Breaking the silence

13 August 2018 - A day of sunshine on a cloudy day..
It seems that a hundred and one things have happened since the last post dated June, and I am so mad at myself for failing miserably to get more active posting here.  The thought is always in my mind, and yet I end up wanting to kick myself awake to start posting every time I realize how I’ve fallen behind.

So I’m doing one of these quick updates and check ins or what not.  I want to get things rolling again.  Here and in my other spaces on the web which started off with such high hopes and lofty goals of blabbing away here online.  Sadly, the same pages have fallen silent for ages because life, as always, had taken me over.

Not an excuse, I know.

For starters, I’ve been happily (officially) single again for a year now.  It continues to be an adjustment, but more on the parenting side.  I was once single before I took on someone’s name and made those vows that somehow didn’t quite work for him and me.  Transitioning back to that mindset of “being just me” wasn’t difficult at all, more so because I sought it and had craved it the whole time my heart broke into a million pieces and then I pulled everything together again and healed.  It was a process, but I am happier where I am today.  (Okay, so maybe being single again made me float off into spaces that somehow made me want to wallow in the bliss of being with me, myself and I.)

I’ve been heavily investing in learning and being able to sew, but my sewing projects were put on hold when dear bro and niece arrived sometime end April.  The brother left after three weeks but my niece stayed, so it was a lot of sightseeing and doing things the New York way for another couple of weeks more, and then..

There was Manila in July.  (Another half a dozen posts on that.)

I’ve been around.. I’ve been busy.  I just haven’t been writing.

I have even slowed down big time on Instagram, but I’m trying to get posting again!  I guess you can say I’ve really slacked off and lost track of just how long I have been quiet here.  I am hoping (for the nth time) that I will be able to get going on all fronts.

Fingers crossed.

Gratitude

Grateful for another week with much accomplished.. for being good at what I do and loving the work I do.. for weekends with my little guy at home when I can do what I do best: being a mom.. grateful for the things and people I have in my life right now that assures me I am in a very good place.. I am more than okay.

#gothamchicksays #empirestatebuilding #mynewyork #mynyc #manhattan #nycsunset

#onmywayhome #weekend #weekendishere

Daily prompt: Gratitude

Walk with me

It’s rare that I get to take so many pictures chronicling what is an every day trip for me from my home to my place of work.  When I posted them on my Instagram account, I was struck by the way the pictures seemed to be telling a story.  While they are seen as individual photographs on my IG feed, seen together and in my own mind is a single narrative that begins with the first picture and ends just before I go up to my perch to start another day at work.

So come walk with me and see New York City through my eyes this snowy and cold Monday…

I start my day walking to my bus stop to take the ride that will bring me to Manhattan. I always make it a point to look up. I sometimes wonder why people keep looking down, but hardly, ever, look up.
UntitledThere is a ton to be seen if we took the time to just take a moment to train our sights upward for a change.

I ended up taking an alternative route which will be my usual route in a few weeks’ time as we move eastward to our other building.  I really don’t mind.  The two stops are separated by avenues which take me all of 7 minutes to walk if I don’t stop anywhere.  But whenever I can, I say hello to the boss upstairs.  I walk into the Church of St. Agnes on 43rd to pray.

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This church is very special to me because it has been a place of solitude for me during my weakest moments.  I have shed tears here.  I have given thanks.  I have simply sat and be.  I listened without saying a thing, not even in my heart.  This is like home to me.
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I have walked in and out of these doors many times before, but for the first time, I paid heed to the ornate grillwork that showed the world outside.  Again, we don’t stop enough to admire the beauty around us.

From there I take the scenic route through Grand Central.  Instead of entering through the main corridor, though, I always choose to walk through Grand Central Market for the visual and gastronomic treat.

