Hope lives on

Monday musings in paper and inkIt’s less than an hour to midnight, and I’m going to write as spontaneously as I can and hit “publish” before the clock tolls the end of the day. I’ve been writing blogposts right and left throughout my day in my head, but I often get stuck with the thought and end up with no post written. I am trying. But here goes..

Passion project in the works. An idea which hit me last week has gotten me all excited, although it hasn’t turned out as easy as I thought it would be. But I am excitedly taking baby steps towards making this project a reality. I don’t want to write about it too much because I don’t want to get ahead of myself. It’s just a good feeling to be working on something I know I can do, no matter that it isn’t exactly easy as pie. What’s more, I’m thinking about doing something I really would enjoy doing. While it is still in its infancy stage, I am very excited to be growing the idea in my head. It reminds me of a time when I was struggling to keep up with the expenses of being a law student in Ateneo and our resources were severely strained by business losses. I learned a lot during that time — and what I’m looking to do feels like a return to that first job I had, in a 21st century iteration. More to come..


I have been taking care of myself — even if it’s only walking. I’ve managed to go 13 out of 14 days straight, walking at least 5,000 steps, and getting some much-needed physical exertion in my daily routine. I’ve also been doing some mini workouts — and I know that doesn’t sound much for people who are used to spending hours in the gym or jogging miles and miles, but this is a big step for me. For someone who has abhorred the idea of exercise for decades, the fact that I’ve made this a habit the last two weeks except for that one day when the rains stopped me, is an accomplishment. I am proud of myself.

I gave in and started Noom. I am not quite comfortable writing about it yet, though, because I’ve only been on the program for two weeks. I was on the Keto diet for longer and although it did work and I lost weight, it was at a rather high price that made me drop the diet altogether. This one seems to be working just fine — and I like the way it’s structured. But more on that later..

I am picking up my tools again. It’s tax time and I get reminded during this time of the year how much I have literally invested in this business. It encourages me to try harder and I know I’ve been remiss with production, but I am hoping to get the shop going again soon.

Mask making has been put on pause momentarily. Just for a bit. I was cutting new pieces to sew last week — but I had decided to slow down, after the donations and then the batch I sent home with the balikbayan boxes. With the prevalence of Covid and the thought that this is really the new normal for the near future, I think wearing masks is something we really have to get used to. I am hoping to finish a few over the weekend. Taking my daily brisk walk around the community has also given me a chance to test which configurations work — and I’m planning to work on what I’ve discovered to make better masks.

Hope. I started this week hopeful. You know how sometimes you can’t help but be filled with dread and anxiety and all those negative feelings? While I am nowhere near giddy, this Monday finds me full of hope. Maybe I’ve found a sense of calm somehow — not that I am not affected by the rising numbers of cases in other states. New York continues to be in a cautious reopening phase, and we are nowhere near normal. But I am hopeful that no matter how difficult the challenges we face may be, the universe gives me a solution to help me pull through. The doors keep opening.

I am blessed to have that insight to find hope even when things can become overwhelming. And for that, I am grateful.

Here’s to an easy week for us — no matter what you’re doing this coming week, I hope you have it easy. I hope that you don’t get burdened by unnecessary stress. Take things one day at a time..

Happy Monday!

Monday Musings: Expecting snow yet again

It’s a few minutes past 6am and I have another 15 minutes to let the color mousse in my hair set in — it’s one of those mornings when I have to multitask between breakfast and other routines.  So I thought I’d sit here and write a post in the meantime, and since my brain is still in weekend mode and unable, as yet, to write a full post, let’s do our Monday Musings bit: a collection of snippets I pull together on Mondays.

A good breakfast is having a favorite treat: like giant sesame balls.  I just love sesame balls — or buchi as we call them back home.  I have an Asian grocery a short drive away which has a bakery in house which makes them in this humongous size.  As in tennis ball size!  The only problem is that the Sunday lunch crowd usually grabs them early on, but I was there around 11am yesterday and I managed to get 3.  So I had one for lunch, another for an afternoon snack/part dinner, and one for breakfast today.  Yummy!

