Monday Musings: Cold, cold Monday

Monday musingsWhat to do on another cold Monday. Winter has never been my favorite time of the year. I dream of spring and of summer. Okay, I’ll take fall. Then I wish I could wish winter away.

I guess not.

I am yearning for precious sleep. Sometimes I wish I could lay down in bed and just fall into a deep slumber. That has been elusive of late. No matter how exhausted I might feel, it’s as if there’s a switch in my consciousness that just won’t turn off. I did indulge with sleeping in during the weekend. It just wasn’t enough. I am hoping for a swifter transition to sleep this coming week and just wishing my mind would sync with my body pining for rest.

Trying to stay positive. I’d like to think that things are changing for the better. That no matter how challenging the past couple of weeks were, things are turning around and I’m beginning to feel my load getting lighter.

There is the laughter and the cheer and how I try to find the so-called silver lining. And the happy thoughts of bear hugs and laughter and those quiet times when so much is said even without the words.

I am just glad I am in a better place in those parts of my life that matter.

I am grateful.

There is such a fulfillment in the thought that here I am, writing again. Two posts for the day! I didn’t want to do Monday Musings tomorrow — then it will be a Tuesday something or other. I have always loved to write and have regretted not being able to do it more. It really takes a certain kind of discipline and dedication to the idea of putting words together to form a coherent thought. Or not. Just putting words together may be enough sometimes. But writing consistent and more regularly is one thing I hope to do more of this year.

Want vs. wish. Right after I typed the period, I went “hmmmmmm” in my head and thought I should write a full post on this right here, right now. But I’m kind of tired and my mind is wandering off, and I don’t want to make the mistake of insisting lest I find myself fighting to find sleep again tonight. You know how we are sometimes our own worst enemy when we end up waking ourselves up when we were almost in dreamland.

I just let out a deep sigh, thinking of this dream that I want and want so badly that I feel sad that it seems it won’t happen. I tell myself it just wasn’t meant to be. The choice is not mine to make, and if it doesn’t go my way, then I will just go about work as if the thought never even crossed my mind.

I should just be happy things have gotten better where there was chaos before. I am laughing again.

Here’s to a week of renewed bliss and hope for everyone.

Advertisements

Monday Musings

MondayMusingsLogoSo much for breaking the silence as two months passed before I could return with a blog post. Determined to break the streak, I’m back with one of my staples which has me randomly ranting here and there about anything and everything under the sun. No particular theme or flow– just anything that comes to mind.

Talk about being spontaneous.

Autumn is here. Stating the obvious, I know. I love autumn– more than the colors of spring. Definitely more than the black and white of winter. I think I stepped out of the house overdressed in a winter coat. I am going to try and get off the bus with just my sweater and a wrap.. or maybe I will walk out with my coat and wear it open. The changing of the seasons always brings me more than my share of major wardrobe dilemmas. But what to do? You just go with the flow.
Manhattan at Dusk 10.25.18
Geo chunky earrings for me. I have been feverishly trying to create and at least in that respect, I’ve been rather productive. Right now, I have around 20 pieces I have worked on the past couple of days, and I’m hoping to get the write ups and photos done so I can sell them in my Etsy shop. Onyx in black and white, agates in various colors, different types of jasper and magnesite… I’ve also gotten bolder with creating single dangles instead of having a dangle dangling from a dangle.

Pending photographing this new series, I had produced (and continue to work on) earrings using ceramic beads like those shown below.

Earrings by GothamChick
Earrings by Gotham Chick / Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

I love you, Billy Joel.I finally got to watch my forever idol at Madison Square Garden over the weekend. Well worth the price and the wait! I was fortunate to have caught new dates announced in April, bought tickets and October is here — so off I went. I was just soooo happy to have finally been able to do this. For me. It was so good I’m actually thinking of watching again next year. THAT good!

Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden 10.27.18
Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden on 10.27.18

Sometimes the hardest thing is to try to be consistent at life.  I try.  And so here’s one more attempt at being here more often and more consistently.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Monday Musings: And Summer is (almost) here

I woke up to a grey morning which I had expected thanks to the weather forecast from the previous evening.  I’m not complaining, but I could’ve used a bit more sunshine to start the week off.  But I’m never one to dwell on the negative.  I have always tried to see the positive — telling myself that the glass is half full — and what better way to reinforce it than to try and get the posts rolling on this side of the web.  I thought I’d keep it short and sweet and this being a Monday, here you go with the latest and greatest Monday Musings from Pinay New Yorker.

