Celebrating the ones we love

I’m getting ready to turn in as I write this. It’s actually Friday evening, but technically Saturday. I’ve been writing in my head since I put the last of the dishes away to dry and I lugged my phone and iPad to my room. Refreshed and changed, I’m ready to go to sleep, but I’m afraid the words running through my head will make it difficult. So I write.

My now 16 year old had a birthday dinner for two with his favorite gal. While my ex and I had agreed to celebrate his birthday together, there was no neutral ground to celebrate in with the restaurants closed, and what’s worse, he had been battling the flu. He thankfully tested negative for corona which was a relief, because he and the son have been hanging out while he started becoming symptomatic. I couldn’t deny him that as a parent, so when I got news he was running a temperature, I was worried. A doctor visit and a subsequent ER trip after, I had to,put my foot down lest the boy catch what the father had. I was relieved when the Dad relented. They will celebrate after he recovers.

I’ve always been big on birthdays. Last year, we went to a fancy steakhouse in Manhattan. The boy knows and loves his steaks. I picked one close to the ex knowing his usual longer hours at work would mean it would be easier for us to get there from where I work, and that was convenient because he told us as we sat to dinner that there was an emergency at work and so he could only spare an hour. When we were married, that would have been cause for a discussion, but things like that remind me why we are now uncoupled.

We ordered, had our meal, was served the birthday dessert, then I told him he could go ahead. The boy wanted to stay. So my son and I stayed and enjoyed the dessert and the ambience. Even if we had already taken pictures with us three in the shot, we asked the waiter to take more of just the two of us,

In the basement where the restrooms were, there was a sitting room which lent itself to quite the backdrop for more pictures. Then we walked out together and took more pictures before we picked up our ride home.

This year, I didn’t insist on pictures. He hadn’t shaved and the hair has grown out of bounds. And he didn’t want to. I didn’t let the lockdown stop us from celebrating with a tomahawk steak dinner. The boy loves it with rice and corn on the side. I whipped up some roasted potatoes, sautéed some mushrooms in garlic and I boiled two ears of corn for me. The Pinot noir was a perfect pairing.

Before we sat down to dinner, the ex dropped off a cake. He asked that I take a video of the blowing of the candle. I told the boy to call his father so they could do the cake virtually — better than a video! I was surprised that he texted me to give his son a hug for him.

That gave me pause. It dawned on me that he was feeling the separation deeply, from my son — not from me. I found that strange. Even when we were married, he would miss the birthday celebrations in school and I would take time off to serve cake and goodie bags even if the celebrant didn’t like cake. Where I felt strongly about celebrating birthdays on the day of, he always considered celebrations fluid and not pegged on dates. So if he missed the birthday cake in school, there was the weekend to make up for it.

And remembering last year and the emergency at work that made him rush off after an hour to celebrate his son brought me back to my senses. They can celebrate when he is better. That’s how celebrations worked for him all this time.. why should this one be different.

As for me and my son, we had quite the steak treat. The tomahawk required searing, broiling in the oven and basting on the stove again — and it was worth all that and more.. the steak lover gave it his seal of approval. I will write about that more tomorrow.. my bed beckons.. and it’s Saturday..

Tomahawk steak dinner

I am tired and a bit buzzed and smiling for the memories of tonight’s birthday celebration. Despite the limitations of staying home because of he Corona virus, we managed to pull off a memorable birthday dinner to celebrate. I am grateful.

Happy birthday, dearest Angelo. I love you to the moon and back.. always, in all ways.

Monday Musings: Another Stay at home week

Monday musings in paper and inkI’ve been writing posts and they are hanging out in my drafts folder. There are so many things I want to write about but writing has been mostly in my mind — but I’m determined to get this all out here. More than a month into the stay-at-home deal, I’m still anxious about many things and now have to think about preparing for the return to work. I thought it would be a good idea to go back to something I’ve usually turned to when I’m in a writing rut — my Monday Musings which spew out blurbs and shorts of anything that comes to mind the moment I’m writing here.

