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:

Winter2019
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

Friday5

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!
Untitled

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.

Art Journal Reboot

For starters, I managed to draw and assemble a new section avatar. Yay! And rather than aim for a masterpiece, I settled on what I came up with on the first try. I was thinking of spraying it with ink. But then I was afraid the sign pen ink would end up bleeding. I could also take a snapshot of the black and white logo and color it digitally. (just like my Friday Five logo.). Somehow I didn’t feel quite okay with that. Then I remembered my flower collage– and that was that.

Before the weekend, I started working on my first multi-page layout. But first, I finally decided I will pull together these sheets of paper I had cut out of binder dividers, assembling them into a 9×15 inch spread. I will pull sections bit by bit so I can work on the layouts without carrying the entire book with me. At the end of the year, I will bind the final project into a solid book.

I am optimistic this one will get off the ground, unlike previous attempts after I did my altered book.

So back to my multi page layout. I used a lot of multi page layered layouts in my first art journal and I really liked how those gave my art journal a two dimensional feel.

I just really love the idea that I’m finally doing another book. There were many things that I failed to do in 2018. Continuing my art journaling was one of them.

I am not an artist by any means. I am creative and crafty, but I need to watch a dozen videos teaching me how to draw and practice many hours to come up with a passable sketch. But as personal as any journal is, it’s your own art that matters. It can be stick drawings, purely collage, or a hodgepodge of pre cut or preprinted kits. If you ask me, anything beyond simply writing down a journal entry can be an art journal.

I first heard of art journaling from Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s Art Journal Everyday project many years back. (Read more about here.). Then I got into journaling swaps as well which showed me how journal prompts could help you keep writing. For the most part, I preferred to journal day to day about what was going through my head or what I was feeling in my heart at any given point in time.

I did the backgrounds ahead and worked on each layout as my entries moved on. I like that pace and hope to do the same with this one. I’m hoping it will be as fulfilling an experience working with an altered book before and shifting to a “create as you go” journal as I assemble this one along the way.

The return of the Friday Five

Friday5

Five goals. Five tasks. Five things to keep in mind this weekend. More for me than for anyone else.

It’s a really cold, cold Friday in New York with freezing temperatures greeting us this morning. I think I’m going to stay close to home and keep myself busy. Here goes..

1. Put away my christmas decor. I’ve started getting the boxes ready for my christmas balls, and I organize my christmas lights a certain way. Although i’m going to go at this solo, I don’t think it will be that hard a task.

2. Take a stab at beginning a pencil skirt. I’ve had the pattern for quite a while now, but I’m trying to determine which size to make. I hope to at least get to that this weekend.

3. Create 5 pieces for the shop and post at least 2. I have some necklaces to post but the photos are really giving me second thoughts about posting or not. I have the materials and just need to sit with my tools and my beads.

4. Cook some ox tail stew. (I am thinking Kare, but I’m not sure I have enough peanut butter.) I am being brave. I have put the meat in the fridge to defrost, and tomorrow, I will try and get it started. Or maybe Sunday.

5. I will be art journaling. So excited!

I’m trying to keep warm and beat the clock before it hits midnight. Here’s to a quiet and cozy weekend for everyone.

Monday Musings: First for the year

Monday musingsWell, I am over the moon that I am here again.. and I am on a roll!

The holidays are officially over, so I have turned off the timers and while the lights are still on the window sill and my tree is still up, they will not light up. As a Catholic Christian, the holiday season in my home ends with the feast of the Three Kings, celebrated on the first Sunday after the New Year. Beginning tonight, I will start putting away the Christmas decorations and organize them for next year. I had already gotten rid of the lights that don’t work before the holidays ended, and I did not bother taking all the balls out. I bought a new set in a nice periwinkle shade. So I have my week nights planned out, putting things away.

I am starting to read again. I just published my 19 for 2019 list and the first one on the list is my goal of reading 6 books this year. I must have started reading a total of six books (if not more) in 2018 but didn’t get to go beyond the first chapter or so, except for one. I will just pick up from where I left off and try to meet the 6 this year.

Reading has always been a form of relaxation for me, and I need the channel to unwind now more than ever. More than the intellectual stimulation, I need the chance to immerse myself in something that doesn’t stress me out. And reading has always been a refuge.

Opening a new section on the blog: New York Stories. I have always enjoyed writing about people. A long time ago, I had planned to co-write a blog with a friend featuring stories of people from different walks of life. We were both good writers and the idea was for us to alternate writing about people. It was a good idea that fizzled out, but the idea has always stayed with me.

I just want to write about ordinary people at random and tell their story as they tell it to me. There are so many interesting things we see out of the ordinary and the everyday. I have always believed that everyone has a story (or two or three) to tell. And I want to tell those stories and write them somewhere.

So to make things easier and to keep the rhythm here going, I think I’ll make it a section here in this space and maybe mirror it on a blog dedicated to it. Or not. Let’s see what happens — a story at a time.

It was a jewelry repair weekend for me. As I continue to sort my supplies and work on organizing my stocks, I took the time to repair some of the pieces I have. I started to look at new projects but later decided it was as good a time as any to actually devote time to fixing the broken pieces or just rejoin the chains that needed mending. The full post is really for the other blog, but I feel it worth mentioning here for all the effort that I put into it and how happy I am with the results. I’ve never been one to discard pieces that break and even pairs that are orphaned — there is always some use in another form somewhere.

Started the week off on a positive note. The past couple of weeks brought 2018 to a rather stressful and very challenging close for me. I have tried to cope by meditating with Headspace via its app, and that’s one thing that I’ve found effective, although I have to make a conscious effort to keep at it. I usually forego the weekends but I meditated as I woke up and just did it before getting out of bed for both Saturday and Sunday. During the workweek, I usually do it while on the bus– either heading to work or on my way home. It’s a healthy habit to try and spend that quiet time just being.

I am trying to stay positive. Sometimes, it isn’t as easy as just sulking — but then it doesn’t get me anywhere. So even if in baby steps, I am trying to move forward.

Happy Monday!