Winding down

I’m hoping that the road to La-la land will be a smooth and short one tonight. Just knowing that it’s Friday brings me a sense of calm — looking forward to sleeping in, even if I already know I’ll probably wake up way earlier than I had hoped.

It’s summer here in our part of the world, and that means longer days. Earlier sunrises and later sunsets. Even as I sleep, my “eye” sees the daylight outside even with blackout curtains, and extra layer of paper on the window pane to boot. I somehow know the day has started, even when I wish it wasn’t beginning quite that early. Maybe I’m just getting old. No matter how I try, I cannot muster the kind of sleep that my teen is able to do with such ease.

I’m hunkering in this weekend. I don’t know what I will bake but I do know I have the bananas and the other recipes. I am down to three of my oatmeal raisin cookies. I might attempt a simple roll.. or if the inspiration hits me tomorrow, i might try to bake some bread. Maybe.

I’m sorting the craft supplies again, and I’ve had some measure of success. I’m still hoping this weekend sees me picking up my tools. My free time has been focused on figuring out which ties to use for my masks, and how long the elastic should be. My cord stopper has arrived, but I’m torn between using them and not using them. I lay the last prototype down tonight and decided it can wait another day. After all, I’m staying home. I need not worry about returning to work anytime soon.

I was going to do a Friday Five but decided I just wanted a quick post — something to tie up the loose ends at the end of another workweek.

Happy Friday.. I wish you a good weekend wherever you are, and whichever way you choose to spend it.

Me, I’ll be in my happy place — even if only in my mind, thinking about my favorite desserts, walking my favorite parts of the city.. and maybe I’ll reminisce about that while sipping a glass of wine.

Fridays be like..

I literally have a half hour to write here, edit and post– in keeping with my #10DayWritingChallenge, or I am going to break a 3-day streak.

I put my crochet hook down. I know, I said this weekend was about sewing, but I had some yarn arrive with the sundries I ordered from Walmart. I couldn’t resist.

I’ve started a third winter scarf, realizing I had used the wrong smaller crochet hook with the first 2, and not quite ready with the suggested bigger hook but hitting it in the middle. I think I like how this third piece is working out, and id rather write about that in my craft blog.

So how was your Friday?

Mine started off with such beautiful shadows in Grand Central. I would’ve stayed to take more pictures, but work was waiting. It was a busy day but I was too happy about Friday moving into the weekend that I didn’t mind.

Shadows on Friday

Friday’s are a happy thought for me any day of the week. And there are all those other happy thoughts which make for a hearty hug. I am sleepy but happy. Here’s to a productive and restful weekend!

#10daywritingchallenge Day 4

This post is Day 4 of the #10DayWritingChallenge. Below are related links to this blogging list.

10 Day Writing Challenge

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Slow Saturday

Getting back up on your feet again

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

Self love

Paying closer attention

A Happy Place Apart

Sunset over Manhattan - Can't ever grow tired of this view.  The Empire State Building as the setting sun illuminates it in the colors of fall. #sunset #nyc #Manhattan #mynyc #autumninnewyork #theempirestatebuilding #sunsetovermanhattanI am finally back on Instagram and back to snapping shots of my home city!  Although it’s a tad bit disappointing that I wasn’t upgraded to the coveted iPhone 6 just yet — there’s a company freeze on the upgrades — I suppose, at least until the big bosses get theirs.  I’m not complaining.  I’m just glad to have my main cell phone number back on line, although arranging the apps and icons on my various screens is still in progress and keeping me on the verge of a vertigo attack.

Sometimes, I get lucky.  The shot above was actually just one of those I took after walking to the other side of my floor, and I discovered a new trick to prevent the reflection of the interior lights from bouncing off of the glass window.  I simply stuck the phone to the glass, as in on top of it, as if it were a filter in front of the actual phone camera.  Voila!

Posted on my Instagram feed 2 weeks ago before the other iPhone changed hands, this picture was reposted by the official @empirestatebldg Instagram account and was liked more than 2400+ times on that page and garnered me at least a dozen additional “followers”.  Of course, I was honored.  Again, sometimes, I get lucky.

Yet another reason to smile.  Another little note to tuck into that bucket of “happy”.

My sister wrote me a rather pointed inquiry on my state of heart with a single sentence e-mail.  (“Are you okay, sis?,” she wrote.)  She has a knack for emphasis by decluttering her message and going straight to the point.  I’d usually just call her back but it was late last night and I thought I’d give her something to read.

Yes, I’m okay.  I’ve just been very busy of late, but I am doing okay and trying to concentrate on “happy” thoughts and bits and pieces that bring me to that happy place.  I’ve come to discover that there are actually a lot of things to tuck into my little virtual scrapbook in my heart — the one I go to when I feel the need to try and lift my spirits up.  It’s where all the reminders of “good” and “okay” are — in simple thoughts, lines, memories and snapshots.

