Those Unexpected Encounters

I have been blogging for 18-19 years now— having started when blogs started to blossom. I had an “online journal” before the blog and I think I managed to move some of my earlier posts to my new space. I did start on another platform, and I eventually moved a majority of my blog.com posts to WordPress when I made my home here.

Through the years, I’ve “met” people who bumped into my corner of the blogosphere and said hello. I have received countless emails from the lawyer wannabes with their questions and reactions to my posts here. (That’s the reason those posts have their own page in the navigation bar on top.). Some have since become lawyers, thanking me after many years and telling me they made it. My heart is full.

There are those whose blogs became favorite stops for me — and who, although we have not met, feel like old friends as we follow each other on social media. (Paging the Two Jeromes)

I know I’m not killing it readership-wise, but I’m happy having my space here, being able to write what I want. No pressure. Full artistic freedom. The interaction with my readers being an added and very heartwarming plus.

I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet some of the people who have read my blabbering here. Thrice. And I count those three readers now as friends.

The first was Jeanne who I bumped into in my then PinayFRANCOPHILE blog which no longer exists. She was a Filipina living in Paris with her son, and we managed to meet in Paris during my second visit there in 2004. We lost touch for a bit but reconnected on Instagram a few years ago and manage to take a peek into each other’s lives through our posts. (Thank you, social media!)

Second was Lou from the Midwest who used to have a blog on Multiply where I maintained a mirror site. We met each other when she visited New York, and then again when Angelo and I were in Chicago for a cousin’s wedding. She and I and have tried to keep in touch via email. I have a standing invitation to see her next time in Baguio where she now lives. Knowing how she’s just a hop, skip and a jump away from my pledge of a pilgrimage to Manaoag each time I’m in the Philippines, I can’t wait for the next time I get to fly home and maybe sit down for a quick lunch with her, even if I have a standing invitation to stay a night or two. I am aiming low to keep expectations at bay, but can’t wait.

The third is Elaine, a fellow New Yorker who I first met when she was pregnant with her first child 7 years ago, and who is a very dear friend now even if we don’t get to see each other often. She originally found me by doing a random search for Filipinos in New York — and the results point to my spot right here. (Go and try..) Sure, life does get in the way and sometimes there are long silences in between our almost everyday connecting when we do manage — but like I told her this weekend when we finally got to grab lunch and spend a few hours together, friendships take a lot of work, and I appreciate that she’s been there through all these years.

With Elaine last Friday

I don’t really think aboutwho is reading when I write the words that make up the posts I publish. I do know there is someone reading — and it’s a conversation between the writer and the reader, even if I don’t hear your reaction to the things I write. And when I do get a comment which is few and far between, I get the affirmation that there is someone out there who somehow was able to relate to what I said. And there, the conversation begins.

Those who have been reading my posts here from way back have a sense of how my life has changed through the years. I have always worked hard to be truthful and honest, without giving too much away. (You will hardly see a photo of me in my posts, for one..) As someone told me, the stories bring them “there” — wherever it is I’m at.

I am grateful for the friends I have found. From what started as just my ramblings, I have reaped the rewards of friends who have stepped out of the imaginary pages of my space here, giving more than I would have ever thought possible just by putting my thoughts and feelings into words. Unexpected encounters in a most unexpected space — for which I am eternally grateful. Who would have thought..

There are several others who had floated in and drifted away just as quietly as they walked in. Those encounters, no matter how brief, validated my presence here. Just like in real life where we meet people and see some of them leave — some for good, and some for a brief spell only to come back again, ready to give us that hug when we meet up. Those who have found my world in words here have done the same. Some continue to read no matter how far apart my posts may be, and some have moved on — and that’s okay. I enjoy and cherish what’s here now — and I am always grateful for whatever I had, but never regretting that which I don’t have anymore.

So if you have the time to send me a note, you can either leave a comment here, or drop me a line at pinaynewyorker @ gmail dot com. Let’s get a conversation going..

