after one paragraph to tend to my number one customer at home who was busy doing his homework.

Weekends should be three days, I always say — and the week, 6.  Ha!  =)  I can’t wait for Monday.. and yet I know I’ll be hitting the ground running at work, and there will be a thousand and one things to juggle.  I’ll live — and I’ll do it all with the Monday optimism that I try to infuse the day to help me get going.  (I have to have something beyond the caffeine!)  But I’m getting ahead of myself..

The weekend was productive, indeed.  Didn’t quite get the gown but got to fit a bunch (6 in all!) and found one but they didn’t have the right size.  The good news is that yes, I lost a size (Confirmed!) and maybe I might make it to the lower size yet.  (Ha!  Optimism…)

Everything went well including another Saturday trip to the city beyond the gown search.  I ate at the counter and sat next to these nice young men who ooohed and aahhhed my burger and shakes — and then I finally went back to Envelopper NYC in Chelsea to get some invitation supplies.  (Work in progress.)

All this, though, didn’t eclipse the sad news I got our Friday evening, that a high school batchmate and fellow Paulinian, Liezl Martine had passed away after losing her battle with cancer after 7 years.  That was a battle well fought by one of the sweetest persons I know.  And I’m not saying that just because she is a celebrity — she’s one who was but never acted like one, even back then when everyone looked at her with such awe and adulation because of her famous parents and her career as a child actress.  We weren’t close — but I know she’s one person who, if I saw her walking a distance away, would not pretend she doesn’t remember who I am.

I am actually closer to Arlene, her cousin, who was a Paulinian from her grade school days.  I remember a few trips home ago, I had actually asked for Liezl’s home address to send her something, but I wasn’t able to — Arlene’s message back was that I should go and see her.  I never did.  I did revel in the positive updates via Facebook.  She shared her cheery countenance every moment she could, savoring life and doing everything she could to live it to the fullest.

That was a tall order considering she had traveled the world over so many times — for the most part, it was going back to places she liked.  This was one person who could truly speak with authority if and when you asked her a question about some famous exotic travel destination because she’s the one who’s been there, done that.  But that isn’t what I envied her the most for — it was the undying love and devotion of her husband, Albert, the more famous one of the pair and yet the luckier one by all indications, having had Liezl as his better half.  And yet he returned that love with equal if not more dedication.

It brought us yet to another “life is short” moment.  Liezl was a year younger than me and she lived and cherished every day she was given, so that was yet another stark reminder that we have to live life to the fullest.. just like Liezl showed us how to.

To the Muhlach and Martinez families, my condolences.  Liezl is in a better place now.  It may seem like an endless night — but the sun will shine again.  Monday is here, it’s a fresh start.

Rest in Peace, @liezlmartinez -- to those she left behind, find comfort in these words from #colleencorahhitchcock's poem #ascension.  Liezl lives on in our hearts..


It’s the weekend yet again

My day is never complete without looking at this side of #Manhattan. #Sunset  and the #EmpireStateBuilding make for quite a #breathtaking end to my day.  Goodnight, #newyorkskyline ! #ilovetheempirestatebuilding #ilovenewyork #lookingtowardsDowntown #myny

I started writing this meaning for it to be posted Friday.   But as always, life intervened and it stayed as a draft post and Friday was done.

It’s been a rather challenging week on many fronts but I made it to the weekend, and for that, I am grateful.  I’m just glad it’s the weekend and I can actually look forward to some form of break.  And I’m hoping I’ll get to rest enough just to be able to jumpstart the coming week come Monday.

I’m actually looking forward to next week.  It seems that I’ve been waiting for so many things to come and find me, but the thing is that everything is for next week.  Patience, in relation to waiting, is not one of my stronger suits.  I hate waiting.  I hate being made to wait.  But I guess the years have helped me to get a grip on my impatience and have enabled me to coast by and handle it just a little better.

I’ve learned how to focus on other things so I don’t drive myself crazy.  And there is that realization that there are things which are just beyond my control.

Saturday, as always is a “me day”.  Haircut.  Maybe a trip to my favorite craft store.  Pick up more of this fab waterproof eyeliner I saw at the dollar store.  (Can you believe that?!)  And maybe a trip to the city to go find me a gown.

It’s raining, though.  I guess its rainboots for footwear,  an umbrella on hand.  I had spent several weekends cooped up at home, but last week, I decided I was better off outside doing things to take care of “me”.

Well, here’s to another productive weekend..

Monday Musings: of Milestones and looking ahead

It’s another Monday and while it’s warmer in New York, it was a tad wet in the morning.  The day gave in to sunshine eventually and I think Spring finally got here!

