Milestones and moving on

Milestones and moving on

I started writing this Saturday morning but never got to finish it until the whole day ended and moved on to Sunday.  It was a jampacked half of the weekend which didn’t turn out as bad as I was afraid it will be. My little guy just graduated from fifth grade (yay!) and had a graduation party at a bounce place.  It was quite the no-frills celebration which only required a reservation and invitations a couple of weeks ago. Unlike his first two parties at this bounce venue, I didn’t have to worry about giveaways or hitting the minimum this time around.  We hit it well before today but way after the deadline.  (Note to parents out there: Please put yourselves in the shoes of the parent waiting for you to confirm your child’s attendance.  It CAN be nerve-wracking thinking the party might turn out to be a dud so please meet the RSVP deadline promptly.)

I also had to get him ready for a long vacation in Manila.  Father and son go first and I pick him up on the tail end.  I’ve been to Manila this year so the trip isn’t really for me.  I just think it’s time we gave him what he’s always been asking for — a homework-free, longer stay with his cousins.  Forget that it isn’t summer in the Philippine right now, so they’re all going to school.  As long as he doesn’t get a homework packet like he normally does when we leave at Christmas time (because we take him out a week or so before school officially ends for the holidays), he can look forward to just bumming around and enjoying his parents’ land of birth.

He’s grown so much that I am good with having him away THAT long.  I think with all that’s been happening on this end, we can both use a little break and time to grow and shift gears.  And when he returns for middle school, we will both be ready to move on.

We’ve gone on so many trips and with only one guy tagging along, I think I’ve got packing down to a science.  The only difference is I won’t be there, but I’m not worried because after his Dad returns to New York after the first two weeks, he will be with my brother and his family, my sister and other brother and mom.  Being an only son, they are the family he looks to for his ‘brother’ and ‘sisters’.  There he is a younger sibling with an “Ate Julia” and “Kuya Angel” to two others.  (“Ate” and “Kuya” are terms of respect for older relations, the former being feminine, and the latter, masculine.)  I am hoping he can pick up some Tagalog, and I’m tasking my sister who used to be a teacher to teach him cursive.  (Don’t get me started on that one!)

Medication (mostly first aid) ready.  Ear thermometer which is as old as he is, packed with the extra plastic covers.  Ointments?  Butt cream?  (Ewe…. hey, we need to be ready for ANY eventuality..)  Wipes?  they can get them there.. Dramamine?  (His dad’s taking care of that.)  He’s refusing to bring his seasick bands which is him growing up, I guess.  (I will pack them anyway.)  Snacks?  I think I have that covered.

It doesn’t help that my little guy is the pickiest of eaters, but I’m hoping that his newfound curiosity about food will make him more adventurous.  He is asking more and more what it is that I am eating, although he isn’t quite as brave to try it as often as I wish he would.  But at least the curiosity is there.. baby steps, I tell myself.

Saying goodbye was not quite as run-of-the-mill like most of our partings.  I knew he was holding back the tears, but the big boy that he now is, he just kept the hugs short enough to make it meaningful without giving the tears a chance to make the appearance.  My boy is growing up indeed… sometimes it’s hard for a mother to keep up, but we eventually catch up.

Stories that need telling

#Imagine the #stories these #parkbenches have heard and lain witness to.. Just before the #park closed at #SaintStephensGreens in #Dublin .. #gothamchickindublin #Ireland #InThePark #workcanbefun #lovewhatyoudoI can’t believe it’s been almost 20 days since I successfully published anything here. Again, not for lack of trying. I have a draft post that started as a “Monday Musings” entry (one of those weekly habits I am trying to keep rather unsuccessfully..=(.. ) — and which is still languishing in my “draft” folder here. Anything that “old” will usually be deleted. Maybe.

Once again, life, work and everything else has taken me over.  But I’m in a very good place.  Getting to the “good place” doesn’t always entail ease, but being there is an accomplishment in itself.

So I woke up before 5am this Friday morning.  It wasn’t the sunlight because even now, the sun is still struggling to be seen beyond the clouds that are supposed to be with us all day today.  A quick scan of the weather says cloudy all day, and I’m not complaining because there’s no ‘rain’ icon in the day’s forecast.  I guess I was meant to wake up early.  I grabbed my phone, turned on the computer and here I am.

I have to try and stay on point with my lists better.  I have stopped doing the Friday Five habit only because I ended up not doing anything on that list.  (I have this blog staple where I list down five doable tasks for the weekend and the week ahead..  Maybe I should go back to that?  Maybe not.)  The idea was to keep my focus on those five simple tasks to enable me to accomplish some things during the weekend.

