Monday Musings: A Long Weekend kind of Monday

Monday musingsIf last week was cold, today, New York is freezing! I am almost sure my favorite fountain in Bryant Park will be heavy with ice. Just when I thought this year would be warmer and easier. The morning began with single digits today and it didn’t really go up by much.

True enough, when I got to Bryant Park, this is what greeted me:

Winter2019
Bryant Park, 21 January 2019

Blogging consistently. While it seems like I’ve been a Monday and Friday blogger, I think that is quite a feat considering I haven’t been writing this much for the longest time. It takes a conscious effort to begin a post — but writing has never really been an issue to me. So it’s more about making time. I am trying and happy to be at this pace, yet hoping to write more in the coming weeks.

Destash ongoing. This should really be in my next Friday Five but it’s a Monday and it’s work in progress. And my weekend is still technically on because we have a long weekend this time around. (It’s Martin Luther King Day so I got Monday off.).

I started going over my magazine pile for destashing. The first one was a Food & Wine magazine from 2003. Older than my little guy!

Now, I’m one for keeping food magazines for the recipes, and right now I just can’t part with this. So of the three I’ve gone through so far, only 1 is heading out the door. I should do better than this, I know. I am trying!!! (Does it help that I’m planning to do a second pass when the pile has dwindled?..). There is more that I need to get rid of and I have vowed to do this in earnest. The goal is to go through at least a dozen this weekend, and I’m a quarter of the way through.

Fabric haul. From time to time, I browse Craig’s list for free fabric and craft supplies listings. I will write about this another day, but I got lucky when I hit it Friday evening and saw a giveaway in Brooklyn. I emailed and got an address for a storage place.

After trying to figure out the best way to get there, I settled on uber pool and packed my expanding luggage and shopping totes. Saturday, I thought getting there at 2:55 for a 2-5:30pm slot would be plenty of time, but I arrived just as the entire haul was almost totally gone! Still, I managed to grab some nice African prints and other fabric and yarn. There were also several patterns, some uncut and complete with instructions — in total making up for the cost of the trip back and forth. I figured it was more or less the cost of a trip to Michael’s and I think I got that much and more. I am craft happy!

Fabric happy

Taking time to go to my quiet space. It seems that I am needing to reflect more and more these days, with so many things happening around me, and not happening at the same time. I know it is a time for prayer — and a time for reflection. Someone told me I’m stressing too much about so many things that I should be easier on myself. Today, I tried.

Winter Restaurant Week in NYC. Yes, it’s this week!! I will write about this more next time but this is the Branzino I had at Ortzi by Jose Garces at the Luma Hotel NYC. Definitely recommending you try this!

Restaurant week NYC, winter 2019, Ortzi by Jose Garces

It’s called LUBINA on their Restaurant Week menu ($26.00++) for a two course meal. It’s Branzino with Gigante Bean Stew, Spiced cauliflower, Hazenut sofrito and Pequillo peppers.

Am I glad I braved the cold and went to the city and had a relaxing and filling lunch. Nothing beats good food and good company. That’s another post altogether.

Here’s to a good and not so cold week ahead for all of us here on this side of the world. And a good one for the rest of you!

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It can only get better

I tried starting a blog post before the week began, talking about how I was trying to pump a lot of optimism into my upcoming week. It had been a rather chaotic one. I like “busy,” but sometimes it doesn’t work too well with other distractions. Still, I capped the previous week with some much needed “me” time last Friday which was the best part of those 7 days. (Note to self: you should do this more often.)

And we’re at Wednesday. I try to write more but I really need a major push forward there.

Work was hectic as can be, and while I don’t think we’re getting a reprieve for what’s left of the week. I hit the ground running and energized. Maybe it was the quiet weekend with my not so little guy. I took the time to breathe, stayed up late on Saturday with a new earring design I couldn’t stop making (!), and slept til noon the following day to give my body a chance to bounce back.

And Friday came again.

