Monday Musings (on a Tuesday): I have been a busy bee

Monday musingsI promised myself I wouldnt write about how cold it is so I will skip to what i’ve been up to. Yes, I have been busy.

Busy. Since I do have a day job, most of my waking moments have been preoccupied with a task that actually helps to pay the bills. When my focus is required, I tend to drift towards these things that actually translate into cash at some point or other, and it has been busy enough that I have gone home exhausted and sometimes I just choose to sit and rest. So things like writing tend to take a backseat. Half a dozen drafts started but none finished — and I don’t think it was for lack of trying, but rather because my brain was too tired to get anything coherent together.

Bead busy. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually been deep into organizing my craft supplies. I had hoped to start creating again for the shop, but between the mental and physical exhaustion from work, I haven’t had much of a chance to really sit and create. I do think I’m making progress. I had a tendency to separate working supplies into bins and then forget to return the left over pieces to their original trays. Then there are the bits and pieces and parts of a strand that fall out of the tray that never find their way back. So for now, I’m sorting by kind. (Glass crystals, Czech pressed glass, freshwater pearls, gemstones, metal findings.).

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I am also trying out a new way to pull the beads together, basically vine wrapping the wire to form a branch of something. I pulled it together into a brooch and I wore one last week for a test run, and I think it held up well and got a few nods. I’m getting to that point where I will be working on more pieces for the store. More to come!

Art journaling reboot. Funny how I wrote my first post today and it was about the gigantic headache I was having and mom being sick. You think of journaling in terms of profound brush strokes and big tapestries and you find yourself going back to basics. At least it’s moving.

UntitledSimple gestures that make their mark. I know it’s Valentine’s and no, this is not from an admirer or a suitor. It’s a spontaneous gesture from the boss who saw it in one of flowers shops here in Grand Central when she went for her afternoon coffee. I am grateful. I think it’s the universe speaking to me.

I had been rather restless the past couple of weeks and I have been told time and again to not stress about things. Doubts crept up and overtook me — and they were difficult to shake off. Countless questions raced through my head — many remaining unanswered. And then this.

I hear you.

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Special presents

So the presents have been sent and exchanged. What special gifts did you get?

As a Starbucks mug collector, the two new mugs that my little guy bought for me are meaningful additions that will have a special place in my collection.

I don’t normally buy mugs unless it’s a new issue or when I chance upon one in my travels, but I spied this gold printed mug at the Starbucks branch I frequent near work. For someone who once received a $200 offer for a Christmas mug I had bought ages ago, I’ve learned to watched out for special holidays issues. It was a regular New York design but in gold print. I bought one and brought it home. The barristas apologized that they didn’t have a small bag, so I had put the boxed mug in my tote and then took it out when I got home.

My little guy comes and sees the box and his face drops. He had apparently bought me one as a Christmas present after being torn between the gold printed mug and the blue “Been There” series. Long story short, I returned my purchase and kept his.

The weekend before my Christmas Eve, he was spending the weekend in Washington DC to watch an NBA game. I had specifically asked that he look and see if he can get me a mug from one of the rest stops along the way. I told him I would pay for it.

I somehow missed his call to give me a choice as there were several available. By the time I returned his call, they were back on the road and he had already gotten the mug — and he refused my offer to pay for it. He said it was another present from him. Two mugs from my baby!

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I love the stories behind my mugs, but love the mugs that come from people close to my heart all the more. It adds a special value to the addition — even if only in terms of memories and emotion. Thank you, my dear son!

Sometimes, friends or colleagues who know I collect the mugs surprise me. When people visiting from other places ask me what present or pasalubong I would prefer, I always ask for a Starbucks mug. More so from places not yet represented in my collection. Sometimes though, it’s the giver who makes the mug special, no matter that the mug is a duplicate of something I already have.

No pressure

Friday came and I was feeling the pressure to do a Friday Five post, but the evening slipped by and I was just having too much fun trying to sort and organize my beads.

Sunday evening and I realized I had a Monday Musings post to put together — and I could have — but I wanted to take it easy and enjoy what was left of my weekend. I had spent the weekend indoors, tidying up and doing chores, and binge watching some shows I hadn’t caught up since their return from the winter haitus.

No pressure.

I’ve always believed that blogging should be a relaxing and spontaneous activity. At least, it is, for ME. Maybe that’s the reason why I have failed to monetize my writing. I write when I feel like it. I didn’t get to do any of that this weekend, but I feel like I got to accomplish a lot.

So this weekend, I forgot about lists and just took care of what was to be done with the things in front of me, instead of me thinking of things to do beyond what was already there. One habit I’m trying to cultivate is dealing with the tasks I can at the very moment it occurs to me that something needs to be done. No more procrastinating and putting off things that can be done this minute. I have this tendency to put off putting away things and leaving them “for later”. They tend to be forgotten. And then they pile up or just end up lying around. I put away what I can and discarded what needed to be thrown away. Much accomplished in that respect!

