While on the bus..

…I decided I would attempt to write a post after I unsuccessfully tried all week long.

It’s been a busy and heavy week.  I have had a pretty good start of the year overall, but it had to hit a low point at some time. It’s not the worst of the worst or the lowest of lows, but it’s one of those weeks where I am happy to say it’s over.

Well, almost.
Yes, #weStillHaveSnow! #OnMyWayToWork this #Friday.. #happyWeekend! #nyc #ny #mynewyork #winter2016
Yes, we stil have snow around us, and walking through the snow laden pavement back home actually feels like walking through a frozen hallway.  I have actually stopped wishing it away and just decided it is best to wait for Mother Nature to melt it down.  Then I heard we might actually get more snow and of course, the reality of it is that winter is hardly over.

I have been trying to strike a balance between staying cool and letting my emotions go.  Holding my anger in has always been a struggle, probably because I am a true child of Aries.  But I try.  For the most part, I know I have had better success the last year or so, probably because the lessons I have learned have helped to train me to not so easily give in to letting the anger get the better of me.  But we all have our breaking point, and much like we find ourselves cheating on a diet, we sometimes end up forgetting our resolve not to give in to our weaknesses.

I am human.  I am passionate and given to letting my emotions get the better of me.  And I know that doesn’t make it any easier– but I think I’ve mellowed down quite a lot.

I no longer pounce — I usually hold my thoughts and feelings in and I process through it before opening my mouth.  I have tried to get past the pain and the anger that had long been simmering inside me.  I try to remind myself how far I’ve come..  That I am in a better place.. That I am better off without those people who chose to walk out of my life or who had decided to keep their distance.  I have respected their choice, and I pray they respect mine.

A year ago, I decided I wanted a new life without having to live knowing my existence was an inconvenience being tolerated..  I can only imagine the insults and hours of laughter and amusement others enjoyed at my expense.  A friend tells me I should stop being considerate and think of that — because why should I care about taking a step back instead of throwing a punch when they have been kicking me black and blue behind my back for the longest time.  As I find myself digesting that I am torn between anger and sadness.  I haven’t quite made up my mind about whether I will throw the punch or just sit it out just yet, but it has given me pause when I think about what to do next.

I dread moments when thoughts like that envelop my heart.

My usual escape is to run a list that make that all seem small in the grand scheme of things.  I have pictures I go back to which bring a smile to my face.  I have snippets of things that happened or happy moments etched in my mind.  And while I am not in the happiest place on earth, I am in a pretty darned happy place.  I have surrounded myself with people who know and understand me and who don’t require an explanation from me when I do something silly or create something just beyond fabulous.  I laugh harder and I see my son laughing harder as well.  We look at each other with a sense of partnership that speaks in a language he and I understand.  I have learned to look to the happy memories instead of wallowing in the pain of the heartaches that may still linger in my heart.

It’s a glass half full.

Getting off and jumping into the last day of the work week.  Happy Friday!NYC this Friday!

Journey to “Happy” – You made my day

This snapshot warms my heart as I remember walking this path one cold winter day not too long ago.  Sometimes something so ordinary can bring back a happy memory and it takes you to a happy place tucked somewhere in your heart. a happy thought, a happy plI’ve been meaning to write here the last 10 days.  I’ve been in and out of the site and the app.  I’ve been working on drafts (emphasis on “s”), but it’s just a tad difficult to get a coherent post out.  Or finish one.  Maybe it’s because it’s been soooooo cold in NYC of late that my brain is experiencing a literal “brain freeze”.  (Heaven forbid!  My dream is to grow old like Betty White and still be coherent, alert and still sexy in her 90s..)

I really don’t know how I can be writing here with a splitting headache — and maybe it’s just me trying to will the meds to finally kick in even on my second dose.  But maybe the subject matter will cause my endorphins to outwit the pain racking my head right now and instead bring me to a state of zen.  (Hoping.)

I’ve recently revised my Instagram profile to read:

Dinna. Filipina New Yorker. Passionate about motherhood, life, crafting and creativity.  On a journey to “Happy”.  On Flickr: PinayNewYorker. (emphasis supplied)

Like most people, sometimes I fall prey to the common misconception that “happiness” or “being happy” is always associated with something “big” or “pronounced” — and not “random”, which is usually how we come across this elusive “want” or “need”.  I’ve learned that sometimes all it takes is a simple act, whether to acknowledge a moment of “happy”, or to extend some kindness to another to make them smile.  And isn’t that what “happy” is all about?