You know how you would often remember bits and pieces of a conversation, or scenes framed by a certain event or moment in your mind.  It could be words you read somewhere — perhaps a magazine, an e-mail or a written message handed to you.  It might be the taste of something you had, a movie you keep wanting to watch over and over again, or a line in a song.  And even in this place of “happy” thoughts there are buckets for the different things that bring you there, from the ordinary to those special ones that bring you to a happy place apart.

Four words that have stuck with me through most of the past week and a half — “A Happy Place Apart”.   You want to keep going there but then you want to save it for when you need it most so that you can savor the smile, the warmth of that thought, of remembering things, or laughing over something you laughed about not too long ago.  And it actually works.  It brings me to that happy place apart from all the other happy places I have tucked in my heart.

It is that happy place apart that makes me say, yes, I’m okay.  Because in the midst of it all, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have a lot to smile about.  I have a lot to remain hopeful for.  I’d be hard pressed to justify sulking or moping, or even asking “Why me?”.

It might be knowing I got featured by THE @empirestatebldg account, and I got congratulated by people I don’t even know from Adam.  Or the thought of indulging in a piece of my chocolate treat from Lilac at Grand Central Market, the uber sinful milk chocolate caramel nut bar.  (Seriously thinking of stopping by this morning despite the fact it will mean a major detour in the commute into the city, and a major dent on the diet, at that!)  It might be about happily anticipating some books I ordered in connection with an online History course I enrolled in recently.  (That’s another blog post altogether.)  It might be simply writing or pinging one of my three siblings across the oceans for a conversation.

And sometimes you hear something random like the latest news and it reminds you of something connected.  Even that can bring you to that happy place.

Another weekend for all of us — another weekend for more happy thoughts — and in case there’s a shortage of that, there will be that happy place apart tucked somewhere in my heart.

Friday Five on a Friday…

We want to stick to Friday so I’m writing this while I’m non the road to join a dinner gathering. The boys are discussing TV shows. I’m in my own little world here in the backseat.

I had hoped to post midway through the week but decided the things I wanted to post about were better done over the weekend, so I took a break.

So here goes last week’s Friday’s Five:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.  The tutorial is in the works for posting eventually at Gotham Chick (my craft blog). Still trying to carve out time to write.

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.  I had gotten busy finishing a batch for a bridal shower and have been otherwise preoccupied all week but will do this this week .

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  I was able to do some journaling but didn’t quite get to the backgrounds..

4. Destash more magazine by going through them and getting what I need.   Unbelievable but done!!.

5.  Create more polymer clay beads.  In progress..

You’ll have to pardon the seeming repetitiveness of my list.  There are weeks when more get ticked off and taken out of the list, but that is not always the case.

This coming week, I am hoping to do a take 2 of the above list save for number 4 and finish them by the next Friday Five post.

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.

4.  Create more polymer clay beads.  In progress..

5.  Complete a bunch of THANK YOU POSTCARDS.

There you go.  No promises except to keep trying.

Work in Progress: Wire Wrapped Earrings

Work in progress: wire wrapped agate earringsI’ve been trying to stir up the creative juices again.  It hasn’t been easy even if I’ve made it a point to sit at my craft corner a few minutes each night.  And then there are nights when I’m just too tired to do even just that. 

I’ve been trying to create polymer clay canes which have proven to be quite the learning experience for me, which I guess, translates to it being a hit or miss kind of thing right now.  Fortunately, it’s a very cheap medium and I have stocked up on it the last 12 months. 

The past two nights, I turned my attention to some wires I had bought before the weekend (which remained untouched because other things preoccupied me), and I started trying to manipulate the gauge 18, 22 and 24 wires just to get a feel for it with respect to what I wanted to do.

The picture you see is one of my more successful attempts at creating a wire-wrapped dangle for an earring which I am trying to get the hang of, and which I want to “execute” as a tighter and cleaner wrapping eventually.  (Like most things, this takes practice.)

You might think the earring above which is the size of a nickel (roughly) is heavy, but it was surprisingly light, using a 10mm round agate bead.  I made the earring hook from the same wire I used to wrap the gemstone. It’s pretty rough but I liked the way it felt as I wore it today. I always make it a point to “test run” my wares, more so if it’s not your ordinary beadwork piece.  My ears are rather sensitive these days but this was comfy and light and didn’t even irritate my skin one bit.  I’m looking forward to doing more of this over the weekend, while at the same time trying to continue to organize my jewelry crafting supplies.

New York is cold again.  I think Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about the forecast for temps up to 51 today so it’s a gloomy Friday that holds no promise for warmer temps.  We’re going up to 39 which is just 7 degrees above freezing so it’s not very promising.  Still, it’s Friday, so I’m going to stop the whining with that.

