Wildflowers

1D194D4D-0EE0-4B49-8BBD-46396D693D4AI’ve always taken pride in paying attention to the ordinary. From a very young age, I was trained to appreciate the simple things. I think it’s important for us to never lose our childlike sense of wonder. It keeps us hopeful and optimistic. It helps us see the light instead of the darkness. Much like the glass being half full rather than half empty.

The eternal optimist, that’s who I am.

During these walks I’ve taken the last 3 weeks, I’ve opened my eyes to the wonders around, tucked between the weeds that have crept upon the growth in the forest, or in the cracks in the concrete pavement. What colors — if we will only stop and pay attention to nature’s canvas.

I used to always think about doing this — just walking around to stretch my legs, or to try and get some exercise in. I never really got to until after weeks and weeks of being cooped up indoors. I can’t believe that I’ve been doing this for longer and longer stretches of time. And I’ve taken to paying more attention to the things I walk past each time.

Wildflowers
Sometimes they call out to us as a patch of color, but what strikes me more are the singular stems that stand out from the drab green, or the cracks in the sidewalk. Wildflowers here range in color from pastels like purple and the starker fuschia pink ones like this one I saw just this morning.

I just had to stop and take a shot. I’m sure the man walking around 200 paces behind me must’ve been baffled why I stopped in my tracks. It would’ve thrown off the distance we were trying to keep between us.

Wildflowers

And there are the usual blooms that we see everywhere, popping up from the ground in batches, just nonchalantly standing their ground and ignoring the rest of the world. If you look closely enough, you’ll see how nature has put them together in such an intricate fashion.

Wildflowers
More often than not, we gloss over their existence. To many, they are a nuisance ruining the monotony of the pavement where the earth gave in and a crack let them through. But such bright colors wave to us. Again, if you look closer, you’ll see how beautiful they are by themselves, or as a bunch on the ground we walk on.
Wildflowers

They’re springing up all over these days as we get deep into summer. I’m trying to catch them before they wilt away and the green gives in to the glorious colors of fall. I love fall for the tapestry of leaves and the changing colors of the season, but autumn signals the disappearance of these beauties, both wild and nurtured in the gardens around. We have to enjoy them while we can.

Wildflowers

See how intricate those spines around the berry-like center are? I cannot wait to see what springs forth from this bloom. I hope I see it tomorrow or the next day I walk past it again. I’ve made it a habit to look around with each pass, and stop the next time I go past it. It’s almost 400 steps around the entire quadrangle, and I usually try to keep pace with those who are ahead of me. Sometimes, I get lucky and I get to enjoy the space and have the place all to myself. I like walking here because there’s usually no more than 4 others who make sure we walk with ample space apart.

Wildflowers

This week has been such a visual delight. It seems that every day, there is a new bloom that pops up to surprise me. Even along the highway as I walk on the last leg of my morning ritual, visual delights like these little wonders abound.

I admire them from a distance and leave them be. I want to have them there, serving as a backdrop to my feeble attempts at exercising. They bring color to the toil of walking in the summer heat, and they bring a smile to my face.

There are so many things we should be grateful for. Little things that we should not take for granted. We should stop and take notice before they fade away and another season creeps up on us.

Tomorrow as I walk again, these little beauties give me something to look forward to. I will look at them with childlike wonder and hope they stay just a little bit longer. I can’t wait to see another surprise that will stand out from the rest. Some new wonder growing out of the ordinary, here in the wild.

From fog to glorious sunshine

I can literally run out of the office this minute but I thought I’d take a moment to share some snapshots I uploaded on Instagram today — just for those who are not on Instagram or following me there as Gotham Chick.  (Hint, hint!)

I looked out into a gloomy sky this morning and this is the view that greeted me.

Foggy NYC: no filter, and no, it’s not black and white. It was THAT kind of a muggy morning but at least the rain has stopped. Then the sun decided to come our! #mynewyork #mynyc #muggymorning #fogovernyc #nypl #midtown #nudtownmanhattan #fog

I was almost giving up on a sunny day but lo and behold, even before I could upload the picture, the sun came out in full splendor and it’s sooooo hot outside.  Picture this:  Manila is currently at 82 degrees — and New York is at 75!  Ta-dah!!!