Monday Musings are actually supposed to be a snapshot of the things that are brewing in my head.  It’s a list of disconnected thoughts that will hopefully spur an actual full length post sometime during the week.  I’ve tried to keep it a regular to do here but haven’t been quite successful, but when I do write a post on the topic, it serves as a start of the week warm up that gets me to the next post.

Summer is (almost) here.  I like the warm weather because it’s always hot from where I came from, and when it rains it really pours.  So this hot and cold and hot and wet days we’ve been having are not new to me.  I just wish that it will stay hot if it’s “warmer” we’re heading towards, instead of seesawing between the two ends of the thermometer, depending on Mother Nature’s mood.  So we’ve been having hot and cold days with no discernible pattern, and I’m just glad that the forecasts are more or less on point.  Time to get the summer planning going.

Busy crafting.  My creative spirits have been bouyed by business picking up in my Etsy Shop.  Half the time I’m reposting inventory that had expired and posting what is already finished.  I’m trying to keep myself from creating new items until I’ve taken cared of most of what’s in the existing inventory, but I’m hoping to keep the orders coming in.  It’s not as simple as creating the items and then listing it.  There is a whole process to being an etsy seller, and while it can sometimes entail a lot of work, it’s nice to see my items available for sale.

Then there’s the additional task of marketing it on social media — but that’s another post altogether.. more on this for later.

Experiencing New York in 60 seconds.  A week or two ago, I attempted to capture snippets of my day in short video clips I strung together into a minute-long summary of how my day went.   What had started out as a pronounced effort to create something without any fuss turned out to be quite the learning experience for me.  Remember that I shoot only with my iphone6.  I published the videos under my GothamChickshopper monicker where I’ve created a Youtube Channel.  My first attempts were laughable but an enjoyable laughing trip for me, more so after I realized I had shot the videos in the wrong orientation.  I have since corrected the error, but I’m still trying to find the best way to edit the videos.  They are grainy and pixelized and more for viewing on your smartphone.

Here’s one sample below which I like because of the tender moments innocently captured as I panned the camera.

Life changes have taken me over.  I am embarking on a new journey and happily doing so with my not so little guy by my side, but I’m trying to bounce back and even step up my cadence as I begin afresh.

All excited to write about that if I can only get a moment to breathe and hit the keys.  Soon.

Monday Musing – Back!

MondayMusingsLogoA full week of silence is not only unacceptable but sad.  I have been trying very hard to be consistent with posting here, but juggling two corners of the web has been a bit of a struggle along with my attempts to keep two Etsy shops going.  I am giving it the effort to get back into a workable rhythm that will allow me to work all this multi-tasking seamlessly, but I haven’t quite settled into it just yet.  Trying.

They said when you don’t know what to write, it helps to revisit old habits and one of the things I’ve missed doing is writing under this banner, and to think it’s one of the easiest things to write about because it is a hodge podge of topics popping in my head as I write.  Anything goes, so they say.

UntitledThe return to Etsy.  So in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been busy setting up the return of two of my stores.  One has been my longstanding jewelry storefront, and the other, a fleeting foray into paper goods which I am now populating with handmade cards.  That’s GothamChick and PaperKrafts, respectively.

It isn’t all that difficult bringing GothamChick back up and running — primarily because I have the stocks to populate the store with.  PaperKrafts has me creating and posting simultaneously, and while it’s sometimes a mad rush to produce the items, photograph, edit and post, I’m enjoying putting out my handcrafted cards out there for people to hopefully buy and use.  It has also allowed me to revisit and use long forgotten art supplies I’ve had all this time, along with my Paper Flower Garden project I have been just drawing and cutting the last couple of months.

Coming up: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  I’m happy and at the same time a bit frazzled by the fact that we are now entering the last quarter of the year.  2017 is just around the corner, and there are three major holidays coming up.

Halloween basically still figures as “major” because the boy is only 12 (and still thinking about a costume) and I live in a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is taken seriously.  Last year, I wore a costume and managed to surprise myself and not just a few trick-or-treaters with what I came up with, and I had vowed to do a costume this year.  After much thought, I think I’ve come up with something acceptable and I really should get started on pulling it together soon.  (Blog post coming.)

Thanksgiving is an “evolving” holiday for my boy and I, given that we are in the midst of a major transition in our lives.  I’m trying to make it low key given that, but it doesn’t mean we will not celebrate.  “How” is the bigger question — but there’s time to figure that one out.