Friends that are gold

Down in #BryantPark this lovely, lovely day.. #LookingDown from #41floorsabove .. #myNYC #mynewyork #nynewyorkcity #NewYork #NewYorkCity #manhattan #midtown #midtownNYCI am a very sociable person with a wide circle of friends.  I’m one of those people who wouldn’t be lost spending an entire day with people I have never met, because I would be comfortable among strangers.  In my almost fifty years on this planet, I have been fortunate to have found some enduring friendships that make me feel rich and wealthy in love and loyalty.

It used to feel natural — I was just friendly.  But through the years, I have come to realize that friendships take nurturing.  They take some work — not always a lot — but you have to put a conscious effort to grow the friendship.  You have to have the patience to deal with your friend’s quirks– if he or she is perpetually late, you just grin and bear it as you twiddle your thumbs in wait.  If he or she seems to have multiple personalities, you would know to take a deep breath when it’s the evil monster who takes her over and her fangs and horns appear out of nowhere.  When there is an inordinately long silence and it becomes uncomfortable and worrying, you will pick up the phone or write her an email and take the first step and pick up the conversation from the last time or start a new one.  You just can’t let it be, or that friend becomes just another one of those people who just go in and out of your life.  You just can’t leave it at that.  And if, for some reason, you don’t see eye to eye and the hurt grips your heart and you keep away, you would return in time and not let the friendship wither away.  The ones that you let go are the ones that you choose to end.

They said that true friends are those who know all your faults but love you anyway.  With all my weaknesses and shortcomings, I am blessed with some broad minded and kind people who can take me with all my charm, self-absorption and overbearing personality.  (Oh, I do have my good traits, but anyone and everyone can be good!).   I have been fortunate to have some incredible people who have seen me through my lowest of lows, and who have celebrated even just me being me with love and appreciation.  In my weakest moments, their words remind me of who I am and what I can do.  Just thinking of them brings me back to that moment when I saw myself through their eyes, and I find strength and inspiration in that..

So even when just getting together for dinner to catch up or celebrate some milestone or other takes weeks and weeks to schedule, I don’t give up.  (And who cares that my birthday was more than 2 months ago..?!!  We can still celebrate..)  There are people, and certainly friends, who are worth waiting for.  It’s all part of that emotional investment you make in a relationship — whether romantic or platonic.

I am grateful for the way people enrich my life day to day.  There are times when a simple word or act of kindness like a heartfelt “Thank you” can spell the difference between carrying me through a trying moment or simply getting me from one hug to the heart to the next.  I am even grateful for the missteps of others that have led me to bigger and better things.  When people walk away, they leave a void in our universe that someone else will fill.  Even between friends.

Even a simple question if you are well this morning can bring a smile to your face.  Small acts to let you know they are thinking of you instead of just presuming that “all is well.”

The last few months have been very revealing in showing me who my real friends are.  Sadly, some who I had thought had become lifelong friends in the last decade or so, have shown themselves to have been friends merely by association.  But that is not a total loss.  At least now, I know.

In my heart of hearts, I know, too, that not everyone is meant to stay.  There are those who will walk into our lives and move and rock our world in broad strokes and then leave — yes, sometimes, for good.  It’s just how life goes.  And when that happens, we have to learn to let go.  That had not always been easy for me, but I have come to accept that other people’s coming and going is something beyond my control.  They choose to be there or they don’t.  Knowing that, I have learned to laugh and to appreciate the times spent together — grateful for the ‘now’ — and hope for the best but not pin my hopes on tomorrow.  If I wake up tomorrow and one or the other has left, I take what they had given me to enrich my life and move on with it and I will wish them well, and I will hope that the universe brings them my way again.

And if they are meant to stay, I am grateful for the hand that holds mine as I walk in my high heels, or the strong hand that pushes me forward when I hesitate and commands me to go explore the world.  I am a better person for all the good and the bad things that have come way — and all the people who have touched my life.  Now, I no longer thihnk those who hurt me had taken something away from me — I’d like to think that the pain had made me stronger.  I have my own personal cheering squad from different corners in my own universe.  Their words of encouragement and affirmation give me a stronger armor and have brought me to where I am now.

The journey is far from over.  Even with all that I’ve gone through, I know I have far to go.  I refuse to be cowed by my own fear of what is yet to come — because I know that I don’t walk alone.  There will be hands holding mine, and other minds thinking when my brain refuses to process anything those times life overwhelms me.  I will go back to the laughter and the smiles and the sighs — and find strength in that.