This is a summer of new beginnings.  I’m trying to stay positive and embrace the new with a sense of optimism.  There is a lot that I had put on hold which I need to go back to.  And there are many things which I have to tuck into my attic and list as “done” and move forward from.  It’s like going through one’s closet when you’re trying to trim down what you have.. you have decide what to keep, give away, or throw out.  (That, in itself, is already a blogpost.)

I have many stories that are waiting to be told.  (One, my accidental foray into Eataly one Sunday I went into the city for yarn.. Two, my new favorite place, Flying Tiger… and three, my recent trip to Ireland.. Four, a gnawing yearning to learn to sew — ! — .. and five, doing free form crochet .. and then six, maybe returning to my jewelry making.)

Ah… new beginnings… and also picking up from where I left off.  I wish writing here was as automatic as thinking.  With all that’s been happening in my life, it would be nice to just be able to write something spontaneously and see it published.  But there have been times when that can be difficult given all that life entails.  There are things that are too close to the heart that are difficult for me to just declare to the world with wild abandon.  (Someone used to say I blog about everything.. not true.  Spontaneity sometimes engenders a sense of openness but there are many things that I still prefer to keep tucked deep in my heart.)

Seven – I have books waiting to be read! Don’t even get me started.  Halfway through 2015, I haven’t read a single book which means I have to catch up on at least 6 quickly.  The goal was to do one a month — at least!!  I need to get that list going.  One of the things I often find myself wishing I did more of was read.  These days, though, I have been watching more movies in my spare time, going through a list of “must watch” movies recommended by a friend.  (eight)

It’s 6am and I have to get ready for work.  Curious about what I’m counting?  Blog posts / stories that are waiting to be told.  (Yet another list!)  I can hear the birds chirping happily outside, and the rest of my New York must be up and about if not waking up to this Friday morning just about now.  Time to get going.

Friends that are gold

Down in #BryantPark this lovely, lovely day.. #LookingDown from #41floorsabove .. #myNYC #mynewyork #nynewyorkcity #NewYork #NewYorkCity #manhattan #midtown #midtownNYCI am a very sociable person with a wide circle of friends.  I’m one of those people who wouldn’t be lost spending an entire day with people I have never met, because I would be comfortable among strangers.  In my almost fifty years on this planet, I have been fortunate to have found some enduring friendships that make me feel rich and wealthy in love and loyalty.

It used to feel natural — I was just friendly.  But through the years, I have come to realize that friendships take nurturing.  They take some work — not always a lot — but you have to put a conscious effort to grow the friendship.  You have to have the patience to deal with your friend’s quirks– if he or she is perpetually late, you just grin and bear it as you twiddle your thumbs in wait.  If he or she seems to have multiple personalities, you would know to take a deep breath when it’s the evil monster who takes her over and her fangs and horns appear out of nowhere.  When there is an inordinately long silence and it becomes uncomfortable and worrying, you will pick up the phone or write her an email and take the first step and pick up the conversation from the last time or start a new one.  You just can’t let it be, or that friend becomes just another one of those people who just go in and out of your life.  You just can’t leave it at that.  And if, for some reason, you don’t see eye to eye and the hurt grips your heart and you keep away, you would return in time and not let the friendship wither away.  The ones that you let go are the ones that you choose to end.

They said that true friends are those who know all your faults but love you anyway.  With all my weaknesses and shortcomings, I am blessed with some broad minded and kind people who can take me with all my charm, self-absorption and overbearing personality.  (Oh, I do have my good traits, but anyone and everyone can be good!).   I have been fortunate to have some incredible people who have seen me through my lowest of lows, and who have celebrated even just me being me with love and appreciation.  In my weakest moments, their words remind me of who I am and what I can do.  Just thinking of them brings me back to that moment when I saw myself through their eyes, and I find strength and inspiration in that..

So even when just getting together for dinner to catch up or celebrate some milestone or other takes weeks and weeks to schedule, I don’t give up.  (And who cares that my birthday was more than 2 months ago..?!!  We can still celebrate..)  There are people, and certainly friends, who are worth waiting for.  It’s all part of that emotional investment you make in a relationship — whether romantic or platonic.

I am grateful for the way people enrich my life day to day.  There are times when a simple word or act of kindness like a heartfelt “Thank you” can spell the difference between carrying me through a trying moment or simply getting me from one hug to the heart to the next.  I am even grateful for the missteps of others that have led me to bigger and better things.  When people walk away, they leave a void in our universe that someone else will fill.  Even between friends.