And finally my favorite holiday of the year is coming, and again, during a major transition.  Last year, I promised Angelo we will really decorate this time, and I’m beginning to feel the pressure right now, but this should be a breeze.  I’m all excited just thinking about it!

Those Mondays that make you wish there was a third day to the weekend.  I almost didn’t want to get up until I remembered it was a work day, and I had promised myself I will try to make it to work early.  (Which, of course, didn’t happen despite my best efforts.)  The past week has been a tough one to handle in many respects, and I am really putting in the effort to try and take things as they come, without letting them weigh me down.

So I’m making a major push to get motivated and stay motivated so that I don’t lose my way.

There are just so many things going on in the background and I am trying to stay positive by shutting out the negative or the unknown.  It isn’t easy.  I think it’s human nature to worry and give in to anxiety — even if neither one actually helps us in any way.

Again, trying.

 

 

Back to Monday Musings (on a Tuesday)

MondayMusingsLogoIt’s a tad frustrating to see that my last post here was mid May and we are getting on with June.  I had unsuccessfully tried to begin half a dozen posts, but no luck.  Rather than write a full post on any given topic or blog prompt, I thought going back to the bullet style update I do under this banner would help me get things rolling.  

What have I been up to?

Summer’s on!  It feels as though we skipped spring altogether and jumped head on into summer!  Is that spring being short or summer coming early?  It’s a little tricky deciding but our days are definitely hotter, and the preview of the heat coming our way is making me wish for fall.  Lighter clothes, less layers — yes!  But then I remember Summer’s past when I had to be creative with commuting to work– I literally had to don something else to brave the heat with and change to more appropriate work clothes when I got there!  Hopefully not again…

There’s a lot of fun summer trends making a come back like off shoulder tops and flowing skirts.  I’m excited because of my newfound sewing skills which I am trying to convert into something I can wear.  I’ll delve into that in more detail in my craft blog, but yes, I’m going to fearlessly declare that I hope to make my own clothes!

Vacation plans brewing.  I am getting ready for a trip the second half of June, but I’d rather write about that while it’s happening or maybe after.  I’m excited for many reasons, but principally because this is the first vacation I’m planning for just myself.  It’s doubly exciting because I’m meeting up with BFF Donna who will be there with her family.

One of my oldest friends from way back when, we only get to meet up when she brings her brood here to New York.  This time, we’re heading closer to her Down Under to get some sun!

I have been putting together my gear the last couple of weeks and have started packing.  Two weeks to go and I’m off!  Blog post coming on what I’m packing and bringing with me.

And of course, I’m still trying to decide when I should actually fly to Manila.  The trips are a little easier and more difficult to do these days now.  Angelo is bigger and is actually a better travel companion, but then adjusting the vacation to his summer schedule can be a bit heavy on the pocket as it’s peak season on our side of the world.  Still, we take into consideration his request to be able to stay in Manila longer so he can immerse himself in the culture, and more importantly, to get to spend time with family on both sides while there.

Make up happy.  I’ve actually avoided writing about this because I hate posting pictures of myself here.  But one thing I will always be is a make up junkie — something I have been since my teens.   My dream as one is to actually be able to sit in Juan Sarte’s make up chair and see myself magically transformed.  The story behind why Juan Sarte is actually rather long and personal, but his artistry should suffice as an explanation.  I would love to be his apprentice if I had the opportunity or luxury but I’d probably have to fall in line behind hundreds of other aspirants.

I’ve been experimenting with lip paint and just found a drugstore brand that compares to the fancier and pricier ones.  (Again, blog post coming.)

At 50 and as an Asian, I get so wowed by the fierce and bold reds and pinks I see in the streets of New York, but I am cautious about the colors I wear.  It’s very tricky when you take into account that the colors you wear should agree with your skin tone, and now at 50, your age, so much so that you just have to be discriminating in what you pick.

But make up has always been a source of joy.  You won’t believe how a quick run through the make up counters back home used to make me giddy happy.  These days, it’s as simple as checking out what’s on sale, and patiently running between the samplers and the make up cleansers in ever busy Sephora.

Sew excited!  Pun intended.  So I wrapped up the 6-week beginner sewing class over at Mood Fabrics’ MoodUniversity.  The next set of classes begin next weekend (June 13 for the Adult Advanced Sewing class), but I am going to have to postpone to the fall due to vacation plans.  And yet I’m all gungho about attempting some sewing for me to wear (yes!) this summer and fall.

More on that on the craft blog!