I guess you can say that I view the world with a panoramic lens now.  I try to go beyond what is immediately visible in my frame, and pan from left to right, trying to capture the scenery as best as I can.  I don’t quite capture it as faithfully as I often want, but I get the bigger picture instead of just one view.  I look at every person I encounter as a new chance to learn and be enriched.  Even my mail guy who comes by jovially four times a day on my floor had his history notes to share.  If I didn’t bother to talk to him, I would’ve even have known he was a student of History.  It’s those little bits and pieces about people that we should open our ears and hearts to.  We never know what we might learn along the way, and if we keep our eyes closed, what we might be missing.

I thank those who have chosen to keep me in their stable of friends — the privilege is mine.. My life is truly better for the wisdom, love and laughter you have, and continue, to share with me.  I really, really hope you will all stay awhile until it’s time for this lady to call it a day and ride off into the sunset for good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misty Monday

I actually have a monicker that’s shoe-related somewhere, and the number one question I get asked when people find out I’m Filipina is how many shoes I have.. I will proudly say not as many as the infamous Imelda, but just enough.  Unlike my Starbucks mugs and postcards, there’s no shoe collection to speak of.  However, I am a good shopper, so a “Buy-One-Get-One-Half-Off” deal on rain boots at a boutique near me saw me getting 2 pairs. One was a short pair, and the other the usual tall ones.


#HappyFeet this #rainy day in #NYC. #rainboots #shoelove #shoes #boots #readyfortherain #cuteshoes
I picked them in a funky floral print and a lace mock up, and I’m quite happy with my purchase.  So my feet will be well dressed and dry as the rains come.  Like today.  $42 for both and I even got a free item — I chose a pair of practical flip flops.

Happiness!


#FoggyNYC #nofilter #cantseeathing #mynyc #myny #NewYorkCity

Monday wasn’t meant to be a sunny day and it was obvious from the start.  It was wet outside (hence, the raingear), and temperatures have dropped yet again.  (Our heat is on, for one. =(..)  I know, I shouldn’t be complaining.  But we expect April showers and it’s June.  Almost summer, imagine?

So what do I do on days like this?  I wear my rainboots, of course.  Dress in the proper coat (pink raincoat to the rescue) and just brave the elements.  The rain was pervasive but mild.  We don’t really get mist in the Philippines.  Like I kiddingly tell the people who ask me about seasons back home, we only have the wet and dry seasons.  No spring, no fall and no winter.  It’s summer or it’s not.

Like snow, there is a certain magic to the mist.  You don’t see it but feel it falling gently on your skin.  There are times when it falls strong enough for you to feel wet enough to whip out the umbrella, but there are times when you will just let it fall and put your face up to the wind.

In a naughty mood, I had texted a friend earlier if he could make the rain stop.  His curt yet hilarious reply: “I can’t make anything happen these days.  However, I spoke briefly to the rain department who said that I should stop calling them.”  I literally laughed out loud, while on the phone, upon reading his quip.

It was misty when I stepped out for a quick coffee and hug from a dear old friend from college who popped up from Connecticut.  I suddenly get a message he was at the consulate, five blocks away.  It had been a while since we last saw each other — so I grabbed the chance to catch up.  Those chance meetings — unplanned, though they may be — turn out to be the things that make one’s day on a misty Monday like yesterday bearable.  And don’t forget about the rain department!

Tuesday sees us with similar weather, but I can hear the birds chirping outside.  That can only mean that it hasn’t been as bad.  Not quite as windy (hopefully), and maybe, the sun will wake up from it’s slumber and stretch out even for a bit.  We’re not even hitting 60 today, temperature-wise, and that IS cold.  I guess it’s a day for coats, and maybe a decent pair of warm leggings.

This is the way we live here in New York.  Makes me miss the heat and humidity that everyone hates about Manila.. If you guys only knew..

