And the holidays are here

Christmas in New YorkDisclosure: The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I actually started drafting this post maybe two weeks ago, and then I got caught up with work and real life so all I came up with was the banner above. Tonight, many weeks after my last attempt to get back to regular blogging, I’ve promised myself I will hit send at the end of whatever I write here, and hopefully write more consistently.

It’s Saturday and I’m hoping to get two packages out by Monday to cross the oceans to friends I want to surprise. That thought makes me smile. Somehow the holidays have always been about giving to others more than to myself. There’s joy beyond description when I see the joy in the faces or the voices of those that get my card, my letter, my gift.

Isn’t that what the holidays are about?

Upon Angelo’s insistence, we got a new Christmas tree this year. As I’m basically an online shopper, I ended up getting this tree from Target. I chose it because it was unlit, above 6 feet tall (I ended up getting something that was 7 feet) and of course, on sale. So it arrives as promised, and while it was the size it was touted to be, I was kind of disappointed that it was similar to the tree we had which shed blades like there was no tomorrow. Don’t get me wrong, the tree was fine, but I was looking for a certain type and chose something else. As someone who doesn’t drive, I take pride in my online shopping savvy, and the convenience of free shipping to my home was something I could use, more so for an item the size of a Christmas tree. It was good — but I wouldn’t have minded except that it clogged my vacuum cleaner, so the only way to tidy up was to brush the carpet. I have a feeling this will be the first and last year of this Christmas tree. I will endeavor to find an artificial tree similar to the ones I used to know when I was a child.

Christmas trees are a big deal in my family. A good sized manger, too. But I have no room and I don’t have the manger here in New York, so I make do with a tree and lights around my window sill.

I bought a new set of Christmas balls in a teal or is it periwinkle color, mixed with matte and shimmery silver. You’ll have to forgive me for not posting a picture of my tree. It’s kind of camera shy. I used lights from last year and will be discarding the sets that don’t work anymore.

I decorated my windows and put up my parol or Christmas lantern, the newer one. I take pride in the fact that it identifies my home as Filipino because we’re really the only ones who have this kind of lantern which is sort of a cultural signature in the way we celebrate Christmas.

And I got Christmas cards.. haven’t sent them out and it’s (almost) Christmas. Hmmmm… Baby steps, I say.

To be continued…

Waiting for the snow to start falling…

It’s 10pm and I just finished washing the dishes, cleaning up in the kitchen, plus I even managed to wash one of my self-knitted scarves and Angelo’s beanie.  I have been using a silken ladder yarn scarf but I now realize I need more protection from the elements when the temperatures take a dive.  I have not bought scarves for the winter for a couple of years now because I have taken to knitting my own.  I’m no expert knitter so I tend to experiment with sizing (oversized stitches given a yarn thickness) and then I add trim.  For some of the scarves, the embellishment or “arte” lies in the kind of yarn I actually use.

But paper is what has kept me preoccupied of late.  I opened another store on Etsy dealing primarily with paper — recycling paper in particular and creating gift tags and gift cards, and eventually — hopefully other paper products.  I am researching making hand-made recycled paper and just today, came across a tutorial on making paper beads.  (Talk about combining two of my current passions!)  I even have the paper cut today which caused me to wash with one hand in a latex glove.  (One reason I don’t throw away those disposable gloves that come with your shampoo-in hair dye.)  That’s nothing compared to the multiple cuts my hands suffered from some 14 months ago when I experimented with resin domino pendants.  Hmmmm.. the pendants are still in the experimental stage so no, they haven’t exactly been something lucrative.  At least I have the many lessons I learned in the process.

Snow.. I know I ought to take comfort in the words of my favorite weatherman that it won’t be as bad and as much as the blizzard. Uhm, just 3-5 inches (!) of snow.. I wish I had the same optimism.  Anything beyond a light dusting is cause for frustration.  Then again I must remind myself I live in a part of the world where cold winters like this one are the norm.  (Lightbulb in my head… reminder to self: note to Donna.)

I braved the cold today to walk to Rockefeller Center to take pictures of the Christmas tree.  It was lovely but very cold.  Am I surprised that I seem to have caught a bug?  Nope.  I came all wrapped and snuggly but it looks like it wasn’t warm enough.  (Nothing my throat spray and lozenges cannot handle..)  Christmas in New York is not quite like the all around Christmas spread in Manila, but it has its own charm.

It brings me back to Manila where we all spent Christmas last year, and where Angelo and I had our first New Year’s Eve, me after 9 years of having spent that night in New York.  It was also our first spent apart as Alan had left earlier for home.  I opted to stay behind because Dad was sick.  I extended once and was ready to extend another time, but the flights were full.  I had work and Angelo had school.  So on the 7th, we bid our goodbyes and that was that.

So back to the snow.. =)  At least it’s a Friday, and hopefully, I’ll get to go home early enough.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…