Therapy: Scribbling and Doodling and Mountain Maid Strawberry Jam for breakfast

Work in progress:  thank you postcard for #thethankyoupostcardproject. A simple thank you is enough.  #postcard #handwritten #pen #cursive #sprayink #vintagebookpage #handmade #pspercrafts #thankyou #thanks #sayit #kindness #payitforward

I do it when I get the chance, and I’m surprised that I’ve covered so much ground.  I did this layout just before I left work yesterday.  At first I meant to do collage letters or paper embellishment “THANK YOU”s.  Then I started doodling again and then doing my block lettering.  I’m lucky to have a nice penmanship, but I haven’t quite gotten the hang of actually rendering it as wordart until now.  As always, all it takes is practice.  As you can see, I still need to do one more pass, at least, to fill in the gaps within the lettering.

The background is a collage of at least 2 pieces from a vintage book (read: almost 100 years old) I got for a song at Strand’s.  It was a little difficult working with it because the paper is literally crumbling.  You cannot fold it anymore as it will just break at the crease.  Once done, I will seal this with a coating of Mod Podge Matte Finish or it will never get to its destination!
Almost finished or should I leave this as is?  Work in progress for #thethankyoupostcardproject   Bring some color into someone's world by saying thank you.  #thanks #sayit #kindness #wordsmatter #wordart #workinprogress #postcard #payitforward #pen #spra

(I’m not quite sure if I will continue to doodle on this or just leave it as is.)

I haven’t quite gotten the project off the ground.  I was hoping to do this update on the blog for the project (see badge on the right or click here), but I wanted to make that blog all about the project, while this space is all about me.

Sometimes I grab a stack of the cards and I just can’t stop.  Whether it is doing the borders around the Subway Map background layouts, or doodling the actual “Thank you” on them, it has a hypnotic effect that keeps me going and going.

Work in progress: ink on a piece of the NY subway map for #thethankyoupostcardproject - Remember to say thank you ... #thanks #thankyou #kindness #sayit #payitforward #postcard #pen #pspercrafts #crafts #workinprogress

Even just drawing those lines on the border can be very relaxing.  I usually stop only because my lunch hour is over or because my hand has started to hurt.

I remember reading about a then teen-age actress back in the 80s and she used to say she would color with crayons on kiddie coloring books to pass the time between takes during shoots and to destress.  We all self-soothe.  Many of us do it in unconscious ways but for some, we seek the comfort or calm we want to have in very deliberate ways.

Mine has been writing and personal art.  It has been helpful.  And I often find it amazing to see how my work has progressed.  I don’t claim to be an artist.  I’m a crafter.

I often get lost in the daily grind.  Work has its own rhythm and I can get going from the beginning of the day to the end juggling things and trying to finish the tasks I’ve been assigned.  Time can fly by when you need more of it.  And when the break hits me, I stop and try to do something specifically “FOR ME”.  Whether it is to browse my favorite websites for inspiration or to just go through one of my magazines.. or maybe even create one of my digital postcards to post on my Instagram page for the project.

I push the negative thoughts away.  Those thoughts that bring pain and confusion and anger.  I try to dwell on the positive.  Scribbling and doodling brings me there.  We all have our own ways of coping — I’m trying to stay on the positive side, even if I sometimes can’t help but thinking perhaps there’s something to drinking the blues away, or some such other resort.  But the thing is, I don’t enjoy drinking, for one, so the thought of the headache and maybe spilling my guts out when I get inebriated keeps me from going that route.

It looks like a nice day out.  I started the day with my buttered toast and jam breakfast.  And mind you, it’s no ordinary jam.  I finally relented to opening my last bottle of Mountain Maid Strawberry Jam from the Religious of the Good Shepherd convent in Baguio from last December’s visit. (If you’re visiting from Manila and you ever think of me, please bring me a bottle… precious, precious jam!  I only use one teaspoon each time.. trying to stretch it.)  Such a savory treat that brings me a taste of home..

I’m seeing my stylist for a hair cut.. the boy needs one, too.  Errands to be done today — and just relaxing.  It’s one of the last holidays we’re getting for a while, so we’re trying to make the most o fit.

I can’t believe the quiet.  The boys are in the room.  (Coolest part of the house.)  Can you believe summer’s gone?  We will officially be into fall soon.  Where did the time go?

Well, we’re still here.

That’s a thought that makes me truly thankful.

 

 

Washington DC in Snapshots

Out of order: Fire hydrant in Washington DC – good to know that this one is out of commission. #outoforder #firehydrant #washingtondc
Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC: Looking up #lookingup #hirschhornmuseumandsculpturegarden #washingtondc #sculpturegarden
Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC: Looking up #lookingup #hirschhornmuseumandsculpturegarden #washingtondc #sculpturegarden
Dusk. End of the day. Thankful that I’m still up on my feet. #thankful #treeline #dusk #lookingup
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

FAITH: Words and Pictures

There are things that I do online via Instagram, Twitter and Flickr which deserve a mention here but aren’t exactly front and center of my day.  Or sometimes there just isn’t more to say beyond the photo and whatever I had “scribbled” on to it.  For the most part, I do this only in prayer form, hence you will find a section on the above entitled WORDS & PICTURES as a page under a sub-category FAITH.