That’s why I try to make it a point to say “Good morning” to the people manning the reception desks, whether they are from my company or not.  If I know them by name, I make it a point to greet them.  If I’m otherwise rushing to the second set of elevators taking me to my perch, I try to at least wave and mouth a “hello” or “good morning” to let them know people do notice them, even if the majority do not give a care.  Or I smile as a faint sign of acknowledgment when I meet strangers who take the effort to get out of my way when they see I’m trying to walk past.  Or when someone is wearing something particularly striking, that I mention how I love that magenta coat this stranger is wearing in the building lobby — or those fierce heels that the lady in the elevator in front of me happens to be wearing.  (Shoe love, BFF Fe!)

It doesn’t take much, but it can mean a lot to the person on the receiving end.

It can simply be a genuine smile that lets the other person read the message “I see you, and I like what I see.”  Or a nod of approval or smile that says “You’re awesome!”

The other day, a very elegant and sophisticated lady I work with gave me just that — a bit of kindness and she really made my day.  I’ve known her for as long as I’ve had this boss — three years now — and she always struck me as very well put together.  A stunningly tall African American lady who carried herself with aplomb, every inch the fashionista — and she knew how to pull even the simplest outfit into a real fashion statement.  After all, she was an interior designer by profession — and if you didn’t know what she did for a living, you’d think she was a supermodel.  Her taste for art and fashion were both impeccable.  This was one lady who knew beauty with a capital B-E-A-U-T-Y and she radiated it with a genuine smile every time.

I hadn’t seen her for a couple of months as she shuttles from state to state where there are ongoing projects for the company, and last Wednesday, I bumped into her in this long corridor that guests would go into on their way to the floor proper.  Even from afar, she lit up and exclaimed “You’re looking fabulous!” .. She and I met in the middle and hugged.  I was just happy to see her.. we did small talk and she had to usher her guests in.  I was on the way to do something else.  It was nice to see her again.  I told her she looked fab herself, but she always did!

I went about my day the usual way and on my way home, I did a refresh of the work email app, and there was this one e-mail that caught my attention from this same lady.

Subject matter: YOU…

Body: LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL!!!

A giant smile formed on my face.  She didn’t have to, and that she did, meant a lot.  That it was her who said it, meant a lot.  It was as if she had hugged me even tighter this time.  I wrote her a sincere thank you and told her she had made my day..

The next morning, I received a very short but sweet email from another friend which was a very sweet Good morning, wishing me well.. simply like that.  And that, too, made my day.

We all get these little nudges from everywhere around us, but we often fail to stop to recognize them as bits of happy — baby steps or giant leaps to that elusive place we’re all trying to find ourselves in.  Sometimes, you’re already there and you just fail to know it because you’re looking for that one huge dollop of “happy” that will take your breath away.  It isn’t always like that.

I’ve learned to embrace those ‘gifts’ that come each passing day and cherish them for what they are, letting them enrich me even just that one moment — and sometimes, in a more lasting way.  I remind myself I’m in a good place, and happy can be “here” and “right now”.  Being on the receiving end of those ‘gifts’ makes me want to give just as generously to others.  Sometimes, we don’t realize something so routine or simple or non-remarkable act can make someone else’s day and take them to a happy place, even just for a brief moment.

You made my day.

Be kind.  Be happy.  It all comes back to you.  Happy Friday, everyone..

My Friday Five

On the way to work, a “bus mate” got on the bus from his usual stop and I couldn’t help but take a hard look at his face because he seemed to be so angry at the world.  My seatmate who is a neighbor couldn’t help but notice, too, and she made a funny comment about how he looked so angry so early in the morning.  We were speaking in the vernacular, and I whispered to her the young man was Filipino, too.  But he did look so angry.  Or maybe he was just having a bad morning.  Then I thought I have bad mornings, too, but I try to smile, or I try to get out of that rut early in the morning to make it easier to carry during the day. 

That can make such a big difference when things aren’t working out as you were hoping they would.

