Those Unexpected Encounters

I have been blogging for 18-19 years now— having started when blogs started to blossom. I had an “online journal” before the blog and I think I managed to move some of my earlier posts to my new space. I did start on another platform, and I eventually moved a majority of my blog.com posts to WordPress when I made my home here.

Through the years, I’ve “met” people who bumped into my corner of the blogosphere and said hello. I have received countless emails from the lawyer wannabes with their questions and reactions to my posts here. (That’s the reason those posts have their own page in the navigation bar on top.). Some have since become lawyers, thanking me after many years and telling me they made it. My heart is full.

There are those whose blogs became favorite stops for me — and who, although we have not met, feel like old friends as we follow each other on social media. (Paging the Two Jeromes)

I know I’m not killing it readership-wise, but I’m happy having my space here, being able to write what I want. No pressure. Full artistic freedom. The interaction with my readers being an added and very heartwarming plus.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet some of the people who have read my blabbering here. Thrice. And I count those three readers now as friends.

The first was Jeanne who I bumped into in my then PinayFRANCOPHILE blog which no longer exists. She was a Filipina living in Paris with her son, and we managed to meet in Paris during my second visit there in 2004. We lost touch for a bit but reconnected on Instagram a few years ago and manage to take a peek into each other’s lives through our posts. (Thank you, social media!)

Second was Lou from the Midwest who used to have a blog on Multiply where I maintained a mirror site. We met each other when she visited New York, and then again when Angelo and I were in Chicago for a cousin’s wedding. She and I and have tried to keep in touch via email. I have a standing invitation to see her next time in Baguio where she now lives. Knowing how she’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from my pledge of a pilgrimage to Manaoag each time I’m in the Philippines, I can’t wait for the next time I get to fly home and maybe sit down for a quick lunch with her, even if I have a standing invitation to stay a night or two. I am aiming low to keep expectations at bay, but can’t wait.

The third is Elaine, a fellow New Yorker who I first met when she was pregnant with her first child 7 years ago, and who is a very dear friend now even if we don’t get to see each other often. She originally found me by doing a random search for Filipinos in New York — and the results point to my spot right here. (Go and try..) Sure, life does get in the way and sometimes there are long silences in between our almost everyday connecting when we do manage — but like I told her this weekend when we finally got to grab lunch and spend a few hours together, friendships take a lot of work, and I appreciate that she’s been there through all these years.

With Elaine last Friday

I don’t really think aboutwho is reading when I write the words that make up the posts I publish. I do know there is someone reading — and it’s a conversation between the writer and the reader, even if I don’t hear your reaction to the things I write. And when I do get a comment which is few and far between, I get the affirmation that there is someone out there who somehow was able to relate to what I said. And there, the conversation begins.

Those who have been reading my posts here from way back have a sense of how my life has changed through the years. I have always worked hard to be truthful and honest, without giving too much away. (You will hardly see a photo of me in my posts, for one..) As someone told me, the stories bring them “there” — wherever it is I’m at.

I am grateful for the friends I have found. From what started as just my ramblings, I have reaped the rewards of friends who have stepped out of the imaginary pages of my space here, giving more than I would have ever thought possible just by putting my thoughts and feelings into words. Unexpected encounters in a most unexpected space — for which I am eternally grateful. Who would have thought..

There are several others who had floated in and drifted away just as quietly as they walked in. Those encounters, no matter how brief, validated my presence here. Just like in real life where we meet people and see some of them leave — some for good, and some for a brief spell only to come back again, ready to give us that hug when we meet up. Those who have found my world in words here have done the same. Some continue to read no matter how far apart my posts may be, and some have moved on — and that’s okay. I enjoy and cherish what’s here now — and I am always grateful for whatever I had, but never regretting that which I don’t have anymore.

So if you have the time to send me a note, you can either leave a comment here, or drop me a line at pinaynewyorker @ gmail dot com. Let’s get a conversation going..

Monday Musings: Hopeful

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It’s a cloudy day in New York today. I’m not complaining. It makes for a cooler day which I don’t mind at all. The day went by so quickly. The speed with which it went by left me exhausted at the end of it all, and here I am.