So to celebrate, I’m sharing some macro shots of some glorious flowers that have been sitting in my iPhone.  It’s such a lovely day we have to share this:

Almost Friday!! Spring is here and I do hope everyone stops and takes time to enjoy the colors of the season. #ny #mynewyork #flowers #nature #spring #almostfriday

..and this:

One of the things I love about spring is it’s being a never-ending reminder that life is beautiful! #lifeisbeautiful #spring #flowers #optimism #nature #mynewyork #lily

.. and finally, this:

Sometimes it takes some rain to make us appreciate the sunshine, and a cold winter to show us the glory of spring. #flowers #spring #sunshine #mynewyork #enjoytheflowers

 

The Last Blooms of Summer

Saturday evening and it’s minutes to midnight (again). I’m ready to head off to la-la land and I’m looking at a rather early start tomorrow. First day of Sunday school. So I guess sleeping in is not an option. Well, I can always take a nap in the afternoon. That’s tomorrow.

I took these pictures last week as an ode to the end of summer. It’s gotten chilly and I’m getting my fabric scarves washed and ready, and I have to start prepping the fall gear. Summer over? You bet it is.

The days are shorter… the mornings are nippy. And the trees are no longer as deep a green as they are in the thick of summer.

Last blooms of summer

The work calendar also tells me that the days are moving faster now, as if we had picked up the pace and started walking briskly to the end of another year. And the “ber” months are here. In the Philippines, Christmas begins when September comes.. we have one of the longest holiday seasons in the world. But that’s looking forward to what’s yet to come… my favorite time of the year: Christmas.

Last blooms of summer

I almost hate myself for having forgotten my Auntie Lydia’s birthday. My dear, dear Auntie Lydia who was like a second mother to me. She passed over 20 years ago, but she was such a part of my life that even after all these years, I miss her dearly.

And the end of August was also my older brother’s birthday. He who is the one I never knew but whose absence in my life creates a vacuum so big that I had to steer clear of writing about him this year. July and August have been very heavy remembering emotional losses. September, I hope, will bring a renewal of spirit and hope.

Last blooms of summer

I’m trying not to stress out about the fact that the boy is asking me what we have planned tomorrow. The truth is, I don’t really have a plan. It’s just him and me for the next couple of days, including the school opening for New York on Monday.

I thought I’d avoid the stress of knowing I had to rush to work after being late by taking the mornings off. This way I can rest between the walk to and from school before heading in the opposite direction to take the bus to Manhattan.

I can’t believe he’s now entering the fourth grade. =) Typing that made me smile. My boy is another year older, and when people ask me how old he is, I proudly say “9 going on 19.” I almost don’t want to see him grow up so fast, and yet I marvel at the person he’s become.

He’s worried he might be asked to recite the Apostle’s Creed tomorrow and I had to reassure him it was just an orientation. Every possibility I had offered him doesn’t sound appealing, it seems, more so because it would mean taking the bus, local or express. I even offered him a trip to the city after we fed his grandma and then we can take a peek into our favorite museum or just see what’s happening in Manhattan. He said no. We were in Bay Terrace earlier, a shopping complex almost like Greenhills in a smaller scale, and I offered to go back there, but he said no again.

I wouldn’t mind just walking to the corner and checking out the dollar store. I have chores to finish at home.

We’ll see how our Sunday shapes up — as we start getting ready to greet Autumn and say goodbye to summer.

Summer Blooms

Summer201301Sunflower

We have a very patient gardener in our midst in my co-op community who fills up this tiny patch of land around her unit with gorgeous flowers every summer.  I snapped these shots with my Blackberry Bold this morning as I waited for the car to pull out of our garage.

