Monday Musings

MondayMusingsLogoSo much for breaking the silence as two months passed before I could return with a blog post. Determined to break the streak, I’m back with one of my staples which has me randomly ranting here and there about anything and everything under the sun. No particular theme or flow– just anything that comes to mind.

Talk about being spontaneous.

Autumn is here. Stating the obvious, I know. I love autumn– more than the colors of spring. Definitely more than the black and white of winter. I think I stepped out of the house overdressed in a winter coat. I am going to try and get off the bus with just my sweater and a wrap.. or maybe I will walk out with my coat and wear it open. The changing of the seasons always brings me more than my share of major wardrobe dilemmas. But what to do? You just go with the flow.
Manhattan at Dusk 10.25.18
Geo chunky earrings for me. I have been feverishly trying to create and at least in that respect, I’ve been rather productive. Right now, I have around 20 pieces I have worked on the past couple of days, and I’m hoping to get the write ups and photos done so I can sell them in my Etsy shop. Onyx in black and white, agates in various colors, different types of jasper and magnesite… I’ve also gotten bolder with creating single dangles instead of having a dangle dangling from a dangle.

Pending photographing this new series, I had produced (and continue to work on) earrings using ceramic beads like those shown below.

Earrings by GothamChick
Earrings by Gotham Chick / Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

I love you, Billy Joel.I finally got to watch my forever idol at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. Well worth the price and the wait! I was fortunate to have caught new dates announced in April, bought tickets and October is here — so off I went. I was just soooo happy to have finally been able to do this. For me. It was so good I’m actually thinking of watching again next year. THAT good!

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden 10.27.18
Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden on 10.27.18

Sometimes the hardest thing is to try to be consistent at life.  I try.  And so here’s one more attempt at being here more often and more consistently.

Happy Monday, everyone!

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Monday Musings: Soledad and Company

MondayMusingsLogoI’m trying to keep my momentum here, hoping to post more regularly. If the pace at which I’ve been writing is any indication, then you know that things have been going rather slowly on my end.  Not for lack of anything blogworthy to write about — I have just been feeling lethargic.  Could it be the fact that I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning most of last week?  Last night was the first straight slumber I enjoyed which saw me not wanting to get up when the alarm rang at 6am.  I was just grateful it was an uninterrupted morning slumber that saw me opening my eyes all fresh and ready to embrace the new week AFTER 5:59am!

Reading again: Soledad’s Sister by Jose “Butch” Dalisay

This is a  bit of a personal journey for me because I am actually reading a signed copy from the esteemed columnist and academician, Prof. Butch Dalisay.   (Read the Wikipedia stub about him here and the Philstar Author Archive of his column, Penman, here)  I had received this book more than 10 years ago from a friend then, but had never gotten around to reading it until now.  It should be a book I can easily finish in one sitting, but it’s a good read you want to savor and take on bit by bit, like that sinfully delicious box of chocolates that you just hope you could keep for the longest.  Funny and witty and truly Filipino, the book brings me home.  I’m still reading, so you’ll be hearing about this one again.

New discovery: Bittersweet NYC  – Who doesn’t like surprises?  A friend had gifted me a box of Diwali treats to celebrate this Indian holiday and I loved every morsel of it.  It went on my Instagram feed no less than three times, with these simple pictures of individual delicacies against a white backdrop.  Pictured here is their fairy fudge, a small square of heaven with pink glitter.  Yes, pink glitter you can eat!  If you like to indulge in not-so-sweet and not-so-ordinary but yummy treats, you should give these a try.  I will try to write more about this in my shopping blog, GothamChick Shopper, once I get that rolling.  (Nothing there yet, so don’t get too excited.)  I do get adventurous with my palate and being Filipino, we never shy away from exotic food.  This box of treats reminded me of our own delicacies back home from the many regions that make our culture so rich.  We have our kalamay and other kakanins — and this is not that much different.  One sweet surprise was the spicy chocolate truffle!  I liked the way the spicyness crept up at the end after you got to enjoy the chocolatey goodness of that one bite.  They’re based in Queens but do take orders on their website.  Not so sure that they actually have a physical shop, but they do pop-up stores in Manhattan occasionally like over the holiday of Diwali last week.