Yes, we will be returning soon. Probably not until the month is out at least — So I’m thinking June. While the work-from-home situation has been a challenge, I consider it a blessing. I appreciate the fact that I still have a job and have a paycheck coming regularly, which come with the benefits and all those blessings. It’s been difficult because I don’t have the resources I have when I’m physically in the office, and I’ve had to devise new ways and means to do my work. But I have managed, and I really have no complaints. Well, maybe save for the fact that we are busy as ever, and the work from home deal hasn’t really meant less work. I am also thankful that I don’t have to worry about the commute in this kind of a situation. And when life returns to a sense of normalcy, we will adjust — we will cope.

I am already working on my personal face covering but that has been sidelined by my efforts to contribute to this Herculean task of beating the virus. We all do what we can. Still, I need to start thinking of the commute, and how we will be operating with the new safety precautions which, I am sure, we will be told and be constantly reminded about in the weeks to come.

Art on pause. For a first quarter that saw my art journal zooming into life, I have actually put the project on hold for the month of April. Not that there wasn’t anything to draw or write — I just burned out, I guess. Or maybe things just caught up with me. Or maybe I found the balance I was looking for in feverishly working on it the months before. My pages are waiting. I have the signatures all set. I have the sections figured out. I just need to pick it up again. This week, I promise.

My Art Journal: Grateful

Jewelry projects revisited. I did pick up a cab that I wanted to attempt to encase in crocheted artistic wire. I’m not quite happy with how it turned out but the attempt was a start. I am going to try to create a few pieces one of these evenings. I have tried to get on with the organizing here and there — something you’d think I’d have so much time to do. Not quite true. But the thought is there.. and in fact, I just might attempt to string some beads I am fancying and within reach here. If only there were more hours to the day.

A week of celebrations, it will be. My big guy will be 16 this Friday. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the tomahawk steak I ordered will arrive on time. He’s not one for cake but I just might bake him one. And on Sunday, it’s Mother’s Day. A whole lot of celebrating up ahead!

Congratulations are in order for the successful examinees who passed the Philippine Bar Exams of 2019. A topic near and dear to me — the feelings never gets old.. and personally, the wave of gratitude that takes me over every time as I look back to my own legal journey decades ago. (Oops.. dating myself here. LOL). But we celebrate all those victories — one of the highest, if not the highest passing rate in many years. To all those who made it, congratulations.

Let’s be kind and practice social distancing and wearing a mask. It’s the new way of saying “please” and “thank you.” With all the deaths and hardship that the whole world has witnessed in the past few months, a little kindness can go a long way.

Monday Musings: of Milestones and looking ahead

It’s another Monday and while it’s warmer in New York, it was a tad wet in the morning.  The day gave in to sunshine eventually and I think Spring finally got here!

I usually write my Monday Musings Sunday evening, but the day just got away from me.  So let’s give it a try as I chase after the clock with minutes to Tuesday.

Happy 75th Birthday, Mama.. I don't normally post pictures of myself here, but this is one of those occasions I will in paying tribute to the woman who molded me into the #mother I am now.  Taken December 2013 when I was home last.  Can't wait to see youHappy Birthday, Mama!  Like I posted on Instagram, I don’t usually post pictures of myself here — even if I do have the profile pic in that corner and this corner on the other blog.  That might change in the coming months, but I still do it with a lot of reluctance.  That’s my mom and I from December 2013 when I was with her last.  It’s been more than a year, and a homecoming is overdue.

While I’m missing her birthday, I do expect to celebrate when I get there — not just her birthday but mine, my brother’s (on April 7) and my bestfriend, Jonathan (April 4), as well as my sister-in-law.  (April 18).

But today is the 75th birthday of my beloved Mom.. to her I owe much of who I am today.  She continues to be a pillar of strength for me not just as  a daughter, but more importantly, as a mother.  I can only pray for more years with her — more so at this time when I need my mother’s loving care.  Even when she had reason to judge, she withheld judgment and simply told me the decision was mine to make.  And time and again, she has reminded me, I always have a place at her table, a room in her home, wherever that may be.  I love you, Mama.

Can’t wait to see you in just a few weeks and truly celebrate this milestone with the rest of your brood.

And speaking of birthdays..