Even a simple question if you are well this morning can bring a smile to your face.  Small acts to let you know they are thinking of you instead of just presuming that “all is well.”

The last few months have been very revealing in showing me who my real friends are.  Sadly, some who I had thought had become lifelong friends in the last decade or so, have shown themselves to have been friends merely by association.  But that is not a total loss.  At least now, I know.

In my heart of hearts, I know, too, that not everyone is meant to stay.  There are those who will walk into our lives and move and rock our world in broad strokes and then leave — yes, sometimes, for good.  It’s just how life goes.  And when that happens, we have to learn to let go.  That had not always been easy for me, but I have come to accept that other people’s coming and going is something beyond my control.  They choose to be there or they don’t.  Knowing that, I have learned to laugh and to appreciate the times spent together — grateful for the ‘now’ — and hope for the best but not pin my hopes on tomorrow.  If I wake up tomorrow and one or the other has left, I take what they had given me to enrich my life and move on with it and I will wish them well, and I will hope that the universe brings them my way again.

And if they are meant to stay, I am grateful for the hand that holds mine as I walk in my high heels, or the strong hand that pushes me forward when I hesitate and commands me to go explore the world.  I am a better person for all the good and the bad things that have come way — and all the people who have touched my life.  Now, I no longer thihnk those who hurt me had taken something away from me — I’d like to think that the pain had made me stronger.  I have my own personal cheering squad from different corners in my own universe.  Their words of encouragement and affirmation give me a stronger armor and have brought me to where I am now.

The journey is far from over.  Even with all that I’ve gone through, I know I have far to go.  I refuse to be cowed by my own fear of what is yet to come — because I know that I don’t walk alone.  There will be hands holding mine, and other minds thinking when my brain refuses to process anything those times life overwhelms me.  I will go back to the laughter and the smiles and the sighs — and find strength in that.

I guess you can say that I view the world with a panoramic lens now.  I try to go beyond what is immediately visible in my frame, and pan from left to right, trying to capture the scenery as best as I can.  I don’t quite capture it as faithfully as I often want, but I get the bigger picture instead of just one view.  I look at every person I encounter as a new chance to learn and be enriched.  Even my mail guy who comes by jovially four times a day on my floor had his history notes to share.  If I didn’t bother to talk to him, I would’ve even have known he was a student of History.  It’s those little bits and pieces about people that we should open our ears and hearts to.  We never know what we might learn along the way, and if we keep our eyes closed, what we might be missing.

I thank those who have chosen to keep me in their stable of friends — the privilege is mine.. My life is truly better for the wisdom, love and laughter you have, and continue, to share with me.  I really, really hope you will all stay awhile until it’s time for this lady to call it a day and ride off into the sunset for good.







Home is this great city, New York

#Foggy #ChryslerBuilding this #muggyday in #NewYorkCity . Still #elegant no matter what the weather.  #nofulter #myny #mynyc #midtown #manhattan #lookingtowardstheeastside #eastside #ilovenewyork

That I live in one of the greatest cities in modern times is not lost upon me.  Every day that I head to Manhattan to start a work day, I know I’m walking amongst people who wished they lived here and breathed the air I breathe 24/7, instead of being mere tourists or visitors to the city that never sleeps.  I get it.  It IS New York.  I’ve lived here the last 15 years and it never gets tired.

#OnMyWayHome: Went a different route after spending the day with a bunch of 11-year-olds in #Manhattan today and caught this glimpse of a different side of the #manhattanSkyline. #mynewyork #sunset #NewYork ##NewYorkCity #NYC

I have been at my happiest and my lowest of lows.  And yes, I have thought of leaving this city for good many times.  It’s not that I had gotten tired of it all — there are just times when there are bad memories that make leaving such an attractive proposition.  And yet I am always drawn back — mostly because a young man I brought into this world considers this his home.  And his home is my home.  Such is the consequence of parenthood — you don’t just make decisions thinking only of what you want or of yourself.  For the last 11 years, my world has been beyond what I felt and what I thought — it involved that other tiny person for whom I made day-to-day decisions.

I used to think it would be the same for every parent.  I have realized it is not.  There are just those of us who are constituted differently.  Instead of “we”, there is only “me”.

I am brought back to my Mom’s words of wisdom.  She used to tell me I should not look for my virtues in others — we were not created equal.  If we were, I wouldn’t be better than others.  In the same token, there are many created better than myself.  Amen.

