Monday Musings: “Where did that other sock go?”, French Onion Soup and other tidbits

MondayMusingsLogoI had promised myself I would try to turn in early today, but just as I was about to call it a night, I found myself drawn to my laptop to attempt a last minute post that I hope will be published Monday.  (There’s a way around that..)

I had started it on the way home earlier but as always, a hundred and one things got in the way.  This is supposed to be a hodgepodge of thoughts that I try to pull together most Mondays.  There are times when I succeed in actually starting the post even before Monday hits, but this weekend was pretty busy and today was particularly chaotic.  I just hope things eventually ease up midweek on.  Tomorrow, hopefully, will not be as brutal.  This is not meant to be a coherent post — more like an enumeration of shot quips.  Be warned, though, that brevity is not one of my stronger suits.

“Where did the other sock go?”  Don’t you just hate it when you find yourself puzzled as to where half of a pair of socks suddenly goes missing?  I probably have like a a whole shoe box (if not more) of them tucked under my bed, because I just can’t throw them away as I constantly hope to find the missing half.  Maybe someone picked them up by accident?  Maybe I missed the hamper when I took them off and the other half landed somewhere else?  Maybe it’s true that the laundromat actually “eats” socks.. but almost always, just half of a pair and never both!

I’m loving French Onion Soup these days.  Blame it on Maison Kayser.  I’ve been there at least once a week, and usually to have a bowl of their French Onion Soup.  We have one close by on 40th between Fifth and Sixth Avenues by Bryant Park, so if you’re in the neighborhood, go try it.  I heard, though, that the Tuna Nicoise wasn’t all that fantastic.

The BESt French Onion Soup EVER from Maison Kayser on 40th between 5th and Avenue of the Americas.. And Franck took very good care of us, too!  #withPeterO #maisonkayser #frenchonionsoup #bestfrenchonionsoupever #foodtrip #foodporn #gastronomictreat #manh Snow on the first day of spring.  I found myself visiting a friend somewhere around Central Park West last Friday and finally fulfilled my wish to photograph Central Park in the midst of a snowstorm.  It was just totally awesome to be there, umbrella in hand, trying to keep the huge flakes from hitting me, and snapping away on my iPhone.  I managed to grab quite a few shots in the midst of it all and even that, in itself, was quite the experience.  I would’ve gotten further into the park, but it so happened I was wearing the wrong boots and just couldn’t risk getting all wet and soggy, or worse, slipping in the snow.  Sometimes I just get lucky.. like Friday.  I will post a photo essay on the photographs I managed to snap up — soon.

#CentralParkWest : I would've walked deeper into the park but the snow was falling hard and I wasn't wearing the right boots! #wintertospring #1stDayofSpring #mynyc #mynewyork #manhattan #centralpark #nofilter #aaoc #snow

And yes, Spring finally arrived!  I spent the weekend going into the city to browse some stores and try to find the elusive gown, and while New York continued to be chilly up to Monday (and tomorrow, reportedly), still, it was evident that the snowstorm of Friday didn’t quite stop Spring from finally arriving.

The snow is gone.. the air is crisper — and while we’re all tempted to dress lightly — we’re not quite there yet.

Just the other day I took a shot of this very same frame and it was snowing like there was no tomorrow.  Today was cold but the sun was out.. Couldn't be better! #Spring #SpringinNYC #BryantPark #midtown #MidtownManhattan #manhattan #mynewyork

Another week and another season begins.  I feel as though I am beginning so many new things this week, some of which started the previous week.  New resolutions, new realizations.  You come upon the not so obvious things that make such a profound impact on the way you view things when it finally hits you.

You find yourself more daring, and more easily given to taking a chance.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been through so much in the last 20 months or so that I feel I can weather most anything, at its worst, and it’s about time I reaped the rewards — if I get lucky and I end up with a win.  Sometimes, even I surprise myself.  A friend told me I was brave — I said, I think not.  I can’t explain why certain decisions I make now are the complete opposite of what is expected of me.  Maybe I’ve stopped trying to live up to expectations and instead am trying to live my life the way I want it — keeping on my journey to happy with a better focus on taking care of me.

So goes life.  Happy Monday, everyone.

Monday Musings – Give me some sunshine

I will overcome: word art on Kraft paper from an art journal entry a year ago. #wordart #artjournaleveryday #artjournal #laseronkraftpaper #kraftscrap #personalart #iwillovercome #determinationBack to the art journaling.  I have been slow with the journaling and started writing entries for the previous week only last night.  After I had finished for the evening, I went over the earlier pages and found myself at this entry I put in a year ago.  (And yes, the second word was broken up into two just to make it fit into a square word art.  I can spell.)