Postcards on hold. I know. Trying to wean myself from the load of the hobby, and almost succeeding. It actually takes a bit of time to send out postcards– from picking the cards, addressing, stamping and writing on the cards themselves. I’m preparing a special set of cards to send away via an even more special route, but work and other plans today put a dampener on my plans. I need to focus more on the collection than the swaps. Over the weekend, I sorted my newly acquired vintage postcards over the last couple of weeks and I have quite a heap to work with. And if I’m to pursue my other passions, something’s got to give.

Outgoing postcards
Trying to resist the urge to crochet. I’m really trying to focus more on the sewing, and hopefully start on the jewelry again, before I pick up another crochet hook. It’s helped that the project I’m thinking of will require new yarn, and the thought of buying more yarn is a big deterrent to beginning the project. I have quite a yarn stash and I would rather start on a project that uses up what I have, than begin a new one which will require additional spending.

Gothamchick, the blog, will be back soon. I am always saddened when I see how few and far between my posts are, but heavily disappointed that I haven’t written anything on that side since December. THAT has got to change. I am almost tempted to totally reformat the space, but that has been around for quite some time. Another major project that needs tweaking.

So there’s my Monday and I can’t believe I’ve been writing as much as I have. Maybe the meditation on creativity has indeed provided a much needed push. Whatever it is that has stirred my creative juices, I do hope it keeps coming.

Monday Musings on a Wednesday: Pre-Fourth of July

Monday musings in paper and ink

The good news, its been only two weeks since I last hit “publish”. The truth is, I started drafting posts and just didn’t get the chance to actually finish writing any of them. I’m hoping to rectify that this week, but allow me to begin with my favorite way to round up the thoughts racing through my head via my Monday Musings. (This post got stuck in my drafts so I am publishing belatedly.)

Summer blooms

I’m not even going to whine about the fact that the last post was under the same banner. I’ve always meant this to be a bunch of short blurbs of what’s going on in my life on the day I write it. Recently, this seemed to be the easiest way to get around writing a post.

Early start of the day. I found myself getting out of bed at 5am today, and that’s really early for me. I’m actually heading into Manhattan today to work on-site, so I figured I have around a half hour or so to chill and try to write a post. I’m not really a morning person but I find myself waking up earlier than my alarm on the phone. Excited much? I think not. My body has always had this way of waking up just before the alarm rings — one thing I’m glad she hasn’t thrown out of whack! I still thrive in the evenings better than these early hours.

Getting ready for the Fourth of July. I’ve never really been big on this holiday except when I have guests to bring to the fireworks display or what not. This year is different, though, as I’ve been invited by some friends to go on a holiday weekend road trip. I’m pretty excited because we’re doing something I’ve never really done before. It was a rather spontaneous invitation and acceptance that just saw everything falling into place, and I am “in the zone” and all stoked about this adventure. Finally hitting one of my 21 for 2021 goals of taking a trip outside of the Tri-State area. More about this later.

So I’m getting my gear ready and researching the things I can do where I’m going. That’s 5 days of “me”..

All these birthdays. The last couple of days saw some very important birthdays coming to pass which seems to tell me that I have an affinity with folks born during this month. Best friends in Sydney and Hong Kong and some new friends make for a very busy month of greetings. I am blessed to have you all in my life, whether as the friends who warm my heart or being one of the rare people who give me the warm and fuzzies. The latter still makes me smile impishly at the thought, but these days, any reason to smile is something to be grateful for.

I’m off to an exciting week with promises of many new firsts I am looking forward to. More to come..

The 10 Day Writing Challenge – The Round up

I am proud to say that I finished the 10 Day Writing Challenge without missing a post during the period (please see links below for all the posts), and I’m actually thinking of doing something longer next time.

Yes, I wrote spontaneously — sometimes very briefly — but I wrote what came to mind or what was happening to me at that moment.  I usually found myself scampering to write before midnight, sometimes finishing the post just a few minutes after.  Surprisingly, the pressure wasn’t all that bad.  The topics weren’t difficult to find.  So I wrote on and you can see that the topics were varied, although most of them were about what I was thinking of at the moment.

There were posts where I wish I had more energy or time to write — they were like the many draft posts that never found themselves published because I just wasn’t happy with the content because I wanted to write about it more.  There were times when I got into the groove of writing, but then I lost myself somewhere and in the process, decided to hit the pause button. Not this time.

Lessons learned:

I can actually write everyday.  I just need to find the focus and deliberately set aside time to complete a post, no matter how short or how long a piece it is.

I can still write more than one post in the course of a day, but I am more productive if I focus on one until I hit “Publish”.

