Grateful (#5ThingsToBeThankfulFor)

Long weekends get back at you the day when your week officially begins, and mine started today.  Tuesday = Monday.  Forgot to reload my metrocard so there I was fishing for coins on the bus.. solution found: paid off a fellow passenger for a swipe.  Terribly cold day in New York City, and bundling up meant I felt the heat enveloping me and I was just feeling hot.  It went to my head, and my morning got off to a rocky start.

When things aren’t turning out the way you wish they would, it’s always good to try to steer your way towards something positive.  I thought I’d start by counting my blessings today, sort of as a natural pick me up.  A second cup of coffee might not work – so I’m improvising.

Another list?  I’m trying to resist the urge but I do have my “Five Things to be Thankful for” here.  I had fun with my new app, DrawingDesk, which has been a little testy but has been a refreshing graphic application on my iPhone to help me spice things up here.  Pardon the roughness of the scribbling but I’m too cheap to spring for a stylus.  That’s my fingertip doing the writing, but I’m pretty happy with how that turned out.  (Finally settled on one that was good enough after over two dozen attempts.)

Thankful.

Gratitude is something that we very rarely indulge in – but which is something we would do well to make a habit of. (#gratitude)

Top of my head:  I’m thankful for being a “Medium” (size) now, for hot coffee that I can drink iced, for twitchy noses, a long weekend that allowed me to sleep til 9am (!) and pancake breakfasts that I missed and will begin missing again.  (Back on the diet!)

I see the sun shining brightly outside but the temperatures are unbearably cold.  Snow is forecast for the weekend, and I’m already thinking of the supplies I will need as I have no intention of heading out beyond my immediate neighborhood.  After 15 years here and seeing mild to wild winters, I am not such a fan of snow anymore.  (More so in the aftermath of a snowstorm!)

But I’m not going to start complaining now.  Trying to stay positive by basking in the feeling of being blessed.

Holiday reboot

I’ve been using the word “reboot” quite a lot lately.  Literally to refer to restarting things, do-overs, waking up.  Not too sure the latter works, but then it’s close enough.

Can you believe it’s 9 days to Christmas?  I haven’t quite finished my holiday shopping but the good thing is that I know what I want. Plus, there’s Amazon.  Can’t go wrong with that, more so if you have a 10-year-old who knows what a wishlist on the site is and how to browse for the toys he wants.  Who am I to refuse the little tyke who knows which buttons to push when he needs something from (gullible) Mama, more so when it’s an app upgrade — he calls me and asks me in the sweetest voice, “How’s my deeeeelight?”

To which I reply, “Which app is it this time and how much?”  And he would break into naughty laughter.  That laughter and voice which are music to my ears.  And I melt and relent.. always.  No matter how I try to hold out, I end up giving in.  I’m trying to practice saying no, though.

I’ve always believed that Christmas is about children, and being that I only have one, it’s all about him.  I try to be reasonable about how much I give him, though.  Fortunately, he has a sense of moderation which helps keep us both from going over the edge with these purchases.  Where other children would grab all four choices when you ask them to pick, he would thoughtfully decide and choose only one.  Picking more than that would need a lot of convincing and will again be met with much deliberation, making sure he makes the better choice.

I’m lucky in that regard.

I’m pulling a few surprises for him this Christmas, and I’m hoping I can get those presents he didn’t ask for but which I know will make his eyes light up when he unwraps it come Christmas eve.

Thinking of his excitement about the holiday keeps me on my toes and inspires me all the more to make this holiday special for him.  And making it special for him is not all that difficult, because he is so easy to please.

Last year’s holidays were saved by his cheer and his innocent joy.  I looked at him and everything was okay again, at least in that moment when I held him in my gaze, and I was reminded about how he means the world to me.  No one could ever touch me more, as the song goes.

This year, I’m doing a holiday reboot.  I didn’t come around as quickly as I had hoped to — part of me is still hung over from the darkness of 2013.  Part of me is wary to put too much effort on our celebration this year.  But it’s hard not to be affected by his cheer and enthusiasm.

I’m trying to look at the holidays with happier eyes — his eyes.  I’m trying to bring the cheer back, finding things to be merry about this holiday season.  I put up the artificial tree we’ve had from around the time he was born, and he gamely decorated it with his Dad.  He wants to put up the Christmas cards we receive on our top stairwell as we had done in previous years.  I’m trying to make it special again so I can help him make happy memories.  I want him to open his presents, and look at me with eyes beaming, and I would know I have done right by him as his “delight”, his one true love, forever his “light” and never his “dark”. I should be so lucky — but no, it isn’t luck.. the truth of it is, I have been truly blessed.

Blog graphics - my little guy and I for "Holiday Reboot"
 

Morning walk to school

It’s one of those days when I have to bring Angelo to school, and it wasn’t a bad day for a walk despite the allergens that caught up with me just as I got on the bus. That 7 minute trek is always a refreshing way to start the day, whether it’s trudging through the snow, fighting off the wind and parrying the rain or just a regular walk like today.

Sometimes it makes me wax nostalgic as I recall how different he was in previous years. How he wouldn’t let go of my hand before and how he would rather just walk beside me now. Or how we used to stop periodically so he could get a kiss from me and how he now prefers to get his kiss from mom a few feet away (the farther the better) from the school’s front door.