There are times when you really just need to pull away from the fray and sit quietly in a corner.  It was one of those days, and I focused on happy and positive thoughts, and some happy time over lunch.  I needed to recharge. I needed to lift my spirits up and find those feel good moments to make up for the bad ones. I had dessert. Without guilt.

Dessert from Ortzi
Gone are the days when I would be chided for even considering one. Part of me hasn’t quite gotten used to the idea that it IS okay to indulge once in a while…I still ask if I can get dessert. (And I’m trying to get rid of that habit..)

Focus on the good things and then tuck the negative away, and embrace the thought that it can only get better. Take care of you!

Friday Five – A Bit of Progress

A note from Pinay New Yorker: I could’ve sworn I had published this post but when I went to the blog, I didn’t see it there. Instead there was its original draft in my draft folder, but I knew I had completed it. I found it in one of the tabs on the iPad and cut and paste it here. Weird, I know. So take 2…

I would rather count my blessings than dwell on my burdens.  #blessed #floral #flowers #movingforward #feelingblessedIt’s starting to get busy because of an upcoming event we have during the third week of June at work, so there is even less time to do any of my “me” stuff. In fact, I’m had taken some work home this weekend just to get a head start on the work this coming week.

But at least my focus remains and there is the sense of moving forward even if it seems like I can’t even keep the “Friday” part consistent. (Writing this on a Sunday.. =(..)

This weekend was all about “taking care of ME” and I made time to make an appointment for the nail salon (which I have a hard time making because it’s just not on top of my list), and I even got some waxing done (face only) which I’m trying to be good with. I’ll say it again, we have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of others well. I have not created a single piece but have been organizing my supplies — and I can’t wait to create some pieces from semi-precious gemstones I bought for myself. (It might sound strange but I usually go economical on pieces for sale — but when it’s a piece for myself, I indulge. My favorite acquisitions are grade A freshwater pearls and labradorites, and I treasure the strands from BFF Ces who had gotten them from trips to the South back home in connection with her work for a real estate/hotel conglomerate in the Philippines..)

What happened to last week’s Friday Five?

1. Write a letter. Uhmmm.. top on my list for the coming week.

2. Go back to reading the Bible. Still struggling to carve out time but today I’m catching up.

3. Finish my Art Journal Every Day post on Mother’s Day.. Did an entry in it but didn’t quite get anywhere near finishing it, so I’m not going to cross this out just yet.

4. Sort the clothes that Angelo has outgrown. Got a good pile going so in a sense, I have begun.

5. Start reading again. Will try again.

Should I call this post My Sunday Five? (Maybe just for this week.)

1. Write a letter. Might even get one done before the night is over.

2. Create a new ‘Thank You’ card for the Etsy shop. Selling on Etsy is a whole production which goes beyond the piece for sale. There’s the packaging and the other notes that go with it beyond the receipt. I remember days before when shipping was stalled because of the fact that I didn’t have it in stock, so I had to create it all before shipping. Not again.

3. Finish my Art Journal Every Day post on Mother’s Day.. An entry at a time… getting there.

4. Throw away the old, old magazines that I have no use for. What can I say, I love paper. It’s hard to for me throw anything away related to paper, but I’ve started with my printed paper so I’m getting there.

5. Concenrate on Necklaces and Earrings this week – production wise. I’ve been posting bracelets right and left but I have a ton of ideas for necklaces that I need to start working on. I already have 3 produced and ready for posting, but I should keep working on it.

It was a good weekend and the weather was fantastic, and we’re hoping it holds for the coming week. We might get lucky yet. Here’s to a good week for everyone!

Memorial Day, a Family Trip and Revolution

In my attempts to try and keep posting every day, I’ve decided to just scribble randomly when the inspiration or the energy escapes me.

Memorial Day in the US today.  Even if I am an immigrant here, I am grateful.

We went on an overnight trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Pocono Mountains, and the boy is totally exhausted.