And the holidays are here!  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what I’m going to do for holiday cards.  I am starting to think of presents for my little guy and the people around me.  Not too many to give away, but I have some things I had set aside to make into present for some people who I’d like to play Santa to this year.

One thing I’m doing differently for Christmas 2015 is that I am thinking of getting a gift for myself.  We always think of the season of gift giving (be it Christmas or Hanukkah) as a time to give to others.  Have you ever thought about you deserving something, too?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I think one thing we must all do at the end of the year is to remember to take care of ourselves and cherish who we are.  What would be a nice present that would not break the bank, but would make for a meaningful holiday gift?

Lists and more lists.  I received my copy of the favorite list of dear Oprah, and I haven’t really had the chance to go through it — but who says we can’t make our own list of gifts?  (Trying not to make it too obvious that I’m thinking that would make for a good blog filler.)

Another review of my Things to do for 2015 is also in order — since the last update was August yet.  I’m almost dreading that list — because I am afraid I might not have made much progress.  From the top of my head, I know that I have to admit defeat in one or two which came and went and I missed it. (NY Comic Con 2015 for one..=(.. I know, I know..)

And never too early to start thinking of (1) The Lessons of 2015, (2) Things I want to do/accomplish before the year ends, and (3)  Things I wish I had done in 2015.  Okay, maybe not the last.  I’m not too sure that will bring me happy thoughts, but I think it’s a good way to check how one could have done things differently.

So we’re closer to the end of the year and before you know it, 2016 will be here!  This year has flown by… my boy has grown so much I am almost sure he will shoot up in the next 12-18 months and I’ll be looking up at him when I scold him.  Part of me dreads that, and part of me can’t wait.. motherhood.. !

Here’s to a blessed and fruitful week ahead.  I know mine has started off rather well, and I am not complaining despite the cold.. It’s just another New York autumn night..

Fall anew

It’s definitely autumn in New York again as the temperatures have started dipping into sweater weather.  I almost wore a coat but I’m glad I didn’t put one on, because we’re still on the cusp of saying goodbye to summer and embracing the next season of fall.

What’s more, September is quickly slipping by.  I was just writing about greeting the “ber” months, and here we go with saying goodbye to the first of the series.  Having come from a country whose seasons are divided into “wet” and “dry”, the so-called “ber” months (months ending in September) are supposed to signal the start of the colder season which isn’t really cold — just cooler.  It’s also the start of the holiday season which, in Manila, is basically Christmas for everyone.

Here in New York, September essentially signals the start of what is actually the last full season of the year: autumn or fall.  Although some people would argue that spring is the most spectacular season visually, I beg to disagree and vote for fall as the most dramatic of all.  It’s the time when Mother Nature puts on a very dramatic display of changing colors that can flit from one color to the next from day to day.  Before you know it, the trees are bare and winter is here.

School has also started.  I’m trying hard to train my new middle schooler to work on his homework more diligently and in a more organized fashion.  As a working mom, it’s hard for me to try and do this from the moment he comes home to the time I walk in the door.  We had gotten into the habit of him calling me when he walks into the house — and for a time we did homework partly by phone.  As an 11 year old now, I’m trying to train him to do his homework on his own, with me chiming in for the more complicated tasks.

I guess he is still hung over from summer.  The volume and quality of the homework is also something he is still getting used to.  Still, we have a lot he and I have to get used to from this point forward, not just because he’s advancing in school but because life, in general, is giving us more to handle.

I am trying to get my bearing straight again — and while I have made a lot of progress, I am far from getting there.  There are days when I try to tell myself I’m functioning, I’m able to get up in the morning and go to work and go through the day and go back home and be a mom.  And yet I often find myself feeling like I’m functioning at less than half my usual self.

I have at least two questions posed to me at pinaynewyorker @ gmail dot com that needs answering, and yes, I have not forgotten.  I have several projects in the works, but the only one which has really seen any progress is the afghan I’m crochetting for my new-mom friend, Laine Laine.