I usually write my Monday Musings Sunday evening, but the day just got away from me.  So let’s give it a try as I chase after the clock with minutes to Tuesday.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mama.. I don't normally post pictures of myself here, but this is one of those occasions I will in paying tribute to the woman who molded me into the #mother I am now.  Taken December 2013 when I was home last.  Can't wait to see youHappy Birthday, Mama!  Like I posted on Instagram, I don’t usually post pictures of myself here — even if I do have the profile pic in that corner and this corner on the other blog.  That might change in the coming months, but I still do it with a lot of reluctance.  That’s my mom and I from December 2013 when I was with her last.  It’s been more than a year, and a homecoming is overdue.

While I’m missing her birthday, I do expect to celebrate when I get there — not just her birthday but mine, my brother’s (on April 7) and my bestfriend, Jonathan (April 4), as well as my sister-in-law.  (April 18).

But today is the 75th birthday of my beloved Mom.. to her I owe much of who I am today.  She continues to be a pillar of strength for me not just as  a daughter, but more importantly, as a mother.  I can only pray for more years with her — more so at this time when I need my mother’s loving care.  Even when she had reason to judge, she withheld judgment and simply told me the decision was mine to make.  And time and again, she has reminded me, I always have a place at her table, a room in her home, wherever that may be.  I love you, Mama.

Can’t wait to see you in just a few weeks and truly celebrate this milestone with the rest of your brood.

And speaking of birthdays..

I’m preparing for a better and happier birthday celebration as the Pinay New Yorker turns 49 in a couple of days.  Yes, I’m old.  But I’m happy I’m where I am right now.  I know it’s taking a step backwards saying last year was the worst birthday ever and anything a notch above would be a whole lot better — but I’m looking forward to nicer things and a better celebration this year.  Even if it means celebrating it with me, myself and I.

I’m busy picking a gift to myself.  Nothing fancy.  Just a little perk that will help make the day special.  I would’ve loved to watch Billy Joel on April 3, but like I had written, tickets ran out!  I’ve been making do with blasting his music on my iPhone instead.  (Not quite as good, but it IS still him singing.

I haven’t quite planned the day yet — I have to be at work — but it will be a birthday week yet.

Spring is finally here.  Just when I was about ready to get more of my winter coats cleaned — not to be put away but for extended use — we got a pretty nice day that seemed to give a good preview of spring being just around the corner.  I’m not holding my breath about winter finally going, though.  There were winters when the bigger storms still hit us in April.  Hopefully not.

#thankYOU .. For joining me on my journey to "happy".  #JourneyToHappy #thankful #newsensation #grateful #countingmyblessings #movingonAnd the Project might finally get off the ground.  It’s been stalled by life in general (and that thing called “work”).. I’ve been working on my pieced flowers again and hope to start with the actual postcards when I get back from Manila in May.

I’ve been focusing on this “Journey to Happy” which I’ve referenced in many of the projects I’m doing or have done, as well as my web presence.  It’s a reminder to myself to keep going and to keep doing things to finally bring me to that state of “Happy.”

Here’s to a great week ahead with a little bit of rain but warmer temperatures.  Another year for my mom — and a productive week for us all.

And so it goes

I have always been a big fan of Billy Joel’s.  I had resisted buying any music on iTunes of his for the longest time because I had his CDs.  I never got around to ripping the music to the right format, though.  Then before the weekend, I discovered that he had a version of my current personal anthem, “To Make You Feel My Love” and there was no stopping me from getting Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of his Greatest Hits.

I’m still missing “It’s Just a Fantasy,” and probably a couple more from the older albums.  No rush.  I’ve been listening to the song of the same title of this post “And so it goes “, over and over again.  It was never really a personal favorite like “Lullabye”, “All About Soul” and “Uptown Girl” — not until now.

I guess the songs we listen to hit us differently depending on the particular time in our lives that we listen to it.  I had heard the song before.  It just didn’t resonate with me.  Until this weekend.  I have missed you, Billy Joel.  I’m still hoping I can catch your series over at Madison Square Garden.. maybe latter part of the year.  I am hopeful.  I wanted to watch the April 3 show and had looked it up early enough but hesitated to purchase the tickets.  Well, I really didn’t have any idea who I’d ask to go with me and I didn’t want to go alone!  Then I finally decided I would just buy a second ticket and decide closer to the date, and then the tickets were sold out.  Message from the universe: wait a while longer.  So maybe in the summer or fall?  Even if I have to go by myself.

“In every heart there is a room,
a sanctuary safe and strong.
To heal the wounds
from lovers past,
until a new one comes along..”

Here’s to another week ahead.. and spring…

We each have our challenges.. but we also have our share of blessings.  Reasons to smile and be hopeful.. people who help us go through the most difficult times with a sense of purpose.  I choose to focus on the things I ought to be thankful for.. like those who have taken my hand and joined me in my journey to “happy”.  Let’s.

And so the snow came…

And the white stuff keeps falling.. At its prettiest before everything turns horribly cold.  For all the griping we do against it, #snow is one of Mother Nature's breathtaking gifts to us if we only stop a while to see the beauty in it. #snowfall #onmywayYesterday was one of those days that made me pine for Manila.  Trudging through the snow in the morning and literally climbing in and out of it on the way home is one of the things I hate most about winter.  And forget having to worry about stepping on freshly plowed snow or snow that had turned to ice, and it’s one treacherous walk.