I should start writing early during the day instead of looking at the clock only to realize my deadline is looming overhead.  I know these aren’t my best 10 pieces, but the point was to write 10 — period.  I wanted to see if I can actually go 10 straight days writing a post here, and I did.  Some of my better pieces I did in one sitting, but without the pressure of midnight tolling.  So I still need the leeway to write and go and edit my work.   One thing I’ve learned is that that is best earlier during the day.

10 day challenge done! So what’s next? Maybe I’ll go thirty..

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Fridays be like

Slow Saturday

Getting back up on your feet again 

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

Self love

The 10-day Writing Challenge

I read somewhere that you need to write even when there is nothing to write. Or something like that.

And with how my writing has been going in stops and starts, I thought I’d set a goal of doing a 10-day writing challenge. The goal is to write and publish 10 posts here in the next 10 days. (Ambitious, right)

Not for lack of anything to do, but I know how difficult it can be to muster the words and ideas to complete a post– and how complacency can actually silence your voice. It is a high pressure goal in setting just to see if I can do it, and what will come out of it. I want to push myself to the limit and stir up my creative juices.

Writing has always been a part of who I am– be it in letters, poetry, stories or random musings here. Sometimes, even my Instagram posts have a mini essay for a caption. My pictures have stories behind them, just as they tell a story within the frame. And more often than not, there is a need to relate those stories, even if only in hashtags and blurbs that make sense only to me.

Our words paint a picture in the reader’s eyes. My words, to me, are like paintbrushes that make my thoughts, memories and ideas come to life. It is how I share a deeper part of me with you.

At first, I thought I’d list down the topics to write about, but then it occurred to me that that would curtail the attempt to let the words flow spontaneously. No rules. Just words. 10 posts in 10 days.

Here’s to 10 days of being spontaneous, and of marshaling the words to bring you into my world.

Below are the 10 posts that were published as a result of this personal challenge posed to myself:

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Fridays be like

Slow Saturday

Getting back up on your feet again

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

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..

Breaking the silence

13 August 2018 - A day of sunshine on a cloudy day..
It seems that a hundred and one things have happened since the last post dated June, and I am so mad at myself for failing miserably to get more active posting here.  The thought is always in my mind, and yet I end up wanting to kick myself awake to start posting every time I realize how I’ve fallen behind.

So I’m doing one of these quick updates and check ins or what not.  I want to get things rolling again.  Here and in my other spaces on the web which started off with such high hopes and lofty goals of blabbing away here online.  Sadly, the same pages have fallen silent for ages because life, as always, had taken me over.

Not an excuse, I know.

For starters, I’ve been happily (officially) single again for a year now.  It continues to be an adjustment, but more on the parenting side.  I was once single before I took on someone’s name and made those vows that somehow didn’t quite work for him and me.  Transitioning back to that mindset of “being just me” wasn’t difficult at all, more so because I sought it and had craved it the whole time my heart broke into a million pieces and then I pulled everything together again and healed.  It was a process, but I am happier where I am today.  (Okay, so maybe being single again made me float off into spaces that somehow made me want to wallow in the bliss of being with me, myself and I.)

I’ve been heavily investing in learning and being able to sew, but my sewing projects were put on hold when dear bro and niece arrived sometime end April.  The brother left after three weeks but my niece stayed, so it was a lot of sightseeing and doing things the New York way for another couple of weeks more, and then..

There was Manila in July.  (Another half a dozen posts on that.)

I’ve been around.. I’ve been busy.  I just haven’t been writing.

I have even slowed down big time on Instagram, but I’m trying to get posting again!  I guess you can say I’ve really slacked off and lost track of just how long I have been quiet here.  I am hoping (for the nth time) that I will be able to get going on all fronts.

Fingers crossed.

Thoughts before midnight

So it’s Friday evening and the tv clock says 11:42.  I just came from freshening up before bed and had this miserable thought hit me.  April is almost gone and my last post here was end March.  Epic fail.

Instead of dwelling on that and planning the dozen or so posts I had thought of or attempted to draft in the last four weeks, I have decided to grab my phone, click on the app, and just write a post I will publish before the clock strikes 12.  Where did the month go?  How could I have let one of the most important months of the year pass without a post?