Over the weekend, I continued to clean out my closet, sorting out the bigger sizes.  There were several pieces I hadn’t even worn from last year, mostly because I needed to work on the pants’ cuffs, and while I thought I could make them work with a belt now that I’m almost two sizes smaller, they would’ve been too obvious as being a bigger size and not flattering to wear at all.  So off they went to the “to give away” bin.  I already organized my cardigans, sweaters and scarves.  At least I am making progress in letting go of the things I hope I will NEVER have to wear again.  Those pieces that I had a hard time parting with were easier to throw away after I put them on and saw for myself how much bigger they were now that I have lost some weight.  Someone else back home can make better use of them for sure.

I was going to write about “letting go” in a different sense, but that’s another blog post altogether.  Inspiration from one of my journal entries as I wrote one this afternoon after a long lull.  I didn’t mean to pause in the blogging this long.  I thought I was doing good — but the nine days that lapsed between this and the previous post leaves much to be desired.  I have to remind myself I’ve been trying.  And I WILL keep trying.

 

 

 

Autumn says hello

My mornings see me getting off right about here-- and at times I can't avoid the compulsion to snap a pic before heading to work.  In every season, in every kind of weather, there's always something camera-worthy here.  #bryantpark #mynyc #mynewyork #ManhThe mornings are definitely getting colder now, but I am still trying to resist the urge to take out the coats. I am trying to make do with my warm sweaters, and today when we were in the low 60s, I put on one of my fall blazers. I’m trying to hang on to the last vestiges of summer.

Don’t get me wrong.  I actually love autumn.  The changing colors and the whole dramatic reveal as Mother Nature ushers in winter is always different, but never any less awe-inspiring.  I take the most pictures in the fall, when even simple fallen leaves can provide quite a compelling subject.  Or maybe I just like taking pictures.

Things seem to be slowing down a bit as the days get shorter.  Where we used to have the sun setting at past 8pm, it can be dark much sooner now, as early as just 6pm.  Both the nights and the mornings are colder, and the whole landscape is changing.  And before you know it, the year has ended.

Yet another reminder that time goes by so fast.

I would love to do my Central Park walk this autumn again. The last time I indulged was last year, and I didn’t get to snap up that many photos because Angelo was with me.  I was busy keeping an eye on him as we made our way to his favorite portion of the park where the rocks form a natural jungle gym for the kids who live in the city.  That was difficult, and the day ended in a not so good note — but I have high hopes for this year.

I’m going back to Central Park this year — on my own — to walk the paths at leisure and take as many pictures as I want to take.  Maybe do it with one of my photo buddies like Didi.  I hope to do it more than once so I can catch the glory of the Bethesda Fountain with different angles of natural lighting, and catch the sunlight as it streams down The Mall as I search for Jim Henderson’s park bench.

I’ll keep my autumn goal to that: Two trips to Central Park.  Have to get some comfy shoes to walk in — because I wouldn’t want to do that walk wearing my high heels.

I used to walk a lot with friends just to talk.  Fe and I used to walk from Legaspi to Salcedo as I lugged my law books wearing three inch heels and dressed according to the code in law school.  In high school, I would walk around the quadrangle just talking to my old friend Lilay whom I miss.  It has been years since she passed, and I recently “met” her now grown son via e-mail — but there’s a part of me that will always remember that time we were such great friends.

15 years in New York and I have yet to fully explore the Park.  Not that I think it can be done in one season, but it would be nice to get myself walking to parts of the park I haven’t explored before instead of being confined to the usual and the familiar.  Autumn would be a great time to do that.

My Thursday felt like Friday.  We’re heading back to DC tomorrow for a wedding on Saturday.  I think the boy is more excited than the Ninong-to-be Dad and me.  I have been teasing him that I’m looking forward to dancing with him, to which he shook his head from side to side in disagreement.  I guess not.  Or he might yet indulge his favorite girl.  (He says until he finds a wife…)  Yet another precious autumn memory.

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Blooms of Summer

Saturday evening and it’s minutes to midnight (again). I’m ready to head off to la-la land and I’m looking at a rather early start tomorrow. First day of Sunday school. So I guess sleeping in is not an option. Well, I can always take a nap in the afternoon. That’s tomorrow.