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Junk mail tends to float around so nowadays, I don’t even put the mail down “for later”. I sort them as I pick them up and get rid of what I know is not essential.

My favorite part of the weekend was just catching up on my favorite TV shows and sorting my beads. I think the weekend was more productive that way.. and I know I can write when I can..

Monday Musings: A Long Weekend kind of Monday

Monday musingsIf last week was cold, today, New York is freezing! I am almost sure my favorite fountain in Bryant Park will be heavy with ice. Just when I thought this year would be warmer and easier. The morning began with single digits today and it didn’t really go up by much.

True enough, when I got to Bryant Park, this is what greeted me:

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Bryant Park, 21 January 2019

Blogging consistently. While it seems like I’ve been a Monday and Friday blogger, I think that is quite a feat considering I haven’t been writing this much for the longest time. It takes a conscious effort to begin a post — but writing has never really been an issue to me. So it’s more about making time. I am trying and happy to be at this pace, yet hoping to write more in the coming weeks.

Destash ongoing. This should really be in my next Friday Five but it’s a Monday and it’s work in progress. And my weekend is still technically on because we have a long weekend this time around. (It’s Martin Luther King Day so I got Monday off.).

I started going over my magazine pile for destashing. The first one was a Food & Wine magazine from 2003. Older than my little guy!

Now, I’m one for keeping food magazines for the recipes, and right now I just can’t part with this. So of the three I’ve gone through so far, only 1 is heading out the door. I should do better than this, I know. I am trying!!! (Does it help that I’m planning to do a second pass when the pile has dwindled?..). There is more that I need to get rid of and I have vowed to do this in earnest. The goal is to go through at least a dozen this weekend, and I’m a quarter of the way through.

Fabric haul. From time to time, I browse Craig’s list for free fabric and craft supplies listings. I will write about this another day, but I got lucky when I hit it Friday evening and saw a giveaway in Brooklyn. I emailed and got an address for a storage place.

After trying to figure out the best way to get there, I settled on uber pool and packed my expanding luggage and shopping totes. Saturday, I thought getting there at 2:55 for a 2-5:30pm slot would be plenty of time, but I arrived just as the entire haul was almost totally gone! Still, I managed to grab some nice African prints and other fabric and yarn. There were also several patterns, some uncut and complete with instructions — in total making up for the cost of the trip back and forth. I figured it was more or less the cost of a trip to Michael’s and I think I got that much and more. I am craft happy!

Fabric happy

Taking time to go to my quiet space. It seems that I am needing to reflect more and more these days, with so many things happening around me, and not happening at the same time. I know it is a time for prayer — and a time for reflection. Someone told me I’m stressing too much about so many things that I should be easier on myself. Today, I tried.

Winter Restaurant Week in NYC. Yes, it’s this week!! I will write about this more next time but this is the Branzino I had at Ortzi by Jose Garces at the Luma Hotel NYC. Definitely recommending you try this!

Restaurant week NYC, winter 2019, Ortzi by Jose Garces

It’s called LUBINA on their Restaurant Week menu ($26.00++) for a two course meal. It’s Branzino with Gigante Bean Stew, Spiced cauliflower, Hazenut sofrito and Pequillo peppers.

Am I glad I braved the cold and went to the city and had a relaxing and filling lunch. Nothing beats good food and good company. That’s another post altogether.

Here’s to a good and not so cold week ahead for all of us here on this side of the world. And a good one for the rest of you!

Friday Five: Between last week and today

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Five goals. Five tasks. Five things to keep in mind this weekend. More for me than for anyone else. First, let’s see how I did with last week’s list.

1. Put away my christmas decor. Mostly boxed and ready to store in the attic again. I did the clean up by myself so I think it was a feat to have done the clean up already.

2. Take a stab at beginning a pencil skirt. I didn’t quite get anywhere with this but I am optimistic about this coming long weekend.

3. Create 5 pieces for the shop and post at least 2. I got distracted with my attempts to do bead crochet, but I am definitely doing this within the next 48 hours.

4. Cook some ox tail stew. (I am thinking Kare, but I’m not sure I have enough peanut butter.). I did it with cream of mushroom and it was quite a success. Happy to have done this!

5. I will be art journaling. On it!
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Another Friday, another list. It’s a long weekend for us so I’m all stoked to have a restful yet productive weekend. For starters, I’m having my favorite French Onion soup at Madison Kayser. Oh, the list!

1. Start working on my pencil skirt. Pattern ready. Fabric — wait, have to choose from what I have in my stash. I’m thinking of doing a stretch top using some leftover Jersey I used for a skirt. Hmmmmm..