Legal Eaglets in waiting.  Happiness is completing a blog post here — finally!  Goal for the week: two more posts.  Let’s see where that goes.  I owe two of my 39 readers a reply after I got some very touching feedback via email (pinaynewyorker at gmail dot com) and each one deserves its own post.  Hoping.

Monday Musings: Afterstorm Thoughts

MondayMusingsLogoI wanted to write during the weekend but all-day and all-night snowstorms tend to turn down my energy levels to an all-time low.  So no, I didn’t get to do a Friday Five update from last week’s list — probably more because I didn’t really have much to say.  But there is hope that list will get done a week late.  But still done.

I tried to take a walk yesterday but there was still #snow everywhere. This #firehydrant in front of my place is usually my #meterstick when it comes to the #snowfall. He's buried deep as you can see. Not looking forward to walking out to catch the busIt snowed, and it snowed and it snowed.  Most people from where I come from (where we do NOT have snow and where it is HOT all year round even when it’s coolest in December) dream of seeing snow and witnessing the snow falling.  I did, too, when I first got here and I got a big snowstorm to make that wish come true during my first winter.  Then I had to walk out the day after the storm because someone was sick and I just felt I had to go get some tea.  So I went out in the snow and got some tea from the grocery behind our apartment. It was then that I realized it wasn’t all that pretty—and I lost my love for snow after that.  It’s one of those things that you wish would fall so you could enjoy it and then magically disappear.  Alas, it doesn’t.

Because it’s cold it usually lingers.  And when it warms up a tad, the snow melts and then freezes into ice.  I don’t know about you but I like walking without having to worry that I will fall, and I have fallen a few times.  I am thinking of the warmer climes of Manila and wishing the snow away.  While the sun finally showered us with so much needed sunshine yesterday and today, just because so much of it fell, I don’t think the snow is going away anytime soon.  There are mountains of snow in the city taller than you and me.  (Of course, I’m a short 5’2″. )  Then again, Mother Nature might relent.

Peasant Pasta, my go to comfort food.  I gave up rice decades ago, but I have always had a love-hate relationship with pasta.  I love to eat it and I can cook it well. Of course I have to be firm with myself when I actually am on a diet — because pasta is anathema to any cleanse or weight loss regimen.

For all the ingredients and cooking secrets (like how to make it sweet like the Jollibee spaghetti even my little tyke loves), my favorite pasta is actually a simple mix of pasta dressed with olive oil or butter and sprinkled with black pepper and a ton of parmesan cheese.  I went into the weekend ready, and I cooked up some for one of the meals during the storm.

  •  I cook enough pasta for one serving in, believe it or not, a tiny sauce pan.  I had read up somewhere that you don’t really have to have a huge pot boiling.  You just need to estimate the pasta you need, cut it up in the appropriate size to fit in the itsy-bitsy pan and fill it with water to cover the pasta.  Make sure to stir during the first 60 seconds to stop it from adhering and be sparing with the olive oil.  I don’t salt my pasta because I have a bland palate.  (I even do my eggs the same way — no salt AT ALL.  Gasp.)
  • I don’t rinse my pasta but just drain it.  (Pasta for one goes straight into my bowl, and I find that rinsing helps only if you intend to store the pasta leftover for use with a different sauce or more sauce later.)  While still hot, I put a slice of butter, sprinkle some pepper and then toss to coat the pasta.
  • And the final touch — grated cheese to your heart’s desire.  I don’t toss the cheese with the pepper or the oil/butter because I find that it tends to clump together and gets concentrated in some of the pasta.  I do it at the end.
  • Eat heartily.

Somehow, just writing that up made me hungry again.  And I have sworn off pasta for until my next “break” in between phases.  That might be a while.

Social media can be a blessing and a curse.  I’m including this here as a reminder to myself that this is one post I must write about one day soon.  So many secrets have been spilled via social media.  Don’t you just hate how you can stumble on to something you wish you never knew about or found out — but it was just there for all the world to see, and turns out, you were the last to see it?

One can deny the truth to death, but beware of exif data on those snapshots.  And everything online is dated — even if Instagram makes you calculate by number of weeks passed, you’d eventually arrive at a proximate timeframe within a week’s window.  Which reminds me how just a little more than a year ago, I received one such picture of what would have been easily deniable without the photo evidence.

The universe listens and when it speaks, it’s our turn to pay attention.  It’s so uncanny how right at that moment when you feel your grip slipping, something mundane or ordinary chimes in and reminds you to keep your focus on the positive instead of dwelling on the other side.  Silly hats and unexpected hellos that remind you that for every person who hurt you or broke your heart, you found two or three who blessed your life with their friendship and love .  It’s as if the universe heard your anger boiling up inside and decided to send a refreshing breeze your way to remind you about the good things that came out of all the tears and the pain.