I have my work cut out for me over the weekend with test prep for the state tests on Angelo’s calendar and mine.  I have the organizing and cleaning up to do over the weekend and maybe I’ll try and get some serious reading done.

Day 3 into Lent and I’ve kept myself clear of red meat.  It was  a bit of a challenge last night as I cooked some spicy skirt steak for Alan, but I stuck to my grilled cheese.  By the way, did you ever try grilled cheese with an ever so thin swipe of mayo (light mayo for me) on the outside in lieu of butter?  I read about this in one of my older mags and boy, did it taste more delicious, indeed!  I’m now a convert.  Don’t overdo the mayo, though — do it as you would butter, but maybe just a smidge less.

Hope everyone is having a good start of the weekend.  Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I could…

It’s another Friday — and a super cold Friday at that.  I took this snapshot of my favorite fountain here in Bryant Park this noon on the way to pick up lunch and a few odds and ends for a weekend project at the bead stores.  As you can see, the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain is freezing up again and will likely be another elegant ice sculpture over the weekend, more so when we get some snow again from Sunday into Monday.

The Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain all frozen

I can never tire of taking pictures of this gorgeous fountain.  It’s not one of our more majestic ones but it has it’s own reason to be proud as a source of beauty in this great city.

I’m waxing poetic, I know.  It’s been a long and tiring week for me.  I feel as though many parts of my life were put on hold due to the rest taking it over.  I have even missed a day here and there on Instagram.  (THAT busy!)

I haven’t quite moved as progressively as I had wanted in the fronts I had hoped to work on.  I wish I could… but sometimes, you just get paralyzed from all the movement and find yourself moving and not moving at the same time.  There are the projects and homework to finish.  He takes precedence, of course.  At the end of the day, I had wished I could just finish dinner and curl up in bed and lay down to sleep.  But there have been many late nights and no reprieve from being the first to wake up the next day.  Tomorrow, I will get my chance — I hope.  Even just an extra hour would do wonders.

I wish I could just sit in the park and watch the world go by but it is too cold to do that.  There are many thoughts crowding my head that at times, something as trivial as playing slot machine games (just for play, not for money) on my iPhone helps to bring me down to a quiet calm. 

I haven’t written much.  None of the letters I had hoped to write have been written.  Rereading those two sentences made me sigh deeply at the thought that my world seems to be stuck at a certain point even if I know I’m moving in all directions.  Sometimes we get so busy that we end up seemingly standing still even if we aren’t. 

But it’s Friday. 

And although it’s another winter weekend — I hope to do a few things and hopefully report back with something accomplished.

I am looking forward to a restful weekend with the family.  No real plans as of now except to get  a treat from my boy who promised me a present for all the help with his school projects.  He was being overly generous but I told him I’d be happy with some polymer clay or other odds and ends.  He said as long as it’s at least $50.  That’s my boy who promised mom a diamond ring when he’s working already.  (And if he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet.)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

A Wintery Friday

This has got to be the longest winter yet, not because it is literally long but because the snow just keeps coming. What’s worse is that it’s been so cold that not only are we accumulating snow because it has been coming storm after storm after storm, but because we haven’t had high enough temperatures to allow the previous storm’s snow to melt.

Friday was the worst because we already had inches of snow that got a foot more over a 36 hour period. I wasn’t surprised that the car service company told me they weren’t taking reservations and couldn’t promise they would have anything by the time I needed it to bring Angelo to school and get dropped off at the bus stop.

Oh, and did I mention I had helped him make a newspaper project which we had to bring to school this same morning?
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For all of you who like snow, I agree that it looks beautiful when it’s freshly fallen and you see all the undisturbed white. But then it changes when you have to walk on it, snowboots or no snowboots.
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It was just beautiful and quite a relief to see blue skies above for a change.  We’ve been having grey and muggy skies of late and it helps when the sun is out in full force.  Not only does it lift your spirits up but it helps to temper the cold on the ground.
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This even as the sun was just rising at a few minutes past 8am.  I walk past this bike path in a park behind my son’s school to the nearer bus stop.  It meant moving two stops back, but I couldn’t risk the icy and slushy walk to the one I usually take.  I figured it was easier to go this way.

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Every time I walk through this path, I can’t help but take pictures of this patch of trees — green in the spring and the summer, fiery during the changing of the colors of fall, and bare yet elegant in the winter months.

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Layered and all bundled up, I walked with my gloves and I trudged through the snow.  There were little things that had fallen after the storm and nestled snuggly into this soft bed of white.
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Part of the walk still had undisturbed snow.  I had to take a picture before my trail marred this undisturbed carpet of white.  This is a normally flat sidewalk with grass on either side, but the previous week’s snow was a few inches high, and both the walk and the sides got a generous snowfall that made it look like there was a foot-tall embakment.