I took these pictures last week as an ode to the end of summer. It’s gotten chilly and I’m getting my fabric scarves washed and ready, and I have to start prepping the fall gear. Summer over? You bet it is.

The days are shorter… the mornings are nippy. And the trees are no longer as deep a green as they are in the thick of summer.

Last blooms of summer

The work calendar also tells me that the days are moving faster now, as if we had picked up the pace and started walking briskly to the end of another year. And the “ber” months are here. In the Philippines, Christmas begins when September comes.. we have one of the longest holiday seasons in the world. But that’s looking forward to what’s yet to come… my favorite time of the year: Christmas.

Last blooms of summer

I almost hate myself for having forgotten my Auntie Lydia’s birthday. My dear, dear Auntie Lydia who was like a second mother to me. She passed over 20 years ago, but she was such a part of my life that even after all these years, I miss her dearly.

And the end of August was also my older brother’s birthday. He who is the one I never knew but whose absence in my life creates a vacuum so big that I had to steer clear of writing about him this year. July and August have been very heavy remembering emotional losses. September, I hope, will bring a renewal of spirit and hope.

Last blooms of summer

I’m trying not to stress out about the fact that the boy is asking me what we have planned tomorrow. The truth is, I don’t really have a plan. It’s just him and me for the next couple of days, including the school opening for New York on Monday.

I thought I’d avoid the stress of knowing I had to rush to work after being late by taking the mornings off. This way I can rest between the walk to and from school before heading in the opposite direction to take the bus to Manhattan.

I can’t believe he’s now entering the fourth grade. =) Typing that made me smile. My boy is another year older, and when people ask me how old he is, I proudly say “9 going on 19.” I almost don’t want to see him grow up so fast, and yet I marvel at the person he’s become.

He’s worried he might be asked to recite the Apostle’s Creed tomorrow and I had to reassure him it was just an orientation. Every possibility I had offered him doesn’t sound appealing, it seems, more so because it would mean taking the bus, local or express. I even offered him a trip to the city after we fed his grandma and then we can take a peek into our favorite museum or just see what’s happening in Manhattan. He said no. We were in Bay Terrace earlier, a shopping complex almost like Greenhills in a smaller scale, and I offered to go back there, but he said no again.

I wouldn’t mind just walking to the corner and checking out the dollar store. I have chores to finish at home.

We’ll see how our Sunday shapes up — as we start getting ready to greet Autumn and say goodbye to summer.

Deep into Autumn

Two of a kind

I started writing this post late last night and I’m by my bedside right now trying to get Angelo to get out of bed.  So while he says “Two minutes..,” I thought I’d attempt a post before all of Friday gets away from me.

I took the picture above during our Black Friday adventure in Central Park.  Most of the trees have probably shed their leaves, but as my walk down Park Avenue last Tuesday revealed, there are still trees bathed in the colors of Autumn.  It’s gotten freezing cold in New York, though, which warns of a possibly harsh winter.

My colleague in the space next to mine in the office has bought a Rayovac SP8DA Black Sportsman 8D Area Lantern with Twin Fluorescent Bulbs and a radio “for emergencies”.  She lives on the 9th floor of a high rise in the city located in an area not far from where we work which was inundated with water — something we thought we would see only in monsoon-fraught areas like back home in the Philippines.  I’m wondering if I should do the same.  We do have batteries and candles always.  I guess it wouldn’t hurt.

I had such a crazy,crazy day yesterday that I practically had no time to take a breather until I got home which wasn’t actually that late considering my usual “exit” time at the office.  Still, I had to rush to the bank and then to another place to take care of something for the family in San Juan.  It is one of those situations where I am glad I am too far away to come to my family’s defense and instead help in other ways.  Business transactions have a funny way of getting twisted into something that burdens instead of helps — but those that are on the receiving end tend not to have any option to protest when things go awry.  So we move on.

I haven’t quite put up my Christmas tree just yet but I think I’ve made major progress in cleaning up.  Between tonight and tomorrow, I think I would be able to successfully clear the space and put the tree up.  Just in the nick of time.

Meanwhile, happy Friday!