I’m preparing for a better and happier birthday celebration as the Pinay New Yorker turns 49 in a couple of days.  Yes, I’m old.  But I’m happy I’m where I am right now.  I know it’s taking a step backwards saying last year was the worst birthday ever and anything a notch above would be a whole lot better — but I’m looking forward to nicer things and a better celebration this year.  Even if it means celebrating it with me, myself and I.

I’m busy picking a gift to myself.  Nothing fancy.  Just a little perk that will help make the day special.  I would’ve loved to watch Billy Joel on April 3, but like I had written, tickets ran out!  I’ve been making do with blasting his music on my iPhone instead.  (Not quite as good, but it IS still him singing.

I haven’t quite planned the day yet — I have to be at work — but it will be a birthday week yet.

Spring is finally here.  Just when I was about ready to get more of my winter coats cleaned — not to be put away but for extended use — we got a pretty nice day that seemed to give a good preview of spring being just around the corner.  I’m not holding my breath about winter finally going, though.  There were winters when the bigger storms still hit us in April.  Hopefully not.

#thankYOU .. For joining me on my journey to "happy".  #JourneyToHappy #thankful #newsensation #grateful #countingmyblessings #movingonAnd the Project might finally get off the ground.  It’s been stalled by life in general (and that thing called “work”).. I’ve been working on my pieced flowers again and hope to start with the actual postcards when I get back from Manila in May.

I’ve been focusing on this “Journey to Happy” which I’ve referenced in many of the projects I’m doing or have done, as well as my web presence.  It’s a reminder to myself to keep going and to keep doing things to finally bring me to that state of “Happy.”

Here’s to a great week ahead with a little bit of rain but warmer temperatures.  Another year for my mom — and a productive week for us all.

A special birthdate

Saturday, May 26, is the birthday of three very special people to me.  My youngest brother, Nikolai and one of my favorite god daughters, Andrea Isabelle, are both turning a year older.  and there’s my classmate since grade school, Pia. What a special day indeed!

I just hung up the phone with Nikky who is attending a friend’s wedding somewhere in Cainta. Eeya is now a special ed teacher in Singapore and I’m hoping to touch base with her before the weekend is over. Pia, I need to find out first if she is already back from Europe. Each of these special people deserve a separate post altogether which I hope to do during this long weekend. I am just so happy to have been blessed with their love.

Happy, happy, happy birthday!

Those things that you cannot do over

What is it about celebrations that make them one-time deals?  I guess it’s basically the fact that they are pegged on dates which, once they have passed, are good and gone.

So you mess up one or forego one, and although there will be another one in a year, it won’t be the same.

I just had my worst New Year’s Eve ever.  Not for anything, it just came and went with nothing. I decided to turn in at 11:30 and I slept through the dropping of the ball so to speak.

I had bought cheese and crackers, had a $22 teeny-tiny quezo de bola like the ones we had in Manila — I had my 12 fruits in a basket as was our tradition back home.  I had some special foie gras I was hoping to serve.  I was looking forward to some bubbly and was getting ready to wash the special champagne flutes that have remained hidden deep in my dish cabinet.  I had even started cooking the Spanish chocolate sent over from Manila by my friend Elvie.  (That one needed to simmer and cook a while so I thought I’d get it ready for breakfast on New Year’s day.)

I puttered around the house by myself as everyone was asleep.  At 11, I tried to remind Alan to chill the champagne.  He was deep in la-la land.  11:30, he stirs.  A few minutes later he tells me we should just drink the open bottle of red wine.  Somehow, it wasn’t worth the bottle of champagne that has been gathering dust in his wine rack which he said we could open to welcome 2011.  I could’ve bought a bottle of Corbell or Asti had he told me that earlier when I braved the last minute shoppers in the grocery to grab my cheese and hors d’ourves.

After all the preparations, I decided I would just turn in.  It was just another new year’s eve after all — the second one where I was promised we would welcome the new year with a bottle of champagne that turned to nothing on the 12th hour.  Last year, I got my champagne, but only because I celebrated it in Manila with the family.

I know that next year, I’m getting my own bottle of bubbly or maybe I just won’t get all the cheese and crackers and just settle for the noise makers… I’ll watch the ball drop and that’s it.