So to keep on my weight loss journey, I always switch a treat for a meal or make up for it with extra physical exertion.  That way, I don’t overload on calories and sabotage my fitness goals.  I’m a little disappointed I have plateaued yet again, but I am proud to say I haven’t gained weight despite the occasional indulgence.  This, of course, means that I will have to go on the “shock phase” of my diet yet again to regain my footing and hopefully break through the plateau I’ve hit.

I am thankful for another week — even if they said we’re expecting rain and snow yet again, specifically today.  Everyone back in Manila and in most parts of the world which don’t see snow are so awed by it.  It IS quite a sight when it is falling, more so when it’s a glowing sky above and the snow starts to really accumulate in a thick coat on the ground and everywhere else.  Until you have to walk under it and get to work in the slush or slippery ice. And worse, when things like your iPhone falls on the soft snow and you don’t even hear a thud.  (And it is never returned to you, of course.)

Yes, I lost another phone — and I’m waiting for the replacement.  It’s back to the good old reliable blackberry for me, in the meantime, which I carry anyway as a backup.  The iPhone 5s was on the Good app which was good, but which had to be prompted to refresh unlike the blackberry which keeps refreshing as the mail comes.  The good news is, I’ve been told that the iPhone 6 actually runs on Outlook which should be much, much easier.  (We shall see.)

Again, I hate the hassle of losing almost 2,000 photos on that phone, just when I was about to back it up, having learned from losing thrice that much in pictures the first time I lost one.  (Lesson learned!)

It is heartening to see France uniting against violence in the midst of the terrorist attacks of last week.  I didn’t quite see it but heard about it in the news, and I am sure that the newspapers will be awash with coverage of the weekend demonstrations with the French coming together to show their solidarity as a country sans religious distinctions.  That, to me, was a triumphant declaration that violence will never be tolerated, and that there is a lot of good in humanity out there — no matter how deep the hatred may lie in certain factions of society.

It shows me there is hope that peace will prevail, and that the hand of violence will always be slapped down shackled, if need be, by the voice of the majority.

Of course as a New Yorker, I cannot help but fear that the same things might happen here.  I hope not.  Let this be the one and only incident of such a nature.  That is my prayer.

Well, time to get ready for work.  I hope everyone stays safe.  Let’s say a prayer for those who lost their lives on both sides in the tragic events that occurred in France last week.  Paris is, and will always be, one of my favorite cities.  I hope to one day go back and walk your streets again..

Remembering Paris: one of my rare personal photo treasures -- taken many years ago with a shot from one of the clocks within the Musee D'Orsay showing the Louvre across the Seine.  One day I'll take that third trip to Paris yet and maybe take a better sho

One of my favorite shots of the Louvre from one of the windows outside the clock of the Musee D’Orsay.


My Nth Weight Loss Journey – this time for keeps (Fingers crossed)

I don’t know how many people noticed that I have a “WeightWatchers” category on this blog.   I have two posts under this category — one in 2011 and one just recently.  I have been writing about trying to lose weight (yet again), but when I finally started three weeks ago, I kept mum.  Well, I didn’t exactly announce it to the world except for a post last August 28 on “Walking Healthy.”

I wasn’t too sure I had the determination to see it through, and I really had my doubts I’d go beyond the first week.

The truth of the matter is, I was inspired by my art inspiration, Julie Fei Fan Balzer’s own journey which she posted here.

I had had considerable success with WeightWatcher’s before I got pregnant — dropping 3 sizes in 1 year.  It was a rather difficult journey for me but I was happy with the results.  That was 10 years ago.  Then I got pregnant, breast fed, and it’s been a struggle since.

This time around, it was a different reason that inspired me to go on the journey again, and I have to admit, it took me a while to put my words into actions.  I have been saying this for the last year, but instead, I succumbed to emotional binging.  Food was my number one source of comfort, and I didn’t really care.  Between February 2012 to August 2013, I just ate whatever I fancied.  I ballooned and gained an additional 15 lbs to my already round figure.  It didn’t help.