2. Write some letters. Actually it’s about FINISHING several letters I have stashed away in sheets I need to cut. But I have them — just need to end it!

3. Deal with this pile of magazines I mean to get rid of. I hate throwing away magazines and I wanted to browse them before throwing them away. I promise to get ride of at least a dozen, if not double that number!

4. Prepare the preloved books I will give away this coming week. I do have a more systematic destashing in my list of 19 for 2019. I really have to do this with more determination for it to become a regular thing.

5. Read. I crave to do more of this.

Hope you all stay warm this cold weekend!

The “Why” of Journaling

My journal is moving along.

I am one happy camper as far as that’s concerned. I have kept a diary and wrote long hand since I was child. Even when I first arrived here in 2000, I would write in those elegant journals – pouring my heart and soul into every word. At the same time, I was sort of writing online but in a very spontaneous way.

I still have a blank journal from years back – a holiday present from someone who used to answer to “Husband of Pinay New Yorker,” (now answers to “ex”) – I haven’t shaken off the urge to write and chronicle what happens in my life, what I feel and think about – be it in a dozen words, a picture or page after page of entries. Somehow writing those things longhand was always my preferred mode over typing, despite my typing speed of 90wpm.

Not too long ago, I discovered art journaling and that opened a new channel of expression for me. I found that I did not have to relay every single thought or feeling or memory in words– I could represent them with my own version of art.
Decorate a Journal for Swap-Bot I have always loved writing. The spoken word, to me, has always been about expression. Writing is a means of memorializing my day to day. I like that I’m able to do that with words, with color, and express so much with just one photo.. or two.

I journal like I blog– principally for my personal benefit, so that I can capture the day or a thought. Because at the end of the day, we tend to forget. During some moment in the future, remembering might actually help us.

I know that it has helped me to move forward remembering what happened so many years ago. It has helped me to reflect on how far I’ve come when I go back to those days and moments I had already forgotten. And sometimes I do need to be reminded. I need to go back to that “once upon a time” moment to remind myself to go in a certain direction to avoid the pitfalls of yesterday.

I like going back to those moments when a word or a phrase I read now brings me back to memories of “onion soup”. I like going back to both the dark and happy times because it lets me see how far I’ve come. In my weakest moments, remembering helps me to move on. During those moments of triumph, I feel grateful as I read about how I was in a very different place, not too long ago.

I journal because I want to learn from the mistakes of the past and cherish the happy times that have come after. My journals remind me I have time and again overcome, and whatever comes my way, I will be able to handle.

Why do you journal?

Related post: The “How” of Journaling

Monday Musings: Cold, cold Monday

Monday musingsWhat to do on another cold Monday. Winter has never been my favorite time of the year. I dream of spring and of summer. Okay, I’ll take fall. Then I wish I could wish winter away.

I guess not.

I am yearning for precious sleep. Sometimes I wish I could lay down in bed and just fall into a deep slumber. That has been elusive of late. No matter how exhausted I might feel, it’s as if there’s a switch in my consciousness that just won’t turn off. I did indulge with sleeping in during the weekend. It just wasn’t enough. I am hoping for a swifter transition to sleep this coming week and just wishing my mind would sync with my body pining for rest.

Trying to stay positive. I’d like to think that things are changing for the better. That no matter how challenging the past couple of weeks were, things are turning around and I’m beginning to feel my load getting lighter.

There is the laughter and the cheer and how I try to find the so-called silver lining. And the happy thoughts of bear hugs and laughter and those quiet times when so much is said even without the words.

I am just glad I am in a better place in those parts of my life that matter.

I am grateful.

There is such a fulfillment in the thought that here I am, writing again. Two posts for the day! I didn’t want to do Monday Musings tomorrow — then it will be a Tuesday something or other. I have always loved to write and have regretted not being able to do it more. It really takes a certain kind of discipline and dedication to the idea of putting words together to form a coherent thought. Or not. Just putting words together may be enough sometimes. But writing consistent and more regularly is one thing I hope to do more of this year.

Want vs. wish. Right after I typed the period, I went “hmmmmmm” in my head and thought I should write a full post on this right here, right now. But I’m kind of tired and my mind is wandering off, and I don’t want to make the mistake of insisting lest I find myself fighting to find sleep again tonight. You know how we are sometimes our own worst enemy when we end up waking ourselves up when we were almost in dreamland.

I just let out a deep sigh, thinking of this dream that I want and want so badly that I feel sad that it seems it won’t happen. I tell myself it just wasn’t meant to be. The choice is not mine to make, and if it doesn’t go my way, then I will just go about work as if the thought never even crossed my mind.

I should just be happy things have gotten better where there was chaos before. I am laughing again.

Here’s to a week of renewed bliss and hope for everyone.