Below is my second entry.  I’m not going to do this regularly so I am just posting each graphic as they are created onto the page.   Please feel free to pin or share but please give credit.

 

Sunset over the Poconos and reflections this Holy Week: Lord, help me to welcome YOU into my life. #sunset #reflection #prayer #lentenreflection #HolyWeek #poconos #pennsylvania #Faith #religion

Jeepney Stories

Since I joined Instagram a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been posting my jeepney snapshots under a series I entitled #jeepneystories . I have enjoyed editing the photos to be Instagram-savvy (love those filters and my PictureBlur app) and I have put a few blurbs just to put the picture in context and literally write a really short jeepney story to accompany each picture.

I started taking pictures of jeepneys in earnest around 2009. It’s a little difficult standing on the sidelines on the road (even with my smaller than your typical DSLR cam… it’s DSLR-like, not a DSLR), so most of my photographs were taken while I was in another vehicle.  There were a few rare instances when I wrapped the strap around my arm and took shots in succession quickly in front of Quiapo.  I have never been able to do that again but look forward to trying the next time I’m home.

Doing this photo series brings me back home. It also exposes me to many kababayans on Instagram.  Some non-Filipinos must be attracted more by the color and the shots itself than the significance of the photos themselves and have “liked” my pictures.  I’m flattered.  But it’s a series I intend to keep doing.  With any luck, I have enough shots between 2009 and the last trip home (December 2013) to keep the series going until the next trip home.

If you’re on Instagram, try following me there where I am as GothamChick.

Jeepney Stories collage 1

Rain, Ice and Snow and Sir Kenneth Branagh

After the snow - as my day begins

I promise I will try to refrain from posting any more “SNOW” pictures until I get something spectacular yet again. Can we move on to spring, please? My snowboots get special billing in the collage above because I cannot be any happier with a practical (read: necessary) purchase than my Nine West Winter boots. Water-proof and traction is as good as any rough terrain pair — it has paid for its cost of acquisition many times over in this winter alone. And mind you, this was on sale at way below $100.

I can’t wait for winter to be over, more so today when I had to literally wade through slush, mush and snow — both hard and icy and soft and mushy.

Thankfully, it isn’t freezing cold, although you still won’t be able to make it through a block without your gloves and some headgear. I made it to work — and yes, in one piece.

For the first time since we moved to this building five years ago (if memory serves me right), I was greeted by a sheet of ice outside our window panes. At 41 floors above Manhattan, it was an eerie yet pretty sight to behold. I snapped up some pictures and this, below, is one of my favorites ever.

Icy rainy snowy morning

So what does rain, ice and snow have to do with Sir Kenneth Branagh? Nothing. It’s just that I didn’t feel like writing two posts so I’m combining them into one. (More for my benefit than yours.) I have been reading a back issue of Vanity Fair and had come across this one-page article, What You Should Know About Sir Kenneth Branagh.  Of course all it needed was his name and picture on the page to get me to read, and you’ll find it interesting whether or not you have a big crush on him like I do — but I was struck by the way the article was written — sort of a fill-in-the-blanks kind of thing and I thought it would be interesting to go and try that.  So here’s my version of What you should know about Pinay New Yorker:

She takes her coffee with 2% milk and Splenda, and when she feels like indulging her love of milkshakes, she puts some ice cream to flavor her coffee.

She irons her hair, as directed by her stylist Zeph, after she completely dries it and puts hair products in to protect it from that daily torture.

Every day, she begins her day by praying the Serenity Prayer (because that prayer is not only for those with real addictions but for anyone who needs courage and wisdom) and reads the daily reading from KerygmaFamily and prays.

Her being Pinay — despite being a New Yorker for the last 14 years, is a badge that she proudly carries even if she’s often mistaken to be Chinese or Latino.  And when told the last name throws them off, she launches into a mini-history lesson on how the Philippines was a Spanish colony for over 300 years, hence the Spanish surnames for most of the Philippine populace (with the rest of us Pinoys carrying Chinese surnames.)

Her self-declared “addiction” is to soda and chocolates, both of which she is trying to avoid by starting to lessen  her usually voluminous intake.  (More water, please, and when the penchant for something milky and sweet hits her palate, she grabs a cup of decaf coffee with skim milk and her sweeteners.)

She still writes letters longhand. And long letters, at that.

She commutes home these days on the 6 or something express bus to her side of Queens, getting there just in time to rush through homework, cook dinner and be a Mom.   She hopes one day to find herself sitting next to some famous hunk of a movie star trying to get into the character of someone riding the bus home from work in Manhattan.  (Can I have Brad Pitt, please?)