I couldn’t last longer than 3 hours on 3 inch heels because my feet felt the torture of the weight I put on it.  I hated that because I love shoes!  Then I started to feel my clothes getting tighter which was a serious problem because I didn’t want to discard my wardrobe and buy the next size up.  It meant having more difficulty buying nice clothes, because despite “choices” out there, it’s really harder to look good when you are on the plump side.

I felt so huge that I ordered plus size clothes to try on for Counsin M’s wedding last May.  You won’t believe how relieved I was to find my round body “swimming” in the plus size clothes, so back in the box they went and I returned them to the store.  Still, finding out I was a size 14 and not a size 14 plus wasn’t comforting.  When I got my spanx and wore it under the dress, it pushed my humongous breasts up and even I felt self-conscious.  I knew I looked good and I felt pretty, but there was that thought in the back of my head wishing I didn’t have all that excess “me” in that pretty dress.

What really pushed me, though, was the fact that summer came and went and there were a lot of clothes I wanted to wear which didn’t look quite right on me.  I could’ve braved it and gone with the “tight” look, but that wasn’t me.  There were also a lot of nicer outfits I saw on racks, tried on, and had to pass up on because although they fit nicely from the chest up, they were a problem from the waist down.

I also got alarmed that I’d get winded rushing to the corner to catch the bus to Manhattan, or going up and down stairs in the subway were laborious and left me feeling like I was about to have a heart attack.

I’ve never really been one to go for exercise.  I thinking about it translated to pounds lost, I’d be 10 lbs lighter.  I know I’d eventually have to do more than my routine walks, but at least I’m trying to do something I can chalk up as an activity point on my tracker these days.

I registered online, paid for the three months (so I could get 1 month free), and I read up.  The system they are using now is different from what I had used previously.  I actually like it better this time because it gives a hefty allowance for you to go beyond your goal daily points consumption (which, in my case is 26).  For me, I have 49 points to spread out, including converted activity points.  You no longer “bank” or save points for a splurge.  Another major difference is that points unused don’t rollover.  You use it or lose it.  To date, I haven’t run over the points allocation/conversions combined.

My first week almost made me drop the diet because I came down to a pound lost.  All that effort for nothing, I told myself.  Then I reminded Size 14 me that I DID lose a pound.  For all that I had done to try and lose weight the 3 months prior, my weight never moved.  It held steady at 185.

I continued to research foods that worked for me.  I bought WeightWatcher’s snacks and desserts. I drank more water and tried to watch my intake of my favorite foods.  I even had some House of Polvoron which a colleage of Alan had given him at the hotel.  (I will write about points conversions in another post.)  Instead of trying to find food that would fit into my points allowance, I researched the food I liked and found their points equivalency.  I was surprised to find that some food that people treated and classified and healthy was actually high on the points scale.  They were healthy, but they weren’t exactly low calorie.

Instead of seeking out healthier or lighter calorie alternatives, I tweaked the meals I was used to to make them fit into my points plan.  I am still eating the food I like.  I have not sought out meetings at this point because I hardly have time for anything more beyond work and home and my personal hobbies.

On my second weekly weigh in, I hit my 5-lbs lost milestone.  (Congratulate me!)  This morning, midway through my previous and next weigh in, I saw another 2 lbs shed.  Hmmm.. I’m trying to keep my expectations reasonable because my first round with WeightWatchers saw my weight going up and down throughout the program.  But as it is, I’m just celebrating that I am within the program’s goal of helping me lose 1.5-2 lbs per week.  It’s a healthy pace, and it’s something I’m able to manage, and hopefully will be able to maintain.

My primary reason for trying to seriously lose weight again is to get healthier.  I’m 47 and I want to be around longer.  My weight and my health is something I can control, so I don’t want to lose the reins to that anytime in the near future.

I like the way this new program works because it’s something I can easily adjust to.  It is going to mean rethinking my eating choices but it doesn’t mean revamping my whole eating regimen altogether.  I haven’t felt as positive about achieving results as far as losing weight is concerned in a long time.