I am, too.

What better way to end the day but with Revolution?  If they turn on the power, it’s the end of the show.

I’m tired, but a happy kind of tired.  We have another day at the water park tomorrow and I’m treating myself to the spa in the morning.  My hands and feet can’t wait. =)

Time out for me

The bus was crowded this morning so I already had a seatmate when I boarded.  That meant less wiggle room to paint my face so I settled down and decided I’d blog instead.

I’m trying to get into the habit of writing my blogpost during the commute to work so that I don’t end up scurrying to post at the end of the day.  It sure beats the urge to succumb to the urge to nap.  I know it gives me a chance to catch up on some shut-eye, but it doesn’t necessarily help at a time so close to when I just got out of bed.  Instead of being up and about when I step off the bus, there are times when I find myself yawning from the deep sleep that the rocking of the bus brings me to.

No rain today but still cold.  I’m lugging two umbrellas back to the office because I’ve managed to take all of them home the various days I came to the city unprepared for rain.  That’s the girl scout in me: “Laging handa” (or “always ready”) as they say.  (I try to be.)

My “me” time at night has shrunk considerably because my little guy is now on a later bedtime.  It means tucking him in later as well.  For my part, I’m trying not to go beyond the midnight hour if I can help it so that my body doesn’t end up protesting too much when the alarm rings.  Gone are the days when I’d slip under the sheets before 4am and get up at 6:30 to beat the traffic from San Juan to Makati.  Age has caught up with me.  I can still make do with 5 hours of sleep, but anything less than that and I stop operating at 100%.

Still, I try to make my evenings productive by zeroing in on a single task to complete, and if there is extra time (and I still have the energy), I add a thing or two.  I cook dinner most nights and do homework if not check what’s been done by the tyke on his own, and then I take charge of scrubbing him clean before bed time.  There are days when the Dad gives him a bath, but most days, it’s me and the kid.  By the time I’m done, it’s past 10pm. 

That’s when I try to check my mail, prepare swaps, gather art supplies, maybe paint a background or two, or when I can, write a letter longhand.  I owe some penfriends a reply which I will have to schedule now because the list is getting long.  I hate responding curtly because it negates the whole purpose of taking pen and paper to write.   Sometimes there are letters I’m raring to write but somehow the words just won’t come.  Unlike blogging which comes spontaneously, letter writing to me is a more deliberate effort but something I cherish because I know my words physically make it to the hands of the recipient.  (That thought made me smile.)

I was busy cutting up owl parts from paint chips while watching reruns of Criminal Minds.  Something I’m doing for some handmade cards I am assembling. 

Owls — they grow on you.  I had googled for templates because of a Partner Name ATC swap at Swap-bot.com (render the name of the participants in an ATC relevant to their profile), and one of the participants was into the Grateful Dead and owls.  I didn’t know how I would render the Grateful Dead in an ATC but I sure could try an owl collage.  And was I surprised to find a ton of resources and patterns to choose from, although most of them were meant for patchwork or appliques.  I picked two patterns and came up with these:  ATC: Partner Name ATC
One is rendered via software and another was clearly drawn.  I have a preference for the drawn template and have printed (and sometimes traced) the pieces on the back of paint chips – the kind you find at hardware stores displaying paint swatches, etc.  I love working with paint chips when I can because first of all, they’re FREE, and second, the paper quality is good cardstock although some surfaces don’t lend themselves well to laser printing. 

I just cut, I didn’t assemble any.  I tucked them away in a spare envelope and will work on a card later.  (I might even try using this template with polymer clay another time as a souvenir idea just hit me for the first birthday of my precious niece, Andreanna Lux, or “My Andeng” as I call her affectionately.)   And of course a tutorial will follow in the craft blog if and when that piece is done.

Please click HERE to see my Flickr album of ATCs by GothamChick (my handle over at swap-bot.com).