Her most beloved piece of home décor is a print of the Laughing Christ which isn’t hanging in her home right now, but which has been transported from Manila to New York during one of her previous trips home.

Lured by the daily buzz in Bryant Park which is just across the street during the lunch hour, she often dreams of just sitting there and blending in with nature even when it’s raining, and more so when the snow is falling heavily.

The appliance she most despises is the flat iron because she could never quite figure out how to iron clothes properly.  (Yes, there are skills that can be learned but not mastered.)

The superpower she desires most is to fly so that she can go wherever she wants to go without having to worry about getting there and getting back home in time to do homework and cook dinner.. yet again.

Her favorite songs are “Can We Still Be Friends?” by Todd Rundgren (very, very sad song but with a very good progression of notes that evokes such feelings of regret and resignation), “Two for the Road” by Monica Mancini — yes, the daughter of THE Henry Mancini who composed the song (a sad melody with a very romantic promise of commitment one can only wish and hope for) and “Bituing Walang Ningning” by Sharon Cuneta — I always said it evokes that feeling of one giving up everything for someone you think is worth giving it up for.  Of course whether that turns out okay or not is altogether a different story — and another song.

When craving a sweet, she prefers the old style caramels coated with milk chocolate like those that used to be known as “Pompoms”.

Germ-averse, she is not, but she takes care to make sure she sneezes into a handkerchief or sheet of tissue lest the germophobes around her get upset.

Her last twinge of bemusement was in watching her son make fun of her attempts to lose weight, saying she’s not cute and sexy if she isn’t fat.

Her celebratory drink is a glass (or two) of champagne which she hasn’t had in quite a while, probably for lack of something to celebrate or simply because New Year’s Eves are not pop-the-bottle-of-champagne kinds of occasions in her house (even if it is for her.)

Snowy, snowy Monday

Snowy Monday
We woke up with a good layer of snow covering most of the ground and a steady snowfall threatening more.  I was the only one who trudged out to brave it, and there was already almost two inches of snow as I made my way to the bus stop.

I’m a fan of freshly fallen snow, but I loathe having to deal with its aftermath.  You feel like you’re walking inside a freezer and you have to be quick to distinguish ice from slush from soft snow.

Untitled
More than an hour later, the bus managed to literally crawl to Manhattan.  Snow tends to slow vehicles because it is slippery and gives the vehicles a lot of difficulty when it comes to maneuvering.  It wasn’t as bad in the city but the snow didn’t stop falling.  The trees were already outlined by snow resting and accumulating on its branches when I reached Manhattan just after 9am.

Untitled

By noon, the New York Public Library and Bryant Park 41 storeys below me were blanketed with snow — and no, this photo is not in black and white.  Snow and the weather condition made it look like it was.

Untitled

The vista across from our building was a gloomy grey.  The continuing snow fall made it so, as if a shroud of gloom descended upon the city.

Untitled

The most dramatic yet was the one I took just a short distance from my doorstep as the sky glowed while a slight drizzle of snow fell to the ground.  For all the hazard and difficulties brought about by such heavy snowfall, you can’t help but admire the beauty of all that white, coating the outlines of the trees as you look up into what looks like a luminous night sky.  No bright lights — hence, the brownish tint of the picture.  (Plus, of course, a little help from Instagram’s filters..)

Breathtaking.

Five things to be thankful for

1.  A warm and cozy home to go into when the temps outside dip down to 27 degrees.  (Thankfully, we didn’t get a ton load of snow again.  Just another regular winter snowfall sometime this afternoon.)

2.  Instagram.  18 followers.. my most popular posts are a series of photos I’m tagging #jeepneystories.  Come and take a look and let me know what you think of my photos.

3.  A nice dinner of tuna sashimi and shrimp tempura with rose wine.  I’m trying to be good with the diet… tuna shashimi at 1 pt each and 2 shrimp tempura.. plus a glass of wine.  Life is good..

4.  Getting on with my altered book and Art Journal Every Day project.  Finally drawing and writing again.  (Writing more about it at Gotham Chick.)

5.  Watching “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” with my boys.  Makes me miss Tom Clancy.  I’m sure he left a ton of story ideas that will see more of his genuis on the big screen.  I love Chris Pine as Jack Ryan and I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will come back for the next installment.  I would love to see him do the succeeding ones eventually.  But the even more intriguing thought for me is if they will ever do John Clark who is my favorite Tom Clancy character of all.  I totally enjoyed  seeing Kenneth Branagh who, it turns out, was also the director of the movie.  I have long been in love with this Knighted Englishman from the moment I first saw him in one of my forever favorites, “Much Ado About Nothing” some twenty years ago.  (Which he, again, directed and starred in.)

I have around two hours more to go before I hit the sack and I have a corner I want to attack and weed out stuff that needs to be disposed of.  I’m on my second cup of tea and hoping to write another post before I hit the sack in a bit.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend, too… despite the cold for us here on the east coast…

We should all count our blessings.