Our talks have changed dramatically except that our conversations are still peppered with “I love you, Mama.” No matter that he no lingers turns around to give me one last look as he goes into the school, I continue to make sure he gets inside the building before I turn and walk away.

Time flies by so fast. I count the days and see him changing day to day. I’m glad that I’m able to savor every little bit of my little guy — from his funny wit to his never-ending demonstration of affection. We celebrated his 10th birthday last week with a simple cupcake party and I recall the other years we did it. The glow on his face afterwards on the way back home was so precious — he was smiling from ear-to-ear and he said “That was a good birthday, Mama.”

I look at him as he sleeps at night and I see that everything I have done in my life is worth it as I have been rewarded with his unconditional love and devotion. This Mother’s Day he gave me a handwritten card. Among other things, the most striking thing he wrote which I hold as forever precious is “Nothing will tear us apart.”

I feel so blessed. Why am I grumbling about what pain I feel or what burden I carry? At the end of the day, it’s his love that matters, and I know I have that.

Five things to be thankful for

It’s Sunday evening and like every Sunday in my daily readings from Kerygma Family, I look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I was sort of sidelined by a bad infection which threatened to take over my immune system but I made a strong come back after resting it away at home.  No fever, but my neck ached liked crazy due to swollen lymph nodes.  I’m okay now but still exhausted — so I’m trying to take it slow.

Tonight, I’m thankful and happy about…

1.  Finally some good temperatures that are not in the teens and which actually allowed us to go out with jackets but no scarves today.  (40s!)

2.  Getting Angelo’s science project going.  (We conducted the experiment but still have halfway to go with his partner, Ryan.)

3.  Finding a ring I had misplaced.  I wear three rings daily — and I take them off when I do my chores.  One, somehow, found its way to another bin away from the two, but they’re a happy threesome again.

4.  Family lunch at Waterzooi, a place we used to visit and went back to again.  Loved their Baked French Onion Soup (upper right picture in the collage below) and shared Alan’s Paella Moules Frites (bottom pictures).  Ended up eating Angelo’s burger, but I’m not complaining.  The promise of doing things differently.. keeps me hopeful.
Food trip: Waterzooi Belgian Bistro fir lunch and Banana Nutella Crepe for snacks on Super Bowl Sunday

5. Completing my “HOPE” multi-page layout for Art Journal Every Day in my altered book.

Art Journal Every Day: Hope Multi-page Layout (pre-journaling)This one was done quicker than I had thought it would be, although I’ve had to retake the layout graphics over and over again because of changes to the drawings. The journaling pretty much stayed as is, then I had to blur them out.  I’m happy to be able to work consistently on journaling no matter how short my window to work on the pages may be.

I’m now working on another multi-page layout, “BELIEVE”, but will write a feature on “HOPE” before I post anything on any other work in progress.

Another week and another month ahead… can you believe January has ended?  And yes, we’re officially into the Year of the Horse which is my year although my element is Fire…  That only means I’m turning 48 (because I’m certainly not turning 60 YET)… another year.

Thankful and happy, and feeling blessed I am.

 

Feeling blessed

We have come upon very difficult times in this part of the world.  First there was Hurricane Sandy, and now the Nor’easter that swooped down on us last night and left another swathe of devastation.  Trees that survived the hurricane force winds of the previous week finally gave in to the tremendous weight of snow.  Like all things, there is only so much abuse and torture a living creature can take.  Eventually, no matter how strong one’s fighting spirit may be, you bend and give in.

It was  a hazardous ride home last night as the bus I rode struggled to literally plow through the snow on the road.  It would’ve been normally easier if the snow plows had done their work sooner.  After almost three hours, I finally made it home as my bus zigzagged through fallen tree limbs on the roads we passed.  I waded into almost a foot of very soft fresh fallen wet snow.  It was a lovely sight to behold as snow tends to be luminous at night — truly awesome beyond words.  But I carefully trudged through slush and snow, hoping against hope that no limbs or branches would fall on me as I made my way through.

This morning, this is what greeted me.
Snow in Bayside - 07Nov2012

With the trees still heavy with leaves that had yet to “fall”, there was quite a lot of snow that would fall like a snow shower when the winds blew.  I had no choice but to walk in the middle of the street to make it to the bus stop.

A tree in the far right corner of this courtyard (shown on the lower righthand side of the picture) that had survived through many natural onslaughts through the last 10 years finally gave in.  It wasn’t uprooted, but many of its bigger branches fell and broke off.

Snow in Bayside - 07Nov2012

It is Mother Nature asserting her power and reminding us all who is in charge.

Through it all, I feel blessed.  We have been untouched by the wrath of nature, and if at all, have only suffered through the added trouble of commuting to work through the special circumstances brought on by damage caused elsewhere.  I feel for those whose homes are gone, or who are suffering through the ravages of no heat or no power.

It helps one to put things in perspective.

Sure, I am trying to get groceries for the next couple of days, but even without that extra trip to the grocery, I’m pretty well-stocked to the weekend.  (Just that the boy has run out of his favorite snack of the moment, but he has other choices.)

We are blessed indeed.