It is a pretty sight as it falls and starts blanketing the surroundings.  But pretty, like in real life, fades eventually.  Slush and ice, not necessarily in that order, often supersede the vision it started out as Mother Nature takes over.

So it’s another Friday –can you believe that?  And we’re into March.  That’s  quarter of the year passing us by.  I’m not even going to ask where it went.  I’m at that point in my life when I actually appreciate the passing of time instead of trying to fight it.  Maybe it’s me mellowing down.
The New York Public Library under half a day's worth of #snow and it's still falling. #CantWaitForSpring to get here. #NYPs #manhattan #mynyc #mynewyork #winter #winterinnewyork #cold #snowstillfalling #midtown #bryantparkOne of the departments under my boss has gathered its global heads and is holding an offsite in the city.  The boss made a joke about what they’re doing in New York during this unfortunate time — but the truth was, more than half of them couldn’t be happier to be here right now because they have never experienced snow like this in their respective countries.  Like us in Manila.  It can be such a thrilling experience to be in a snowstorm the first time, watching and feeling the snowflakes fall and watching it accumulate around you.  A typical New Yorker would probably not find that experience as awesome, but to those in countries where snow doesn’t even exist, it can be the experience of a lifetime to watch that for the first time.  Well, they got their fill.  We got a LOT of snow.
Ice and snow laden pine needles after the snowstorm.  Pretty in the cold.  Trying to see the positive in all of this.  #winter #winterinnewyork #iceandsnow #onmywayhome

We’re also springing forward this weekend, and we will now be effectively 12 hours, instead of 13 hours, behind Manila now.  That means the longer days will be upon us soon — and I can only wish that spring can finally come and be truly present.

I’m trying not to get too excited about April.  Last year, it was one of the worst times I’ve ever seen of the month, and I’m determined to make things better this year, even if by my own efforts alone.  It means pushing down expectations, and making the “good” happen instead of waiting for it to happen.  I’m turning 49, can you believe that? =)  Not quite the big five-oh yet, but getting there..   And while I thought years ago that it would be something I would dread, I’m actually looking forward to it.  Life has a funny way of mellowing one out (or driving one to panic — depending on how you look at the passage of time), and I like where it’s taken me this past six months or so.

It is true that things did get better.  You know how you hate it when in the midst of all the turmoil, the bearers of cheer and good tidings keep harping on how things will get better?  I’m way past that now and actually nodding my head in agreement.  I’m not quite over the worst, but I think I’m in a much, much better place today compared to a year ago.

I have much to be thankful for.  Yes, despite all these winter blues. =)  Like this.
Looking eastward: my midtown cityscape glows as the snow threatens to fall from the skies. Gorgeous nightscape.. Can't believe I almost said goodbye to all these once upon a time.  I'm here to stay.. #midtown #midtowneast #mynyc #mynewyork #cityscape #man

It is a beautiful city, and it has been a part of my life for a good third of my existence now.  It’s brought me my greatest joys and biggest heartaches.  I used to think about leaving — for good.  But I think I’ve settled down to the idea that I am here to stay.  My little boy is turning 11 this May — I have a long ways to go before I can think of going some place else.  Though I try to fight it, I have to keep reminding myself that he IS an American.  This is his world, and this is where he wants to be.  This is where he should be.  So here is where I will stay.

I’m looking forward to a “ME” weekend.  Let’s see how that goes.. Happy Friday, everyone!


Changing tides

I’ve been cooped up in the house all weekend because I’ve been feeling under the weather.  I haven’t really had the energy to do anything much so I’ve been doing a lot of thinking,

What am I going to wear on Monday?  Very profound question and unusual considering I usually don’t plan my wardrobe ahead.  Do I wear a skirt?  Which one?  Which pair of boots?  Or do I stick with leggings given it snowed so much today?  I’m still at a loss.

Restaurant week’s still on?  A friend just mentioned it and is asking to meet up near the office to take advantage.  Why not?  Wait, I’m doing shakes for lunch.. Hmmmm.. That’ll mean a shake for dinner, I guess..

#artjournaleveryday : Everyone is allowed to change their minds.  Sometimes we have a change of heart, or we simply decide to go another way. That's how life rolls.#changeyourmind #artjournal #personalart #inkonacrylic #inkandpaper #scribbling #bloggraphiChanged your mind?  That’s a question to the universe.  It seems a lot of parts appeared to be moving in one direction last week and -are now moving in the opposite direction. You can’t fight the tide, so me, I go with the flow.  And I just listen for word in the silence.  I guess when you don’t hear the universe speak, you just brace for the worst.  Then you accept it for what it is, and you move on.

It might also just be a question waiting for an answer.