Keeping the conversation going

Friday Sunset illuminating my favorite Chrysler Building.  I can stare at this elegant building all day.  #Friday #sunset #midtown #midtowneast #midtowncityscape #mynyc #mynewyork #chryslerbuildingI started writing this post Saturday morning when I was a little off, having stayed up the previous night talking to the folks on the other side of the world back home — catching up.  That’s one thing I like about Fridays — I need not worry about the following day being another work day — although there are week nights when the tolling of midnight doesn’t really matter and I find myself sleeping later than I should.  Going on 15 years now living on the other side of the world, I’ve gotten good at finding ways and means to keep the conversation going despite the distance.  The time difference can be a problem but it just means adjusting to the fact that the sun being up here means it’s evening or morning back home.  So it’s late night for me or for them — the point is, you stop thinking of timezones.

Still, I marvel at how communicating in our every day lives has gotten much easier with all the many forms of pinging someone even halfway around the world.  And yet there are many instances in our every day lives when we fail to keep the lines open, and something drops.  When things trail off and then there’s silence.

Sometimes it’s easy to reopen the lines.  There are people in our lives who can come and go without us feeling their absence.  You know, those friends who can be “absent” for months on end and yet when they return, it’s as if you just spoke with them yesterday.  And there are those who just fade away.  It’s strange that I used to think that was sad.  These days, it’s just life, that’s all.  I’ve had former friends who went that route.  Just one or two.  One, I didn’t really care about.  (Crazy Korean woman married to a friend of the hubby.)  The other I had known much longer, and from whom I had expected more — but then again, not everyone can live up to our expectations, just as not everything turns out the way we want them to.

I’ve come to realize that those who keep the conversation going are the ones worth keeping.  Friendship, or any relationship for that matter, requires work.  You cannot just stay quiet or just say there’s always next time or I’ll say hello, eventually.  Maybe I’m also at fault for thinking that way about some friends.  Wake up call, it is.  Or not.  Some people we care about, others we don’t.

Some conversations we can keep going, others we don’t really care about.  In either case, it’s a deliberate effort — it doesn’t just happen.  As Randy Crawford used to sing.. “One hello… is how it starts..”

Hello from New York.

The little things that surprise you

I should be in bed.  I should be asleep.  Instead, I’m listening to jazz music and writing here.  (Oh, and i have a receipt to print out for tomorrow… but again, I’m here.)

I tried to look at my blog dashboard Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.  I just looked, I didn’t type anything up.  And yet there were  a ton of things to write about.  I just didn’t have the energy nor the time.  Blame it on work.  (I know, right? Such a distraction!)

But tonight I vowed I would write, before all the inspiration and thoughts disappear into the ethernet and I am rendered stumped for a blog post again.
All bundled up and ready to brave the cold tonight, and looking out the window at a stunning view of Midtown Manhattan.  #coldautumn #nyc #midtown #midtowneast #midtowncityscape  #midtownmanhattan  #bundledup

It was another long day Thursday, and I was looking forward to a break at the end of the day but everything went awry at the last minute.  So all thoughts of leaving early and taking a leisurely stroll through the line of shops in Bryant Park had to be set aside to take care of some last minute tech glitches.  Problem was solved soon enough, but it was too late to do anything more beyond wait for the bus and get on it.

All bundled up with extra layers of clothing, I was ready to brave the cold.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Everybody seems to think the snow was here in Manhattan, but it was way upstate.  Still, we’re all grateful for the concern.  (My brother, Abril, actually sent me a message asking how we were doing against the cold front.  Cold, I told him.. then I saw the snow up in Buffalo and figured that’s what the rest of the world is seeing.  That’s practically like Bicol and Manila, so no, we’re cold but we’re not covered with snow.)

All week long, I’ve been hit by little surprises that made me smile.  From a note from BFF Donna in Australia, to a very cheerful greeting from my “half boss”, the President of our Asian operations  (a Brit who is based in Oz) telling me something looks different when he saw me — and although he couldn’t place it, he said it looked good.  Two things, I told him — I’ve lost weight, and the hair is a lighter color.    (He’s not quite my boss because I only help him when he’s here in New York — the real boss in my world is actually a Chief something something as I describe him.)  BFF Fe showered me with her wisdom all week long — the universe has spoken.