#FifthAvenue with the #EmpireStateBuilding peeking from a distance down at everyone as they started making their way home.. I was zooming by in a #schoolbus after doing #momDuty with #myLittleGuy in #manhattan. Tired but feeling all warm and fuzzy insid

I’m good with that.  I try.  I’m not the perfect parent.  I have my weaknesses and shortcomings.  But I would fight tooth and nail for this little guy who means the world to me.

He’s finishing fifth grade this school term and moving on to the bigger boy world of middle school next year.  Give it a year more and he will probably be as tall if not taller than me.  His expressions have changed and his face and gait is evolving to a soon-to-be tween.  I recently chaperoned him and his friends on a senior trip, and I marvelled at how different he is with his friends.  He seemed even more grown up and more vivacious.  In the company of these other young men, he was his own person.  I found myself feeling wistful as the reality that my little guy is growing up stared me in the face.

I should be so lucky to have this young man a part of my life.  I have been truly  blessed.  And this IS home to him.  So home to me, it IS.

The #EmpireStateBuilding #today.  #myny #mynyc #mynewyork #NYC #NewYorkCity #NewYork #manhattan #midtown #lookingtowardsdowntown

The last year has seen me planting my feet firmly where I am right now.  Not that I have stopped thinking of what life would be in other places — but I have made myself at home with the plan to stay right where I am.

And I think I’m good with that.  Perhaps it’s part of sifting through the lessons of life that I have come across.  What am I complaining about?  Others would give an arm and a leg to be where I am.  Everything is falling into place, even if they are falling in places other than where I would have wanted to if I had a say.  But come to think of it, it’s not at all that bad.  In fact, if I allow myself to step back and see the bigger picture, it’s actually just fabulous as it is.

Misty Monday

I actually have a monicker that’s shoe-related somewhere, and the number one question I get asked when people find out I’m Filipina is how many shoes I have.. I will proudly say not as many as the infamous Imelda, but just enough.  Unlike my Starbucks mugs and postcards, there’s no shoe collection to speak of.  However, I am a good shopper, so a “Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Off” deal on rain boots at a boutique near me saw me getting 2 pairs. One was a short pair, and the other the usual tall ones.

#HappyFeet this #rainy day in #NYC. #rainboots #shoelove #shoes #boots #readyfortherain #cuteshoes
I picked them in a funky floral print and a lace mock up, and I’m quite happy with my purchase.  So my feet will be well dressed and dry as the rains come.  Like today.  $42 for both and I even got a free item — I chose a pair of practical flip flops.


#FoggyNYC #nofilter #cantseeathing #mynyc #myny #NewYorkCity

Monday wasn’t meant to be a sunny day and it was obvious from the start.  It was wet outside (hence, the raingear), and temperatures have dropped yet again.  (Our heat is on, for one. =(..)  I know, I shouldn’t be complaining.  But we expect April showers and it’s June.  Almost summer, imagine?

So what do I do on days like this?  I wear my rainboots, of course.  Dress in the proper coat (pink raincoat to the rescue) and just brave the elements.  The rain was pervasive but mild.  We don’t really get mist in the Philippines.  Like I kiddingly tell the people who ask me about seasons back home, we only have the wet and dry seasons.  No spring, no fall and no winter.  It’s summer or it’s not.

Like snow, there is a certain magic to the mist.  You don’t see it but feel it falling gently on your skin.  There are times when it falls strong enough for you to feel wet enough to whip out the umbrella, but there are times when you will just let it fall and put your face up to the wind.

In a naughty mood, I had texted a friend earlier if he could make the rain stop.  His curt yet hilarious reply: “I can’t make anything happen these days.  However, I spoke briefly to the rain department who said that I should stop calling them.”  I literally laughed out loud, while on the phone, upon reading his quip.

It was misty when I stepped out for a quick coffee and hug from a dear old friend from college who popped up from Connecticut.  I suddenly get a message he was at the consulate, five blocks away.  It had been a while since we last saw each other — so I grabbed the chance to catch up.  Those chance meetings — unplanned, though they may be — turn out to be the things that make one’s day on a misty Monday like yesterday bearable.  And don’t forget about the rain department!

Tuesday sees us with similar weather, but I can hear the birds chirping outside.  That can only mean that it hasn’t been as bad.  Not quite as windy (hopefully), and maybe, the sun will wake up from it’s slumber and stretch out even for a bit.  We’re not even hitting 60 today, temperature-wise, and that IS cold.  I guess it’s a day for coats, and maybe a decent pair of warm leggings.

This is the way we live here in New York.  Makes me miss the heat and humidity that everyone hates about Manila.. If you guys only knew..