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I notice there are new stores now like the two stores you see on the left.  (EAT gifts and that new SUSHI place.)  I like walking down this way because I get to see my usual favorites and whenever I can, I grab lunch.  This time it was a half pound of French Raclette from my favorite cheese place, Murray’s.  I love the sights and smells of this place, from the smell of bread to chocolates to the pungent cheeses and fish at the end of the row.
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It’s food and more food all around — plus a few extras like gifts and flowers.  If you were to throw a last minute party for two or more, or even one you planned ahead — this is a one stop shop for anything and everything you might want to serve.  (You’d just have to walk a few steps away for the vino, though.)  I’m on an almond croissant quest and I had already sampled Eli Zabar’s a few weeks back, but wanted to grab a delectable shot to use when I do write my post on which one wins my heart and tummy.
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I can stay here all day and watch the world go by.   I have never seen this place not  busy — less busy, yes, but always abuzz.  And yet it isn’t a noisy or dizzying kind of busy that leaves you with that urge to walk away or leave this place.  It’s that kind of busy hypnotizes you into just letting the world turn as you find yourself a quiet corner to watch spin around.

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I don’t know when exactly they put up what is now known as The Great Northern Food Hall, but I’ve visited here a couple of times to grab a sweet treat or a pastry for breakfast. One of these days, or when we finally move perhaps, I might take a quick bite here and write more.  This is the side that greets you when you emerge from the main hall of the terminal, and you will find clusters of their various outlets for you to choose from.  (Each station has it’s own check out counter which precludes any guessing games like bigger food spaces.)

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It occupies one half of the huge space that was all of Vanderbilt hall.  With the Food hall there, the event space has been reduced to the other half which isn’t really a bad trade off considering what is now on the other side.

Making my way out to 42nd Street, I walk westward and find myself at one of my favorite spots in the city, Bryant Park, where the New York Public Library is situated.

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In the spring and summer this place is awash with green, but even in the dreary months of winter, the tall trees stand majestic providing such a dramatic background as you walk its grounds.

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Mornings are my favorite time of the day in the park because it’s practically empty.  As the day wears on, the seats and tables all fill up with regulars from the offices around or the countless tourists both local and foreign who seek out the thrills of New York City.

The snow that was in the forecast started to fall.

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I like snow best when it is falling, no matter that it is pouring in torrents or drifting down aimlessly as if the air was cushioning it from crashing down.  I’ve seen these tables covered and buried in white.. then in grey.  I wondered how much snow was coming.

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I walked to my favorite bakery kiosk by the edge of the park closer to Avenue of the Americas, and taking shelter from the snow which had started falling heavier, I actually took a film clip panning the area (which, I am trying to upload but have not been successful doing.)  It is uncanny how no matter how many times I take a photograph from any angle or any corner, it never quite comes out the same.

And so I crossed, looking uptown, snapping away as I walked.
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Then I decided it was better doing this at a full stop, so I became one of those pedestrians who stands in the middle of the street, whips out a camera and shoots a pic.
UntitledFrom here I enter my building and go up to my perch, starting yet another work day.  This is My New York.

In Photos: Looking Up

Photo Challenge: Looking up

Way before I arrived here in New York City, someone told me that there was that running joke in these tourists walking around Manhattan.  Barring the obvious about only tourists wearing shorts in the summer, they’re the ones who keep looking up.  They are always awed by the concrete jungle that this part of NYC is, whether they are from another state or another country.

When I started on Instagram not too long ago, I found upward looking shots as a creative way of showcasing the obvious.  It was a different way of making the ordinary stand out.  More than that, it literally showed my world from a different perspective.  Much like stopping to smell the flowers, many of us here tend to forget how there is much to be awed by if we stop looking at what’s street level and looked up instead.  There is a totally different world many levels above us.

Below is a compilation of some of my #LookingUp posts in answer to this photo challenge.