A friend who I hadn’t heard from for two weeks suddenly called just to say hi.  We were hoping to catch up but missed each other due to meetings.  Another who usually wouldn’t e-mail has e-mailed twice.  (Mental telepathy?)  And it turns out my courtyard neighbor is close cousins with a friend from my college days — and he has visited twice and I have never even seen him.  I pinged him on Messenger this morning while his cousin-in-law was seated next to me on the bus, and he was also so blown away by the fact that I actually know one of his closest relatives.

Little things that made me smile, and now as I look back on it, I find myself smiling an even bigger smile remembering.  That’s what happy thoughts do to us — they provide us the wall to lean on when we feel spent, defeated or on the verge of breaking down.  Or what give us a dose of optimism when we are buried in work or other worries.  Those little surprises that we would otherwise ignore individually, when summed up together gives us a better picture of how things aren’t all that bad, even when we feel like the cold is sapping us of much needed energy and optimism.

Take them for what they are instead of over thinking them — and you might yet be pleasantly surprised to see the week hasn’t been that bad at all.

 

 

 

Monday Musings – bits and pieces here and there

I tried — rather unsuccessfully — to do another Daily Prompt post yesterday.  There are times when a topic appeals to me, but no matter how I try, I cannot pull a coherent post together.  For the most part, it’s because I kept trying to censor myself and not be too obvious.  And so I just gave up and decided all the subterfuge was defeating the very purpose of writing.  I don’t think that post will ever see the light of day.

Moving on..

My head is pounding and no amount of painkillers seem to be helping.  I’m buried in work and not even Robert Palmer seems to help.  He’s singing in the background on ultra-low volume, but I can hear the percussions very clearly.  (I still mourn his loss.)  I am almost counting the minutes to the time I can leave work, but the prospect of braving the cold makes me ambivalent about that.  Then again, it would be nice to take a nap between Manhattan and home..

When I can’t quite write longer than a paragraph or two on a Monday, I collate all those scattered thoughts into one single piece I’ve started calling Monday Musings.. here’s this week’s.

Cannelloni —  pray tell me, Jonathan, I don’t remember what that’s about.  Those who know me know Jonathan is my friend of thirty-something years from pre-law in UP Manila, and one of those who inspired me to pursue the dream of becoming a lawyer as he jumped into law school a year ahead of me.  He is also one of my dearest friends who knows me to the core, and is my personal attorney.  (Pro bono, or compensated with love and affection.)  I had copied a status thread where you were supposed to leave a comment if you were my friend and just one word — a single word – as to how we met.

Jonathan wrote “Cannelloni”.   It wasn’t so much what he wrote but that he wrote — and I felt the tears welling up.  I took a deep breath and just smiled.   I used to love Cannelloni — I believe from Angelino’s, a rather famous Italian restaurant in Makati and Greenhills from the 80s.  And I can’t remember, for the life of me, what one of my favorite dishes has to do with how he and I met.  We were from different cliques in the university but I ended up being the only girl in the group — everyone’s younger sister — the one who drank a soda whenever they ordered another round of beer.  I still can’t remember… (Note to self: Write and ask..)

nyc2008Starbucks mugs — to display or not to display..  I have been collecting Starbucks mugs (and only Starbucks, please) for 14 years now, and I have been meaning to re-arrange them and display them again.  (I just need to rewrap them in clear plastic to prevent them from collecting dust and grime.)  Events in the last 12 months had made me rethink that, almost to the point of making me think of packing them up and storing them away.  I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I’m maybe 20 mugs behind photographing the collection, but I never really stopped adding new ones.  And of course, friends who knew about my collection brought me additions to the set from places as far as Dubai and India, and Alan had brought me one from Jordan during the last business trip to Iran which, unfortunately, hasn’t been invaded by our favorite brew.  My siblings sent me Tagaytay and Cebu.  (And I think Bohol.. not sure..)  What to do..