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And finally I crossed the highway to my stop.  This is an eerie shot of the sun continuing to rise behind another thick cover of bare trees in the foreground.  Still I cannot help but keep taking shots although I’ve done this many times.  The concrete is glistening with melting snow.  It looks like it just rained but that’s actually the ice melting away.  Slow, though, it may be.

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I can’t believe they’re saying we’re going to get some snow today.  Yesterday’s skies were prettier — now all I have is another shade of grey above.  We’re home sitting warm and toasty — the thing with snow and rain is it warms the atmosphere up, save for the natural cold that you feel from snow still on the ground.  (Imagine how dry ice cools something in your cooler.)

Winter is a photographer’s dream come true but it stops being a pleasant one once you try and go about your normal day with the snow all around you.  I got into the city eventually.  The snow is not as beautiful as it is down there because they plow the roads quicker, and the sidewalks are cleared faster.  (There is a law that property owners must take care of the public spaces around them within four hours from the end of a snowstorm.)

No more snow, please.  Keeping my fingers crossed I get my wish.

Chicken Cobb Salad for me, please

Chicken Cobb Salad LunchDieting makes lunch a little complicated because it means thinking healthy. I opted for a Chicken Cobb Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing (14pts) from Pret A Manger which has an out let in all four directions from where my building sits. They have outdone even the ever-present Mickey D’s.

I went to a vacant guest office, closed the door and sat to enjoy my salad. I like salads because you can’t wolf them down in a rush. It took me all of 25 minutes at a leisurely pace. I feel full despite the fact that Pret’s salad’s are modestly sized. It gave me a chance to soak in the view from this corner office and just spend a quiet lunch hour. (I told the receptionist I was going to pray.

Well, it was a quiet moment to reflect and pray.

I’m praying for my family back home, for this young mother who wrote me and whose questions on law school I will answer over the weekend (promise!), and for those who don’t know prayer or what it’s all about.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday into Friday in 5 minutes

Thursday to Friday Blog GraphicI’ve had this window open for most of the evening and here I am finally getting ready to head off into la-la land.

I had to stay home today to take care of the mother-in-law and of course, Angelo.  My caregiver called in sick.  As it was easier for me to take a day off, I promptly called in my “emergency time off” card.  And just as I couldn’t do anything when I got the 7:30-ish text from my caregiver saying she wouldn’t be able to come in, I guess the boss had no choice but to just be his usual self-sufficient self sans his ever dependable Executive Assistant today.

I tried to avoid logging on to do any work except for the end of the day.  I was, after all, supposed to be off.  I didn’t ask to work from home.. I actually gave a day for this.

We capped the day with a light dinner at the neighborhood Mickey D’s, picked up some odds and ends at the Asian store then headed home.

I just got some news from home which makes me wish there weren’t 10,000 miles between New York and Manila.  Alas, it is more than just 10,000 miles — it’s work, home, Angelo.  So the 10,000 miles stays.

Amen.

From rain to sunshine

Rainy afternoon in New York City

I’m probably being overly optimistic with the blogpost title, but it’s stopped raining this Saturday, and the sun is being lazy, hiding behind some clouds.  We were pelted with rain and wind yesterday as you can see from the view from my window above taken late Friday and it rained all night.  It’s just nature taking care of us again, making sure we have enough water to sustain spring into summer.  Thankfully — at least in our area, that is — we didn’t have an over-abundance of mother nature’s blessing.

I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Hoping to create a few pieces, and sending off some Zentangled Mail Art from Swap-bot that you can read more about at my craft blog, Gotham Chick, once I’m able to post (link to be supplied when the post is uploaded…).  I was supposed to mail it out this Saturday, but I ended up leaving my ‘inserts’ in the office.  (Mailing on Monday then!

I did my postcard giveaway video in connection with some lenticular (3D) postcards I picked up from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) which I had picked up this week.  I got so excited seeing the new postcards displayed on their rack when I hopped over the museum shop before meeting up for the ride home, I had to grab a copy plus an extra before they ran out.  I had advertised the giveaway at our Postcrossing Philippines Facebook group and I promised the drawing would be my Saturday.  I wanted to show that it was all done above board, so the video pertaining to the actual drawing is straight-through, uncut, so there are no substitutions, cuts or what-not.  All fair!  =)  I’m sending the winner’s postcard prize (I had them choose the artist) via snail mail with some extra goodies.  Playing postcard santa!

I guess now that THAT’s done, I can look at maybe beginning another Philippine Map hand-drawn postcard before the weekend ends.  (I currently have five finished which I am dying to post but scanning the PC has been too much trouble.  I will try again next week.)

So here’s the video I worked on this evening.  I’m totally bushed after editing it and putting music to it, so no, you don’t have to bear with my narration/spiel.  It was fun to make, though.

If you’re interested to get any of the postcards in the video, please e-mail me at postcardmailbox at gmail.com.

Enjoy!