And you end your day thinking “Yes, I’m in very good place.”
Untitled
 

 

Monday Musings: Soledad and Company

MondayMusingsLogoI’m trying to keep my momentum here, hoping to post more regularly. If the pace at which I’ve been writing is any indication, then you know that things have been going rather slowly on my end.  Not for lack of anything blogworthy to write about — I have just been feeling lethargic.  Could it be the fact that I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning most of last week?  Last night was the first straight slumber I enjoyed which saw me not wanting to get up when the alarm rang at 6am.  I was just grateful it was an uninterrupted morning slumber that saw me opening my eyes all fresh and ready to embrace the new week AFTER 5:59am!

Reading again: Soledad’s Sister by Jose “Butch” Dalisay

This is a  bit of a personal journey for me because I am actually reading a signed copy from the esteemed columnist and academician, Prof. Butch Dalisay.   (Read the Wikipedia stub about him here and the Philstar Author Archive of his column, Penman, here)  I had received this book more than 10 years ago from a friend then, but had never gotten around to reading it until now.  It should be a book I can easily finish in one sitting, but it’s a good read you want to savor and take on bit by bit, like that sinfully delicious box of chocolates that you just hope you could keep for the longest.  Funny and witty and truly Filipino, the book brings me home.  I’m still reading, so you’ll be hearing about this one again.

New discovery: Bittersweet NYC  – Who doesn’t like surprises?  A friend had gifted me a box of Diwali treats to celebrate this Indian holiday and I loved every morsel of it.  It went on my Instagram feed no less than three times, with these simple pictures of individual delicacies against a white backdrop.  Pictured here is their fairy fudge, a small square of heaven with pink glitter.  Yes, pink glitter you can eat!  If you like to indulge in not-so-sweet and not-so-ordinary but yummy treats, you should give these a try.  I will try to write more about this in my shopping blog, GothamChick Shopper, once I get that rolling.  (Nothing there yet, so don’t get too excited.)  I do get adventurous with my palate and being Filipino, we never shy away from exotic food.  This box of treats reminded me of our own delicacies back home from the many regions that make our culture so rich.  We have our kalamay and other kakanins — and this is not that much different.  One sweet surprise was the spicy chocolate truffle!  I liked the way the spicyness crept up at the end after you got to enjoy the chocolatey goodness of that one bite.  They’re based in Queens but do take orders on their website.  Not so sure that they actually have a physical shop, but they do pop-up stores in Manhattan occasionally like over the holiday of Diwali last week.

And the holidays are here!  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what I’m going to do for holiday cards.  I am starting to think of presents for my little guy and the people around me.  Not too many to give away, but I have some things I had set aside to make into present for some people who I’d like to play Santa to this year.

One thing I’m doing differently for Christmas 2015 is that I am thinking of getting a gift for myself.  We always think of the season of gift giving (be it Christmas or Hanukkah) as a time to give to others.  Have you ever thought about you deserving something, too?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I think one thing we must all do at the end of the year is to remember to take care of ourselves and cherish who we are.  What would be a nice present that would not break the bank, but would make for a meaningful holiday gift?

Lists and more lists.  I received my copy of the favorite list of dear Oprah, and I haven’t really had the chance to go through it — but who says we can’t make our own list of gifts?  (Trying not to make it too obvious that I’m thinking that would make for a good blog filler.)

Another review of my Things to do for 2015 is also in order — since the last update was August yet.  I’m almost dreading that list — because I am afraid I might not have made much progress.  From the top of my head, I know that I have to admit defeat in one or two which came and went and I missed it. (NY Comic Con 2015 for one..=(.. I know, I know..)

And never too early to start thinking of (1) The Lessons of 2015, (2) Things I want to do/accomplish before the year ends, and (3)  Things I wish I had done in 2015.  Okay, maybe not the last.  I’m not too sure that will bring me happy thoughts, but I think it’s a good way to check how one could have done things differently.

So we’re closer to the end of the year and before you know it, 2016 will be here!  This year has flown by… my boy has grown so much I am almost sure he will shoot up in the next 12-18 months and I’ll be looking up at him when I scold him.  Part of me dreads that, and part of me can’t wait.. motherhood.. !

Here’s to a blessed and fruitful week ahead.  I know mine has started off rather well, and I am not complaining despite the cold.. It’s just another New York autumn night..