 

 

 

Pseudo Siblings (or those people who are almost but not quite the real thing)

Even after living in New York the last 14 years, I haven’t quite gotten used to being away from my siblings who are all in Manila. Despite all the technology that allows me to talk to them as if they were just minutes away and not a half day ahead, or being able to spend 2-3 weeks with them in person practically once a year, it’s just not quite the same. It doesn’t even help to know that the distance has continued to keep us closer than ever, and has not affected our bond as family — it actually makes it even worse. But I continue to try and cope my way…

I have always cherished the way my siblings and I have continued to build our relationships with each other. I feel so blessed to have been given each of them. And that includes my older brother who went to heaven after but a few hours on earth. He and I have an even more special relationship, because I know he watches over me and never fails to move me when he visits me in my dreams. I’ve only seen him as a baby, yet I know it’s him when he pops up in my nocturnal adventures.

The hardest part of being here in New York, is that I am 10,000 miles away from them. One of my coping mechanisms has been to take out their friends when they land in my part of the world for one reason or another.  Yes, even those I’ve never met before but whose connection to me is that they are “superfriends” or “buddies” of any of my siblings back home.

Most of them are surprised by the warm welcome — but it is always easy for me to be warm and friendly and cozy with those who I know share a special bond with the most special people to me.  Be it for a single dinner or a walk around the city or what have you, I cherish those moments when I find myself with them again, even if only vicariously.  I miss them that much even if we see each other every other year (or even every year like in most recent times) and even when they are but a touch of a button away on Viber or Facebook or a dial away on the cellphone.

So in the last couple of months, I’ve met up with two of my sister’s friends, and a pair of my brother’s.  Each one has been a different encounter but rich with a lot of laughter and reminiscing and just plain getting to know you.  I relish those moments shared because they translate to time spent with the sibling who is our common friend.

Val visited a few months back and had helped me to get a better insight into my sister’s current circle and world.  Although it is not the same as meeting up with my sister’s friends who I had known from their shared childhood or high school years, Val gave me a window into my sister’s world outside of the circle I normally see her in.  She was quick to laugh like my sister, and it touched me that she told me she had connected with my sister between the first and last time I got to sit down with her here in New York, and she had told Ofie, “Mahal na mahal ka ng Ate mo.”  (Your older sister loves you so much.)

Then came Edlyn who I had known from a visit a few years back and who, like Ofie and I, is a Paulinian.  (We all shared the fact that our formative years were spent with the Sisters of St. Paul.)  We were supposed to attend aparty in Freehold, NJ the same evening Edlyn was free, but it was more important for me to see her, so I sent father and son off without me and planned a special night.  I picked a restaurant that I had been wanting to go to for the longest time, Esca, and I went into the city on a Saturday evening not knowing it was the start of the (in)famous traffic-snarling UN Week here in New York.  (I would’ve loved to pique your palate with the sumptuous photos I had taken but I lost my iPhone two days ago.. along with the thousands of pictures I had stored in it.)

I have always loved Edlyn’s positivity and vivacious personality.  Even on Facebook, her page drips and oozes with optimism and words of encouragement without being soupy or overly religious.  (Although I don’t mind those, in general.)  She had an infectious laughter (tossing her head back in wild abandon, several times almost hitting a server sidling up behind her — caught unaware by her sudden jolt of joy).  I was there to just have a dose of that, but I got so much more.  A professional life coach, she was in town for a spiritual conference and to take on several other events from coast to coast.  We discussed so many things over that sumptuous meal that I would’ve stayed longer at her apartment, but I didn’t want to rob her of a chance to catch up with some Zs in preparation for the long day ahead.

She doesn’t see my sister as often as they used to see each other, but she is close enough to know the latest that’s been going on in her life.  Edlyn’s focus, though, was me — and she shared her heart so openly and with no reservation that I soon realized we were brought together for a reason beyond catching up about my sister.  Of the many things Edlyn told me and asked me, she told me “It all comes back to ‘YOU’.  Always remember that — you are the most important thing.”

Even now, that gives me pause to think and reflect.  And I see her tossing her head in wild laughter again. =)

Just a few days ago, one of my brother’s friends arrived with another friend/officemate in tow.  They were a nice pair of young travelers trying to take in the city — very pretty Anna and my stand-in Nikki superfriend, Romeo.  (Nikki is my youngest brother who is now a physical therapist in one of the bigger hospitals in Manila.)  Never met them, and I never even started communicating with Romeo until Nikki connected us just before he left.