At the time, it was the inner me trying to push myself to go on in the midst of all the challenges that I was trying to cope with.  I felt like I was drowning in anger and pain and I didn’t know which way to go to make myself feel balanced again.  I was having palpitations that were so strong they made me cough — I would sometimes be walking and angry thoughts would overtake my heart and I would be filled with such rage I often found myself on the verge of tears.

I was at the lowest of lows that I told myself I will never say anything was the worst, because the worst might be yet to come.

Did I succeed and pull myself out of my lowest of lows?  I think I did overcome — and I managed to get back on my feet again.  A lot has changed.  A lot in me has changed.  I found me again.

The head strong, confident and practical minded me is back.  Less angry, not as easily hurt, and more focused.  It was a long journey, and I’m still on that journey — but I’ve come very far from where I was a year ago.  Yes, I did.

No one told me about the science projects being part of motherhood.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m used to this — I used to have my brother, Nikki, sit in front of me while I did those projects.  Then when everything had been submitted, I would ask with pride — “What grade did I get?”  I am trying not to be as lenient with Angelo now, so we are doing the projects together.  Science projects can be quite the task to complete even when you are just supervising.

I was told this ends here.. I hope.  Or maybe not.  The project has been finished finally… now Mom can breathe a sigh of relief.

Another freezing week in New York City.  When are we going to see spring?  We didn’t quite get as much snow as last year’s, but the termperatures have been brutally cold.  For the first time in my 15 years here, I saw 1 degree.  I almost turned into a popsicle.  The good thing was, double leggings and double and triple sweaters did the trick.  And I was careful not to breathe in the freezing air except through my infinity scarf.  That helped.. a bit.

So the week has started.  It’s been good — so far.  I’m trying to take things a day at a time.  Monday has been good so far.

Icy Hudson! Yes, it is THAT cold.. #winter #iceontheriver #hudsonriver #winter #winterinnewyork #cold

Monday Musings: Rain + Snow =”Me not happy”

Monday Musings are snippets of what’s going on in my mind as the week begins.  It’s not meant to be a coherent post.  It’s mostly a list for my own consumption.

Yes, the snow did come!  We had snow last night and the weathermen didn’t disappoint this time.  I sense they are being modest with their forecasts because of the brouhaha over last week’s “over-forcecasting of x feet of snow”.  Really.  I can’t understand why people are complaining that we didn’t get buried in what was being broadcast as one of the worst snowstorms in New York history.  Me, I’m just grateful that it was what it was.  I got a snow day which I didn’t mind at all — even if it meant being cooped up at home.  I still don’t like the “after” — slush and ice but it warmed up quickly enough that I didn’t have to worry too much about slipping as I walked outside.

Today’s snow is mixed with rain, though, so while back home in Manila, people would think of that as something akin to the snowcone (which is like our Italian Ice here in New York), what actually happens is a sheet of ice forms being that temperatures dip mixing the ice and the rain, instead of the rain melting the snow.  Perfect equation for Dinna slipping on her way home.  (Fingers crossed!)
Snow never stopped New York City.. The lights burn bright illuminating the snow-topped buildings.  It's actually a pretty sight from my perch.  It tells me how cold it might possibly be but I'm all bundled up.  Keep warm!  #mynewyork #snowneverstoppedNYC

Creating again.  I stayed home all weekend, most of the time with my fleece blanket keeping me warm on the living room sofa.  I didn’t really nap — I think.  Not much.  I also managed to do more than just journaling — I did backgrounds.  What’s more, I created this pendant from a fancy half strand of Rose Quartz faceted nuggets, and one of five fancy cut pink quartz puffed square beads I bought ages ago for quite a price, but had no idea what I would do with it.  Angelo was amazed at what I came up with in what he thought was such a short period of time (only half the afternoon, thank you) — but the truth of it is, it took me around 4 attempts until I was happy enough not to cut the wire and disassemble the piece to try again.

I need to get used to my pliers again and find my wire.  (I only found the gauge 30 artistic wire which was too thin and I didn’t want to crochet wire this time. It took me awhile to decide between the gauge 22 and 24.  I finally settled on the latter.)

I needed the creative outlet because I was deep into a document that was being thrown back and forth, and which, for all it’s simplicity, was giving me the biggest throbbing headache I hadn’t known in more than a year.  (Yes, the ghosts of unresolved dilemmas from that far back can come back with a vengeance that not even Aleve can help me with.)  I could’ve gone on and on but Sunday afternoon saw me deciding to postpone it and give my tired mind (and heart) a break.  I wrote back that I will give a response this week.  The world will not stop turning, waiting for my reply.  I have one all written up, but it was too snarky and might muddle the peace process.