The view from my bus stop this cold, cold early evening in NYC. #lookingup #ny #mynewyork #myny #manhattan #42ndstreet #midtown #ilovenewyork #onmywayhome #thebigapple
May 19, 2014: The view from my bus stop this cold, cold early evening in NYC. #lookingup #ny #mynewyork #myny #manhattan #42ndstreet #midtown #ilovenewyork #onmywayhome #thebigapple
#LookingUp #SomewhereInTheFlatIrobDiatrict last week while waiting to go to #dinner. It's always good to look at a different view every once in a while. It refreshes your #perspective and gives you a new way to appreciate things.. And appreciate the peop
#LookingUp #SomewhereInTheFlatIrobDiatrict last week while waiting to go to #dinner. It’s always good to look at a different view every once in a while. It refreshes your #perspective and gives you a new way to appreciate things..
Looking up: once in a while you have to look up to put things in its proper perspective. #mynyc #mynewyork #lookingup #perspectjve #ilovenewyork #midtown
Looking up: once in a while you have to look up to put things in its proper perspective. #mynyc #mynewyork #lookingup #perspectjve #ilovenewyork #midtown
#Lookingup: running late for brunch but almost there .. Of course, had to stop and snap a pic of the #EmpireStateBuilding. #sunny day today so grab your piece of #sunshine, #nyc ! #Manhattan #mynewyork #mynyc #ilovetheempirestatebuilding
#Lookingup: running late for brunch but almost there .. Of course, had to stop and snap a pic of the #EmpireStateBuilding. #sunny day today so grab your piece of #sunshine, #nyc ! #Manhattan #mynewyork #mynyc #ilovetheempirestatebuilding
#GlassCanvas: #perfect #sunnyDay in #Manhattan. Such a #gloriousfriday it is! #weekend #Friday #NewYork #newyorkcity #skyscraper #glass #glassfacade #lookingUp
#GlassCanvas: #perfect #sunnyDay in #Manhattan. Such a #gloriousfriday it is! #weekend #Friday #NewYork #newyorkcity #skyscraper #glass #glassfacade #lookingUp
#LookingUp from #lutrellstowncastle on a #sunnydayInDublin. We'll be back here #Wednesday for #funandgames and #dinner with the team. #ireland #Dublin #workcanbefun #loveWhatYouDo #GothamChickInDublin #sightseeingInDublin #castle #castleindublin #beckha
#LookingUp from #lutrellstowncastle on a #sunnydayInDublin. We’ll be back here #Wednesday for #funandgames and #dinner with the team. #ireland #Dublin #workcanbefun #loveWhatYouDo #GothamChickInDublin #sightseeingInDublin #castle #castleindublin #beckha
The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC: Looking Up - We always have a grand time visiting here #Washingtondc #smithsoniannationalairandspacemuseum #lookingup #space #nasa #museum
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC: Looking Up – We always have a grand time visiting here #Washingtondc #smithsoniannationalairandspacemuseum #lookingup #space #nasa #museum

#IGstories and why I love Instagram

I used to carry a camera everywhere, ready to pull it out when I find something picture-worthy.  These days, I clutch my iPhone and get ready to shoot when the mood hits me.  I must say I love the iPhone6 camera because it is so much better than any of its predecessors, and I’ve been trying to learn how to maximize its utility — and it IS endless.

For those who have been reading my posts here, you all know I am on Flickr and also on Instagram (see my side widgets for my feed), so my pictures don’t go to waste.  And while the former is more for photo storage (yes, I’m a paying customer!), the latter has been a very good social tool and a different means of keeping my photos and stories together.

It’s not so much to maintain an online presence.  I have several hashtags that have become a series such as #OnMyWayHome (pictures snapped at the end of the day), #LookingUp (which are photos of the camera facing up, because I think we should always try to look at things differently), and now, #IGstoriesByGothamChick.

These are photos with stories typed on them in four sentences or less.  Another hit of inspiration, I guess.  Below are the first two.

I look at the photo and think of a story, and whatever hits me at that particular moment, I try to condense into a very short blub.  It’s like how you look at strangers conversing in the park or at a distance, and you imagine what it is they might talking about.
#IGstories inspired by #randomphotos in #4sentencesORless. #Photos&WordsByGothamChick -------------------- IGstoryNo1: They lay there on the grass, holding each other-- oblivious to the world around them.  All that mattered at that very moment was that th

I joined Instagram last year, and as of this writing, I have 1078 posts, 335 followers and I’m following 213 others.  I’m not really posting to get followers (just as I am not blogging to rack up readership) — but it’s nice when I find people like what I post.  The followers fluctuate only because others who decide to follow me are usually looking for commercial hits or likes back, and I am not too keen about going commercial.  (Again, even here.)
#IGstories inspired by #randomphotos in #4sentencesORless. #Photos&WordsByGothamChick. -------------------- #IGstoryNo 2 It had been ages since they had been in touch, then he saw her email.  He opened it, smiled and then sighed.   Happy times, but then r

So why am I on Instagram?