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It seems the heat has let up some and it was even a bit chilly when I walked out of the house today.   With the last day of July here, we’re getting ready for fall.
Summer201303Well, maybe not quite.  I’d like to enjoy these colorful blooms just a wee bit longer.
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Not yet, anyway. Give or take a few more weeks.  I went around my favorite Bryant Park last week to take pictures of the blooms there but have yet to transfer my digital photos to my PC for uploading.  Those flowers have their own story to tell.
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Celebrating me

I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since I joined this company.  My boss was actually instrumental in surprising me earlier today after I thought I had sent him off to a luncheon in one of the restaurants around our building.  Minutes later, he calls me from his cellphone telling me that he had accidentally left his organizer in one of the conference rooms where he had his meeting earlier in the morning, and that he needed me to grab it immediately because there was some sensitive information in that book.  So off I went and lo and behold, when I opened the door, I found the boss and his team and my fellow admins all seated with two bouquets of flowers, cake and lunch all set out…

I was so shocked and it was totally unexpected, and while I will say I know I deserve it  (Ha!), I still feel totally in awe at the gesture.

Flowers for my Anniversary at work - 10 years  Happy anniversary.. to me!
Flowers for my Anniversary at work - 10 years

There will never be another time

Spring Pink

This is part of the gorgeous curtain of flowers now covering one side of our courtyard.  Every day on my way out to the bus stop, I take a moment to snap a picture, and there are marked changed each and every day since the buds sprouted and now that the flowers are in full bloom.

I remember seasons past when I would be hurrying through the walkway, muttering to myself a reminder to take a picture “later”.  Of course, by the time “later” came, the scene I wanted to snap a picture of earlier is already gone.  It’s a truly awesome portrait painted by nature.  I mean to post the pictures of the stages of its flowering and shedding but I want to wait until the flowers start to fall to the ground as they are wont to.  When I have the full set, I will post it here and share the wonders of spring.

Already, gorgeous clusters of blooms have sprouted from Monday’s buds.  I will take yet another set of shots tomorrow.

It’s just another reminder that life slips by so fast.  There really is no such thing as “another time”.  There will never be another time — it just goes and goes.  You let it slip by and it’s gone.

I’m taking a break tonight after working on my folk tale journal earlier during breaks at work.  It feels good not to be running after a deadline.  I do have a deadline, though.  But I’ve been given a reprieve.

So I’m taking a moment to enjoy the flowers.  Even the tulips in Bryant Park are now abloom.  Perfect time to snap away, but life has been hectic at work, and there was so much activity with May Day here in NYC — demonstrators filled the park and the sidewalks and surroundings were awash in blue.  All those cops around made me hear the theme song of  “Blue Bloods” in a loop in my head.

Maybe tomorrow.  (There I go again, falling prey to that trap of thinking “there will be another time”.)

It’s been a while since I last went on my macro-flora photo walks.   I have to get to it soon or I’ll lose out.  Tomorrow, it is!

 

Pass me the bouquet please..

Aren’t these flowers gorgeous?

One of the ladies on the floor had received them earlier in the week, but she was going on holiday beginning Friday and was going to be away until Tuesday. The lilies were proving to be problematic because someone on her wing was allergic to them. Would I like to put them on my credenza and maybe take them home to enjoy them over the weekend? How could I resist this shower of pinks and magenta? Of course I said yes! I did take them home, sans the pungent lilies, and I patiently carried them on the bus. They now grace my living room coffee table where I hope to see them through the Memorial Day weekend.

I’ve cut the stems and changed the water religiously. The cattleyas are actually in their own individual water tubes and are holding up quite well. The roses are blooming ever so elegantly. I’m trying to figure out how I can cast a petal or two in resin on top of a polymer clay base perhaps? If I could only stop them from wilting and fading away, I would…

I love pink but the truth of the matter is, my favorite roses are the yellow kind for as long as I can remember. But what do I care… I am trying to savor the beauty of this bouquet for as long as I can. Thank you, Jana!

So we’re off until Monday.  My Saturday started off with a pleasant surprise when I received an e-mail from a total stranger regarding an online query I made middle of May.  I had actually totally given up on getting an answer until I realized it was the middle of summer in Manila, and most people are busy either trying to enjoy the last bits of their summer break there, or trying to get ready for the resumption of school.  It’s one of those things I’d categorize under “kindness of strangers” and charge to the universe for its generous spirit.  You ask, you get an answer.