First, I took them out to lunch which caused quite a stir with the boss for the length of time I was away.  (I was royally scolded!)  Then we met up again at night to take in the lights and sounds of Times Square, Fifth Avenue and Central Park.  I played photographer, tour guide and jokingly, “Pimp”.  We managed two sets of photos with New York’s finest which were the biggest hit in their photostream of photos taken here in NYC.

Sitting across the table from Romeo at dinner at Rosie O’Grady’s felt like sitting across the table from my dearest Nikki.  He came into our lives when I was 18, and had always treated him as my baby, even now when he’s a 30 year old professional.  I had always told myself that if I were never blessed with a child, he would be the one to fill that gap in my life.  But even now that I have my own son, I look to him as the baby I saw grow up before my eyes into the beautiful person that I am so proud of right now.

I wanted it to be Nikki in those pictures we shot — and I went all out in the hopes that seeing Romeo here would make him want to come here and join me — finally.

These people were brought into my life here in New York through my siblings, but they have touched my life in a more direct way and I feel that my life has been enriched by these encounters.  Beyond the care packages they brought, they brought me a piece of my siblings that I wouldn’t see otherwise, viewing it from the perspective of being one of the family.  And over and above that, they all brought something different to add to my life experiences.  For the special friendship they shared with the people who mean the most to me, I let them in with open arms and was able to find new friends of my own and for that I am a better person.

I opened my heart to them as if I had known them forever, and because they saw an older sister in me, they did the same.  We became instant friends because one of my siblings was a very dear friend of theirs — and now, they are my friends, too.  For that I am eternally grateful, and I can’t wait for the next pseudo-sibling to come along… hopefully soon.

 

 

 

How are you?

(I had drafted this post yesterday morning and had erased and rewritten the post after midnight earlier but the time stamp and order here got messed up… So I’m reposting.)

There are days when a simple question, heartfelt and not conversational — a genuine inquiry into how you are doing — can make a whole difference as you end what has been a challenging day. BFF Do wrote that simple query in a short e-mail from work.  She is 16 hours ahead of me.  We can hardly “catch” each other on regular weekends.

Mental telepathy, I told her.  But I was too tired to answer the question.  She understood.  It’s like a question that seeks to reassure.  I am truly blessed.

I really should be sleeping.  I have an early start tomorrow as the boy has a unit test.  We did our review tonight, but it doesn’t hurt to do more practice.  Plus, we will walk to school together.  I’m on solo duty again.  I cooked chicken for my mother-in-law, cooled it down and put it in individual containers and stashed them in my fridge.  I even managed to bake a polymer clay experiment which needs a whole lot of work but which was productive because I know now where I need to do a work around.

And tomorrow is another day. 

I hope I find the strength not to butt heads with those who are not worth the trouble at work.  It is, after all, just work.  I hope tomorrow will be sunnier.  I am not optimistic that will be the case, but hey, I might wish the sun back. 

A happy thought — sunshine.  =)

And more sunshine… just got a text from my sister.. “Love you, too, sis..”  I can never have too much love.  Today I am being showered by it.  And like I wrote this morning, I have constantly felt “His” presence — through it all, He was there with me.  Maybe that’s why I’m still up. 

Thank you, Lord, for another day.

To unfriend or to limit on Facebook

I’ve been on Facebook a while now and it’s been helpful but not the be-all and and-all  of my online or real social life.  When I started out on it, I was just overwhelmed by the thrill of finding long-lost friends, even acquaintances both from school and from work.  To date, I have 600+ friends which was the idea at the start, but which now, is getting to be quite a bother.

With all the changes on FB since, I’m just glad I can choose to limit what I see and who I see.  Still, it’s a tedious process of selecting preferences for each person whose profile, status update, photos, or what not I happen to see when I log on sometime during the day.

I have successfully culled my chat list and only a dozen or so relevant people see me online when I am.  I have been good with avoiding playing games while on FB, too, so I have no “harvests” or “neighbors” to worry about.  The thought of unplugging from FB has occurred to me, but I have to admit that it’s one way I keep in touch with the world I left behind when I moved to New York 13 years ago. (Wow, that long.)  That’s the reason why I’ve thought about it but don’t see myself doing it.