I told my friend that back when I was in grade school, my family lived on the San Juan side just beyond Greenhills, and I went to school in St. Paul College of Pasig.  Every morning, I made sure that by the time the car crossed EDSA, I would look towards the traffic coming from the south and smile.  I’d hold that smile until I got off the car.  Back then it was more for the wrinkles I was trying to prevent, and so that I could start afresh before I started my day in school.

Smile.  As they used to say, it’s free — it doesn’t cost a pretty penny.

Here’s a new Friday Five.  So last week I got some done — and that wasn’t bad at all.   This week will be a little different because we’re driving to Washington DC with some cousins from Manila to see other cousins there and visit the nation’s capital.  Still, there are things that need to be put on the list.

1. Write G. And maybe C..  As those who read regularly probably know by now, I’m one of the few trying to keep the post office relevant and in business in this day and age of electronic this and that.  I’m trying to write regularly and have finally sent out the letter to L.  I am getting there!

2. Re-list at least 2 items in the shop. (Won’t have time to finish a piece but can certainly relist.)

3. Wire wrap crochet undrilled gemstone nuggets.. This I intend to do on the road as I’ve been able to do it on the bus, with my crochet hook and wire on hand.  I can save the actual wrapping for later.

4. Write a post over at GothamChick.  That blog has been languishing the last couple of weeks with nary a peep from me.  And not for lack of anything creative to do!

5. Send postcards home to Angelo from the trip.  This is how I’ve been documenting our travels  through the years, and while this is our nth visit to DC, there are always postcards to send and new things to write.

Hope you’re having a good Friday wherever you are — here’s to a great weekend for us all.

It was a cloudy morning but another sunrise is always reason to be grateful for another day… Happy Friday, everyone! #mynewyork #sunrise #happyfriday #weekend #grateful

 

Daily Prompt: Never been mellow? Me?

DAILY PROMPT: After a long day at work or school, what are your favorite ways to wind down and decompress?

I work 5 days a week, and I usually don’t end my day until closer to midnight.  I do get a chance to unwind an hour or two (if I’m lucky) before I finally go off to bed after the dishes and the food left over from dinner have been taken cared of.  It’s Friday and I’m trying not to overthink the prompt, so let me just enumerate the things that I do to wind down, spend some “me” time, and just chill.

1.  I catch up on my favorite shows, and actually stop whatever I am doing to watch if I can.   From its inception to last night’s episode, SCANDAL has been a staple of my Thursday night.  It’s just about the only show I can watch an episode of over and over again, one after the other.  (Think about repeating a song on your playlist over and over again like one extended loop.)  I love Shonda Rhimes, what can I say.  And I love Olivia Pope and Kerry Washington who plays her all the more.  Criminal Minds, Elementary and Grey’s Anatomy along with NCIS (who doesn’t love Mark Harmon?) can be watched on demand.  (Thank you Time Warner Cable!)

2.  I pick up my tools and I try to create a piece or experiment with my beads.  I know, I’ve been talking about this a while now.  And while I haven’t quite picked up the pace, I’ve started to re-organize, expirement again (project of the moment is wire-wrapping which I am having a ball with!), and I’ve relisted some items in the shop.  (Even managed one sale.)

Art journaling: zen tangled face3.  I write/draw an entry into my Art Journal, or do a background further on in the altered book I’ve been using.  Two projects in one.  I try to write a sentence or so everyday although sometimes, I don’t have the energy even for that.  Last night, I scribbled a line.  It’s a line a friend had shared with me.  Gives me pause to think even when I’m just doing the lettering or fonts without actually scribbling an entry.

I like the way my art journal has evolved because now I dare to draw faces, and I am getting more disciplined in doodling — so much so that I actually make an effort to stay within the rather strict zentangling guidelines of sticking to “official patterns”.

But it’s the daily exercise of actually getting something down on the pages of the journal that provides me a release.

4.  I play slots online — but only for free, never for pay.  There’s something about the rolling of the slots that I find relaxing.  Maybe it’s hypnotizing me into playing some more?  I never click on the purchase credits, though, and I wouldn’t dream of gambling.  I just like going through the motions even if there is actually no monetary reward involved.

I’m not really a highly-strung type of person except when I’m upset.  No matter how busy life may get, I coast along and take life as it comes.  Emotions are a different thing, though.  When it gets rough and I am on the verge of whatever, I pray.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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!