"Me" time in the city

Late autumn morning on Park Ave

I meant to hop on the Third Avenue bus but ended up instead on the 6th, so I ended up taking the “scenic route”, getting off on 34th and Park Avenue and walked down to Grand Central.

Park Avenue is always a nice walk — and I had enough time to stop by a favorite church on 38th to say a little prayer, and snap this picture as I spied some trees still displaying the colors of autumn closer to my destination.

I had lunch with my friend, E.  No agenda — just to spend some “me” time, and help her get some ampalaya if she hadn’t yet.  I had fun.  It was a good way to spend a day to unwind, even if I have a long list of  “to-do”s.  Sometimes we just have to pause a while to just do something spontaneous, like deciding on the fly to have pad thai for lunch, and share a pint of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery.

Day two of my week with the tyke.  (Conference in Vegas for his Dad.)  I am mentally getting to that point where I hope to put up the tree.  I had finally sent out my latest Artist Trading Card swaps.  Like I told E, I am withdrawing for the season from ATC swaps, as I try to get back to the shop.

I skipped a craft fair over the weekend because preparing for a craft fair would mean adding to the stuff I need to clear out for the holidays.  I figure I will get to it in the spring.

Meanwhile, I’ve to space to clear for the tree, Christmas cards to pull together and project to finish.  Soon.

Basking in the glow of Autumn

fallI finally had the good sense to take out the camera before I reached this curb in our community where this majestic tree becomes visible.  On a day-to-day walk, I end up rushing past it as I walk to the bus stop.  Today, I deliberately took out my camera and had it on the ready a good 50 paces away, so that when I found a good spot, all I had to do was stop, adjust the cam, and shoot.  It’s not quite as good as I had hoped it would be and I guess it’s the fact that my camera is too intelligent for me — there seems to be an adjustment I need to make to stop it from trying too hard to focus.  (Which usually ends up with worse..)

The hurried shot doesn’t quite do justice to what I want to bring out, but it’s one of the better pictures I’ve taken in the last couple of days.  (Could it be that my not stopping fully to take the pictures is affecting the frame?  HAHA!)

As I walked to the bus stop finally, I thought about how I’ve been wanting to walk around and take pictures of the marvelous colors of fall.  Too busy, too cold, no time.  Well, the weather has improved quite a bit but I’m nowhere near the gorgeous colors of fire.

My current header picture is a photo taken in Central Park in the Fall of 2009.  I would love to walk down to Central Park one of these days on the ready with extra batteries and memory cards, a ziploc to put some leaves in and just spend a day enjoying my home city.   I’ve planned time and again in previous years but have never really gotten the chance to.

Another thing I would love to be able to do is photograph the fabulous display windows of the big stores here in New York during the holidays  which make a big deal of unveiling their storefront facades.  There was a time I had taken photos of Bergdorf Goodman in 2007, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Tiffany’s in full holiday regalia which was indeed a feast for the eyes.  (Amateur photographer tip: Best taken at night when the storefront glass won’t show a reflection of the scene outside the store — like you clicking away — plus the display lighting can do wonders to bring out the desired effect that the display was meant to evoke.)

I just looked at my banked vacation days and I stand to lose a week at least if I don’t take any substantial vacation in the next couple of days.  As it so happens, Christmas and New Year fall on a Tuesday, and my company has so generously allowed us the eve of both holidays as an office closing.  So that means the holidays will actually eat up on 3 of my vacation days.

We were actually mulling about a trip back home (again) but it’s a little too late in the year to be still planning and not booking it yet.  The fares during the dates we can go are astronomically high.  Our biggest consideration is that Angelo is now in third grade and can no longer afford to be away for an extended period given that they start state testing this year.  (Audible sigh.)  It’s a nice thought, but I don’t think it’s happening.  The sad thing is I have the time to give.

I will take the vacation days — probably a day here and there.  And I might yet get to go to Central Park this year just to photograph the leaves and the trees and all of Autumn after all.