I am also trying to be politically correct about my FB conduct, because I find it unnerving or awkward that I’ve been “limited” by certain “friends”.  For some, I don’t really care.  For others, it raises suspicion.  (Why?)  And what amplifies it is that FB now gives you a choice about how much you see of a “friend” on your list.  So the question arises, what is it that you don’t want me to see in YOUR profile?  Hmmmm… of course we can all proclaim “PRIVACY PLEASE”.  Still.

And I have to wonder why I was just not unfriended (or better yet, blocked) and simply limited.  So this person still wants to “see” me but doesn’t want me to have the same view into their world.  Again, the awkwardness of unfriending.  Why would one unfriend me and then risk the chance of being in a social gathering with me again — how does the FB strain parlay into an actual interaction in person?  A-W-K-W-A-R-D.

I have only blocked one person ever – and she will stay on that list only because I’ve made up my mind that her world and my world will never intersect on a social plane.  I’ve “forgiven” whatever it is she had done to m ake me block her in the first place — but I’d like to leave it at that.

Other than that, there’s the “unfriend” option.  The “Limited friend” status — which, if you ask me, should be the norm for everyone.

I am not a very public person — proof of which is that I never put a picture of myself in the “avatar” in all the iterations of my personal blog.  Somehow at 47, and with a good even if grainy picture, I felt it was about time.  Besides, I felt it gave the blog a personality.  Neither am I very private — and you will see that if you’ve read through my posts.  I recognize my being part of larger world.  A recluse, I will never be.  I am too much of a people person to just “disappear”.

FB has had its downsides.  In the hundred of greetings that I get during my birthdays, it hurts when people supposedly closer to close to me don’t even greet me publicly in their facebook profiles or on my wall.  It makes me wonder if that point is that someone shouldn’t see.  So I stopped greeting those who seem to make a conscious effort not to.

Same goes for tagging photographs.  I have the setting on such that any tagging would require my permission.  Again, I don’t want to just be tagged by anyone.  One time I tagged several photos and the tag wasn’t approved, I just untagged and left it at that.

I’m not trying to overthink it.  Just thinking out loud.  And wondering — on this colder Sunday afternoon before folding the clothes that just came from the dryer.

Later.

Downtown

Yesterday was the last day that Donna and I saw each other in New York, as she and her family are getting ready to fly out to Las Vegas before heading back Down Under to Sydney next week. it was a simple spend-the-day-together kind of day, and while I would’ve loved to spend more time with Donna, she was feeling under the weather, so I brought her all the way to NJ via the Path train and doubled back by late afternoon.

Donna is one of my dearest friends from high school.  Although we met in high school, we only became close halfway through, sometime in my junior year.  We also ended up in different universities, but this didn’t prevent us from visiting each other in our respective campuses.  Our lives had its ups and downs just as our friendship did — and her departure for Australia and then my subsequent move to New York even brought us farther, but there is something about real friendship that keeps it alive through time and space.

We spent the day Midtown and at the end of the day, I brought her all the way to New Jersey via the PATH train, and then I doubled back after I had safely deposited her to Tita Doy who graciously fetched her at the train station.  It was a lonely ride back.  I’ve had several of those rides after I brought Mom or Ofie to the airport during their prior visits to New York.  I’m trying not to dwell on it, but there’s no denying it.

I ended up downtown where I chose to be adventurous and look for the express bus stop which I found on Park Place.  I used to know the twists and turns of this part of Manhattan, back when I worked for a non-profit on Wall Street in 2001.  The landscape has changed and continues to change.  It is the same that it is not.

I looked up and saw this stark contrast of the new and the old, side by side.  One day soon it there will be a building in front of these two concrete giants.  There is a construction site from my vantage point which is still in its early stages.  Perhaps next year, when I go back (IF I find myself there again, that is,), I will see the new building rising.

I was exhausted by the time I got home.  I know it wasn’t just the physical exhaustion exacerbated by the summer heat.  My heart has a way of taking my body over when there is a dark cloud hanging over me.  I’ll get over it.

Donna will always just be heart beat away.

Downtown