I love the way Instagram allows me to show my world without revealing too many details, save for the visual.  I can whip out the phone, snap a photo on the street, put one single sentence and then some hashtags and I am done.  Some pictures don’t even need any explanation at all.  I don’t need to take more effort beyond editing the picture, perhaps, or correcting some minor flaws.  For the most part, I try not to touch the photos or deviate from the original much except when I want to emphasize a certain aspect of the photo, or when I deliberately stylize the phot and turn it into artwork.

There is a community of photographers out there who share their world on Instagram with fellow IGers like me.  And these ran the gamut of professionals to amateurs who show me another side of the world via their own posts.  It’s a community of people sharing a part of themselves through their photographs.  Like most social platforms, there are new friendships formed even if only online.  It’s a less intrusive and yet prompt way to keep up with others — be it actual friends or people whose accounts I simply bumped into randomly.

I have even gotten to know at least one professional photographer who actually requested to take pictures from my perch atop one of the highest floors of the buildings in Midtown.  His photographs are truly breathtaking, and I’m looking to get a return favor by getting access to one of my photo bucket lists in Manhattan one of these days.

I have yet to meet another online entrepreneur whose shoes I proudly wear.  One day soon, Kelly.

I have always loved to take photographs.  There is something about capturing a moment or a glimpse of time and keeping that scene immortalized in a snapshot.  Way back when I was trying to get into college, one of the educational institutions I tried out for successfully told me my test scores showed I had an eye for photography.  Or as she had put it, I had a talent for pictures.

I often see people lugging around expensive cameras and I have to admit there have been moments when I had been green with envy.  Those fancy cameras actually have a rather musical click which makes me stop and look when I hear it near me.  And yet it has been proven time and again that although the big cameras with their many adjustments CAN take very crisp pictures, those great photos are taken by someone who has a talent for composition and style, be it with a disposable camera or a DSLR with a fancy lens.

Yes, there are stories to be told on instagram.  Stories like yours and mine — and in the case of my #IGstories, pictures with stories in four sentences or less.

ps.

For those who aren’t on iphone, you can access instagram by typing  http://www.instagram.com/gothamchick to go to my account, or click on the feed to the right.

Falling in love with new beginnings all over again

The skies as they looked before all this snow came.. Falling in love with new beginnings all over again.  No matter how difficult a challenge lands on my lap, I know that I can always pick up the pieces again and start over if I fall or don't meet my goal

The storm has passed.  Posted on Instagram today:  The skies as they looked before all the snow came.  Falling in love with new beginnings all over again.  No matter how difficult a challenge lands on my lap, I know that I can always pick up the pieces again and start over if I fall or don’t meet my goals.  Even the night which comes upon us is tomorrow’s promise of another day.  #startoftheweek #startingover #newbeginnings #challenges #wordsofencouragement #positivity #optimism

It’s a difficult time — and I am deathly terrified but I know I can make it.  I have to make it.  I always said it’s important to take baby steps and in time, I will get to where I want to go.  I will be what I want to become.  I will achieve the goal I have set out for myself.

Midweek that feels like the start of the week — can’t wait and see the sun tomorrow.

 

 

Grateful

Grateful for a truly meaningful and fruitful past week..  For baby steps turning into a leap of faith.. For finally being able to go back to a classroom even if it was only a virtual experience.. For more than just elevator rides and sidewalks and being aMinutes to midnight again and I almost shut down the computer to turn in when I decided I owed my latest instagram post a companion piece here. I figured I’d type away for 10 minutes and end there.

The thing is, I posted the graphic as a “thank you” for a meaningful week just passed, despite the challenges and the adjustments that had to be made along the way.