Chrysler Building Zentangle Part III finally finished the last bits of the Chrysler Building zentangle and have glued it together rather seamlessly. I spent time at Michael’s trying to find a suitable frame and matting, but that proved to be quite a challenge. I have instead gotten a mounting board and will continue my search for the perfect frame at a later time. The piece measures 25 inches top to bottom but should do well in a 24 inch tall frame. I don’t want to experiment on getting an unmatted frame and do the matting myself as this is one finished work I intend to keep for myself as the first bigger zentangle piece I have completed. I’m proud as can be, no matter how amateurish the piece may seem. It’s the point of finishing it and actually succeeding in retaining the features of the building although I feel I could have done better.

I’ve already started outlining my next project in pen which is again, an original photograph I took of a longer shot of the Chrysler Building. (Yes, I just can’t get enough of it.) And what do you know? I watched Men in Black III today and some of the scenes were played out from the rafters of the building where the gargoyle-type structures jut out of the corners of the building.

The widest base of this piece will be approximately 10 inches from end to end, so top to bottom (including the extended spire), the graphic will be approximately 36-40 inches.  No, I will not frame this as is but rather photograph the piece when I finish it and “shrink” to an easier to manage size.

And what do I intend to do with this when done?  Maybe make prints to give away as gifts…  Use it as notecard graphics…  Or just decorate my attic wall with it.  I just might find enough energy to attempt an actual cityscape next, unless I find my Eiffel Tower pictures or I go for the Rizal Monument in Rizal Park first.  (I’ve kiddingly told Fe that I might end up zentangling the entire Manhattan skyline one day soon.)

I’m trying to keep my hands busy.  I can’t be kneading clay during my breaks in the office always, and while I used to do it, I don’t like lugging my pliers to the office to work on jewelry pieces.  (My boss doesn’t even like seeing me holding the blackberry!)  I like the thought of being able to zentangle in the cafeteria or down at the park during my lunch hour.  It’s also something I can easily bring to and from home as I work on it.

Plus there is a soothing comfort to filling in spaces and then seeing something created from what would otherwise be thoughtless scribbling.  I feel like the whole exercise is akin to taking a journey that involves teeny-tiny steps around the spaces I’m trying to draw in, and which brings me to some other place when I’m done.

The Promise of Spring

On Good Friday, April 6, I brought my little tyke to the office as it was the start of his spring break.  It was also a short day for me since I was invoking my religious right to end the day early.  We went out for our usual lunch date but decided to eat in Bryant Park instead.  It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining up high but not too brightly.  The wind had a pleasant chill that made it perfect.  We sat and ate.  Before and after lunch, we took pictures.

The tulips are back.  They are abloom and at my favorite stage —  just gorgeous.  I have always loved this time of the year when the bare trees of winter sprout new leaves and the flowers of spring come out.  Manhattan comes alive with the splendor of spring.  Tulips and daffodils in all shades and colors are everywhere.  The trees sprout their blooms — and you have to catch them quick because they change hues overnight and drop to the ground before you know it.

We enjoyed taking pictures of the tulips which were almost translucent when shot from below or ground level instead of from above.  The sun shone through their petals and made them look like they were almost glowing.  See what I mean?

When it gets warmer the tulips will be gone.  They only really survive in slightly cooler but not exactly cold weather.  Just after the so called last frost of spring, they bloom.  I love them best when they are wide open and don’t quite look like the bulbs we are familiar with.  They open to the world and show their beauty even if only momentarily.  Once fully open, the tulips eventually wilt and shed their petals.

I haven’t been here much lately.  I come in, take a peek, think of what to write, then just decide my heart’s not in it.  I actually have a ton to write about — at least half a dozen stories from the trip home, and half a dozen stories again from after I came back.  It’s just that too many things have been happening, my mind (and my heart) can’t quite keep up.

The tyke’s party is just around the corner — and I’ve been busy handwriting invitations from the party place he’s having his bash at.  I think I’ve bit off more than I can chew by promising to make him polymer clay souvenirs, more so since the character(s) of the moment are not exactly rendered easily:  Transformers Prime.  Hmmmmm… Let’s see if I can pull this off.