For starters, the Pinay New Yorker is now 51.  My golden year has ended and ushered in the next one with quite a parade of small celebrations, notably the distribution of the so-called #GiftOf50.  I think I made a lot of people smile, accomplishing the goal I had in mind at the start, which is to spread some positive vibes.  People asked me why, and I simply said it felt good knowing people smiled with those little gestures.  Whether or not they were friends or acquaintances, they smiled when they thought of me — offsetting the negative thoughts of those who harbored ill will towards me in some shape or form.  Happiness is contagious and it’s one contagion I don’t mind spreading around.  I’m one VERY happy 51-year-old.  L

But my life is still in a state of semi suspended animation.  I am frozen that I am not.  I feel as thought I am moving in micro millimeters, but I know I am moving.  I continue to remind myself that the world will not stop turning if I cannot keep up, but no one said that I should get ahead of it.  I am catching up slowly but surely.  I just have to accept the fact that I am still in a bit of a struggle to keep pace. 

The important thing is that I know I am in a good place.  Yes, even if there are days when I have to stop a while, gather my thoughts and recalibrate. The point is to be able to pick myself up, catch my breath, and then move along.  Practice helped.  It is true that once you get the hang of it and keep doing something, it becomes an automatic reaction or a reflex.  We fall, and then we get back up on our feet again.

One of the remarkable discoveries I have made this month is that my life had stopped  when the rug was pulled from under me, and I chose to forget large chunks of my life I am only now going back to.  I recently participated in a church bazaar in my parish and pulled out my craft pop up store gear from the attic.  I had made pieces for the last bazaar or “tiangge” I had joined and had packed those away for the next one or to post in the shop.  Then I forgot about them.  Seeing them and remembering the pieces I had created not too long ago has revived my shop and my desire to keep the shop going.  And there were two sales in two weeks.. I took that as a sign.

I am good.  I have just been overwhelmed by life in general, but I am here.. happy at 51.. happy to be 51.

Monday Musing – Back!

MondayMusingsLogoA full week of silence is not only unacceptable but sad.  I have been trying very hard to be consistent with posting here, but juggling two corners of the web has been a bit of a struggle along with my attempts to keep two Etsy shops going.  I am giving it the effort to get back into a workable rhythm that will allow me to work all this multi-tasking seamlessly, but I haven’t quite settled into it just yet.  Trying.

They said when you don’t know what to write, it helps to revisit old habits and one of the things I’ve missed doing is writing under this banner, and to think it’s one of the easiest things to write about because it is a hodge podge of topics popping in my head as I write.  Anything goes, so they say.

UntitledThe return to Etsy.  So in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been busy setting up the return of two of my stores.  One has been my longstanding jewelry storefront, and the other, a fleeting foray into paper goods which I am now populating with handmade cards.  That’s GothamChick and PaperKrafts, respectively.

It isn’t all that difficult bringing GothamChick back up and running — primarily because I have the stocks to populate the store with.  PaperKrafts has me creating and posting simultaneously, and while it’s sometimes a mad rush to produce the items, photograph, edit and post, I’m enjoying putting out my handcrafted cards out there for people to hopefully buy and use.  It has also allowed me to revisit and use long forgotten art supplies I’ve had all this time, along with my Paper Flower Garden project I have been just drawing and cutting the last couple of months.

Coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  I’m happy and at the same time a bit frazzled by the fact that we are now entering the last quarter of the year.  2017 is just around the corner, and there are three major holidays coming up.

Halloween basically still figures as “major” because the boy is only 12 (and still thinking about a costume) and I live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is taken seriously.  Last year, I wore a costume and managed to surprise myself and not just a few trick-or-treaters with what I came up with, and I had vowed to do a costume this year.  After much thought, I think I’ve come up with something acceptable and I really should get started on pulling it together soon.  (Blog post coming.)

Thanksgiving is an “evolving” holiday for my boy and I, given that we are in the midst of a major transition in our lives.  I’m trying to make it low key given that, but it doesn’t mean we will not celebrate.  “How” is the bigger question — but there’s time to figure that one out.

And finally my favorite holiday of the year is coming, and again, during a major transition.  Last year, I promised Angelo we will really decorate this time, and I’m beginning to feel the pressure right now, but this should be a breeze.  I’m all excited just thinking about it!

Those Mondays that make you wish there was a third day to the weekend.  I almost didn’t want to get up until I remembered it was a work day, and I had promised myself I will try to make it to work early.  (Which, of course, didn’t happen despite my best efforts.)  The past week has been a tough one to handle in many respects, and I am really putting in the effort to try and take things as they come, without letting them weigh me down.