Like I wrote in the caption, “Grateful for a truly meaningful and fruitful past week..”  There are weeks that just come and go uneventfully, but there are those that do pass us by and leave us with a more profound impact than others, even in the absence of any life-changing events. I’ve started listening to that voice inside me again — realizing that as Evelyn and bff Fe kept telling me, I am important, too. That means taking care of “me” as well as I
take care of everyone else. I did and it actually wasn’t a bad thing at all.

For baby steps turning into a leap of faith.. ” I have always referred to my attempts at moving forward as the combination of many baby steps to take me from one point to another.  It’s my way of coaxing “Me” into trusting myself more.  I’ll say it again, I used to be more courageous (or impulsive is another way to put it), but I had been cowed into retreating into a corner instead of standing on stage by the many setbacks I suffered in the last year or two.  No more.

“For finally being able to go back to a classroom even if it was only a virtual experience.”  I wish I had an extra 6 hours a day to do the readings and catch up with the online lectures, but I am slowly making progress with my History Course.  I actually enjoy the pressure of having multi-chapter readings, of taking notes, and of just taking it all in.  While I know I have far to go, my journey has started and goes on.

“For more than just elevator rides and sidewalks and being able to see things differently.”  Something as mundane as riding elevators can have a new meaning or significance when taken in the context of things you do before or after riding an elevator.  I’ve had these experiences lately of picking up on things I see or conversations I hear as I take those two brief rides up and down my building.  It has, like
I said, enabled me to see things differently.

“For reminding me life is short and it should be enjoyed for what it is.”  Self explanatory, no?

The previous week has not been without its share of challenges, but the gains far outweigh the stress and worries that accompanied my usual toil.  At the end of the week as I look forward to the next, I am grateful.

Even as I am trying to make sense of some things and trying to make adjustments to others — I am full of hope for the coming week and know that there will be more things to be thankful for when it comes to a close.

 

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.

As random as it gets

I was sitting here ready to write anything that comes to mind — yes, after waking up again at 4:30am — but then I got pinged on Facebook by an old, old, old friend from more than 20 years ago.  (Kristhel, it HAS been that long.)

Back then, she was interning at the advertising agency I was working at while I was in law school, and we had developed a special bond and I took her under my wing.  I am always blown away by how some people who have slipped out of our lives suddenly pop back up from out of the blue, thanks to all the technology and social media today.  For that, I am happy.

I try not to troll FB too much these days.  I’m usually online to upload something, respond to a message (rarely) or to send one.  The friend list needs to be trimmed, but how do you choose who to follow or unfollow?  So I miss most of the updates except when they come up on my feed just as I log on.  (Millet, did my pony get there yet? LOL)  There are only a number of people whose feeds I actually seek out apart from my siblings who usually tag me to alert me to what’s newly uploaded.  But when a message from friends like Kristhel pop up, I find myself grateful that there’s Facebook.  (Don’t forget to click on those “other” messages from people not on your friend list!)

Even on Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest, I rarely click the “Follow” button.  I’m not being a snob… my presence online, more so here, is for very selfish reasons.  I’m keeping an online journal for my own benefit. =)

Someone I met yesterday asked me what I blog about.. myself, I said. LOL.. some might term that as being “self-absorbed” but that’s the whole truth.  Some people write for an audience. I write for me, myself and I.  And maybe someone stumbling into my corner of the web might find something amusing or entertaining, or maybe once in a blue moon, even helpful.

For Kristhel, read up and get caught up on what’s been happening in my life.. but please, please drop the “Ma’am.”  Your son is older than mine!

We were both so excited to have found each other — and I am grateful to the universe for bringing her my way again.  These days, I’m grateful for every reason the world gives me to smile.  And I do smile — happy thoughts are supposed to be indulged in and savored and relived over and over again, given the heartbreak and the disenchantment around us.  It doesn’t have to be a giddy-happy smile — even an ever so slight curve of the lip will do.

So Kristhel is this morning’s happy thought.  I’m so glad I went online on FB to send BFF Fe a message.  (My iPhone is still on order so no viber, just yet.)  She goes into that bucket in my heart that has my happy thoughts about elevators, my red nails, my favorite pair of heels, my little tyke, and all those things that bring me to a happy place.