And last week, I just realized my etsy shop, GothamChick is actually on hibernation as well, as all the products have ‘expired’ and not been renewed.  * sigh * I haven’t really been there since I went on vacation last December.  I am creating again because I want to participate in a flea market at my local church here in Bayside end-April, and maybe after that, I can resurrect the shop again.  (Maybe I should concentrate on “GothamChick” instead of “PinayNewYorker” as my personal brand? — another thought.)

At least my reading has been progressing well — although I’ve been starting books right and left and have not finished anything. LOL… the curse of the Kindle — you can just leave your bookmark and jump to the next book!  The good news is that I’m progressing well on the spiritual side — I am actually attacking this on two fronts, and I’m proud to say I’m finally reading the Bible as I have always wanted to seriously do the past couple of years.  Still not quite as religiously as I’d like to– but I’m off to a good start.

I’ve also been seriously thinking about whether or not  if PinayNewYorker (the blog) has reached the end of its journey.  Perhaps it’s time to move on to something new — not exactly blogging.  Perhaps it’s just time to give it a rest and bow out, fading quietly into the night as they say.  Still just thought — not a plan at this point.

Do I start another blog?  Do I just resurrect one of the other blogs I have which have been “in hibernation”?  Do I think of something totally new to migrate to and move houses so to speak?  Or maybe I’ll just stay put.  I’ve been thinking about a lot of things lately, and it’s just something that keeps popping up.  But when I think about how I’ve invested practically 8 years into this blog — and I’ve put so much of my heart and soul into Pinay New Yorker — it’s not such an easy decision to make.  Still, reinventing or evolving is something I’m doing right now, and as much as this blog is such a part of my life, I can’t help but put it on the block for re-evaluation as well.

New York is beginning to warm up.  Heading for my favorite part of the year which is summer — when the temperatures in my home state approximate Manila’s.  Not quite the same — but close enough.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to enjoy spring.  It’s a full season but it’s fleeting and reminds me that time passes by so quickly.  It catches you off guard, and you just find that the beautiful colors of spring are gone and the trees are bathed in green again instead of the rainbow of spring colors.  The colors remain, but not quite as dramatic a change of scenery as when the barren trees of winter transform into the magical look that spring gives the landscape.  It’s one of those things that falls into that category of “before you know it…”.

Free form crochet project: Flowers (Work in progress)

I learned to crochet when I was in Grade V (or fifth grade as they would say here in the US), thanks to the private school I went to which made it a point to introduce me to various crafts as part of my Work Education class.  I didn’t do too well with the sewing machine, but I did pretty good in other needle craft.

I have always been drawn to yarn, and while I have made a vow not to acquire any new spools, seeing a ball of yarn going for dirt cheap in the discount store is just irresistible, more so when it’s in my favorite color.  (What else?  Pink.)  I was tempted to pick up a ball of each of the 5 colors available, but I didn’t want them ending in my yarn bin (or yarn “coffin” considering they usually end up untouched and unused).  So I stuck with the pink and I thought I’d grab a beige ball, too.

While I can read both written and diagram crochet patterns, I wanted to experiment with doing my own rosette or flower, hoping to create pieces for a bib necklace and/or a brooch.  It has been a struggle trying to find the right crochet pattern so I thought I’d give it a go just winging it.

I actually came up with three different versions, but I am happiest with the one shown above which solved my dilemma about having multi-row petals to give the flower volume and make it “pop out” so to speak.  Voila!

So over the weekend, I will be decorating them with pearls, beads and maybe even  buttons.  Watch out for the pictures of the finished products which I hope to post in my GothamChick shop on Etsy.  It looks like the brooches will make it to the shop sooner than the bib necklace because the pieces I’ve managed to create right now are a tad too big and bulky to use as a bouquet to adorn your neck.  Pricing will also make it very affordable because the yarn and the effort put into it have been modest.   These would be perfect to use on your coats or jackets, or even a hat.

I am still moving at a snail’s pace as far as the shop(s) is/are concerned, but I managed to post a new bracelet using a variety of czech pressed glass and czech fire polish beads in coffee-tones. (Hence, the name “Coffee medley”.) I used a new technique to “string” the beads on antique brass headpins, creating my own chain in the process which is a little trickier, but it surely saves me the cost of the chain and the hassle of worrying about beads falling through the open links.  Check it out at the shop before someone grabs it!