So I’m making a major push to get motivated and stay motivated so that I don’t lose my way.

There are just so many things going on in the background and I am trying to stay positive by shutting out the negative or the unknown.  It isn’t easy.  I think it’s human nature to worry and give in to anxiety — even if neither one actually helps us in any way.

Again, trying.

 

 

Back to Monday Musings (on a Tuesday)

MondayMusingsLogoIt’s a tad frustrating to see that my last post here was mid May and we are getting on with June.  I had unsuccessfully tried to begin half a dozen posts, but no luck.  Rather than write a full post on any given topic or blog prompt, I thought going back to the bullet style update I do under this banner would help me get things rolling.  

What have I been up to?

Summer’s on!  It feels as though we skipped spring altogether and jumped head on into summer!  Is that spring being short or summer coming early?  It’s a little tricky deciding but our days are definitely hotter, and the preview of the heat coming our way is making me wish for fall.  Lighter clothes, less layers — yes!  But then I remember Summer’s past when I had to be creative with commuting to work– I literally had to don something else to brave the heat with and change to more appropriate work clothes when I got there!  Hopefully not again…

There’s a lot of fun summer trends making a come back like off shoulder tops and flowing skirts.  I’m excited because of my newfound sewing skills which I am trying to convert into something I can wear.  I’ll delve into that in more detail in my craft blog, but yes, I’m going to fearlessly declare that I hope to make my own clothes!

Vacation plans brewing.  I am getting ready for a trip the second half of June, but I’d rather write about that while it’s happening or maybe after.  I’m excited for many reasons, but principally because this is the first vacation I’m planning for just myself.  It’s doubly exciting because I’m meeting up with BFF Donna who will be there with her family.

One of my oldest friends from way back when, we only get to meet up when she brings her brood here to New York.  This time, we’re heading closer to her Down Under to get some sun!

I have been putting together my gear the last couple of weeks and have started packing.  Two weeks to go and I’m off!  Blog post coming on what I’m packing and bringing with me.

And of course, I’m still trying to decide when I should actually fly to Manila.  The trips are a little easier and more difficult to do these days now.  Angelo is bigger and is actually a better travel companion, but then adjusting the vacation to his summer schedule can be a bit heavy on the pocket as it’s peak season on our side of the world.  Still, we take into consideration his request to be able to stay in Manila longer so he can immerse himself in the culture, and more importantly, to get to spend time with family on both sides while there.

Make up happy.  I’ve actually avoided writing about this because I hate posting pictures of myself here.  But one thing I will always be is a make up junkie — something I have been since my teens.   My dream as one is to actually be able to sit in Juan Sarte’s make up chair and see myself magically transformed.  The story behind why Juan Sarte is actually rather long and personal, but his artistry should suffice as an explanation.  I would love to be his apprentice if I had the opportunity or luxury but I’d probably have to fall in line behind hundreds of other aspirants.

I’ve been experimenting with lip paint and just found a drugstore brand that compares to the fancier and pricier ones.  (Again, blog post coming.)

At 50 and as an Asian, I get so wowed by the fierce and bold reds and pinks I see in the streets of New York, but I am cautious about the colors I wear.  It’s very tricky when you take into account that the colors you wear should agree with your skin tone, and now at 50, your age, so much so that you just have to be discriminating in what you pick.

But make up has always been a source of joy.  You won’t believe how a quick run through the make up counters back home used to make me giddy happy.  These days, it’s as simple as checking out what’s on sale, and patiently running between the samplers and the make up cleansers in ever busy Sephora.

Sew excited!  Pun intended.  So I wrapped up the 6-week beginner sewing class over at Mood Fabrics’ MoodUniversity.  The next set of classes begin next weekend (June 13 for the Adult Advanced Sewing class), but I am going to have to postpone to the fall due to vacation plans.  And yet I’m all gungho about attempting some sewing for me to wear (yes!) this summer and fall.

More on that on the craft blog!

Legal Eaglets in waiting.  Happiness is completing a blog post here — finally!  Goal for the week: two more posts.  Let’s see where that goes.  I owe two of my 39 readers a reply after I got some very touching feedback via email (pinaynewyorker at gmail dot com) and each one deserves its own post.  Hoping.