That’s when I decided I was going to make myself a Rose Quartz Pendant I’ve aptly named “Heal my Heart.”  (Note to self: post about the piece in the other blog.)
Pendant: "Heal my Heart" In Rose quartz and #pinkquartz - happy to be creating again, this time a piece to wear.  Gemstones are touted to have different properties and energy.  #RoseQuartz is touted to be both a #StoneofLove and a #HealingStone.  Large fa

I’m beginning to miss Target.  I usually go there every other week.  I’m going to miss going there for a bit because I don’t drive.  I remember Lou telling me there will always be cabs and other ways to go –if I need to go — until the little tyke is big enough to drive me.  And yes, there’s Target online, after all.  It won’t let me go through the make up and all (which is a favorite to-do.. what’s the latest shade, latest product.. let me get that one, and that one!), but when you really think about it — I can always go to the local neighborhood drugstore and pick up my stash from there — at least the ones I don’t get from the department stores.  And let’s not forget Sephora which is everywhere around me in the city.

As for Michael’s, thankfully, there’s one nearby that I can commute to.. even closer than the one in the city that is commutable from work.  I will survive.. “for as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive… ” .. Okay, enough of the singing.  The rain is bad as it is. LOL

I need to seriously diet again.  Luckily, I haven’t gained weight.  The sad thing is, I haven’t lost any beyond the half pound I gain and lose depending on how much chocolate I ate.  I have to get serious about this because the wedding is in April, and I am slated to buy my gown, in say, 6 weeks.  (I’m going to be a Ninang to the groom who is my godson in baptism.  A favorite one, at that!)

I’m so excited about this trip home for many reasons, primarily because it’s my birthday gift to myself.  (Jumping up and down for joy!)  And like Ces had told me last year, if I ever need loving, all I needed to do was go home because there was a whole lot of that back there from her and from the family.  I can’t wait.  Even if my last trip home was just December 2013, it seems like it’s been forever and a day.

But back to the weight loss saga, it’s a toss up between seriously plunging into the crash phase of The Dukan Diet: 2 Steps to Lose the Weight, 2 Steps to Keep It Off Forever (again) which has worked for me (lost two sizes and its the same diet that is helping me not gain any weight..) or do this new program about doing 21-day cycles.  (Purchase plus commitment to do 30-minute workouts daily.  Might work..)

TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE: Notes, Chords and all.  Yes, I did it.  Just bought it from Music Notes today…  Then I had to think about whether or not I would transpose to a lower key which, after whispering the song in the lowest possible volume to myself in 2 keys higher than the original and one key lower, I realize is the better one to sing to —  hence, the one I should endeavor to study.  Next step, find me a rehearsal studio.  With all the crappy weather this week, I think I’ll target next week for the first hour.. or maybe this weekend.  (I  have a “ME” weekend coming up..)

Of course, I’m no Adele — but she does sing at a relatively lower key that is manageable for trying hard singers like me.  But more than just the singing, I want to PLAY the song!  Lou (from Chicago), is offering me her piano for free.  I WISH!!!!  I would gladly take that off your hands, if I could, but getting that from there to here would be such a herculean task that I will have to pass up on the offer.  (SADLY.)

First Monday of February.  Where did January go?  I’m actually grateful that the month has passed.  It makes me feel like I’m actually moving forward.  Maybe it’s just because I’m in the middle of something I’ve been told will take a tad longer than I would want to give it time to be completed.. but that is beyond my control.  The passing of the months is actually comforting, because then, the longer period of time I’ve been told to expect will be done in no time at all.  Patience, Dinna — I tell myself.  It has never been one of my stronger suits.

Compassion comes from the strangest of places.  I had a talk with a lady who, in her professional capacity, gives out compassion in buckets every single day.  I tried to be cool and collected, laughing through her inquiries, and yet trying to let her know I’m really at a loss as to what I’m supposed to do.  I spoke, she listened.  Then in a very calm way, she told me I should take care of me.

She gave me her professional opinion.  Again, I listened.  And I stood calmly, clutching my phone to my ear, and my mind to my heart.

“It is important that you take care of yourself,” she said.   Hearing that from someone I only knew professionally, somehow felt like a warm hug to the heart — on this day when I am trying to bundle up against the cold of winter, and when I am trying to find my balance as the road starts to get uneven and steep, those words came like the crutch I needed.

Time to brave the cold.  Bundle up, New York!
Snowy morning in Bryant Park.. The ground hog said six more weeks of this!  Lovely to behold but it's another thing to wade through this all layered up... Keep warm, NYC ! #groundhogdayNY #sixmoreweeksofwinter #nyc #mynewyork #manhattan #midtown #wintervi

Monday Musings – bits and pieces here and there

I tried — rather unsuccessfully — to do another Daily Prompt post yesterday.  There are times when a topic appeals to me, but no matter how I try, I cannot pull a coherent post together.  For the most part, it’s because I kept trying to censor myself and not be too obvious.  And so I just gave up and decided all the subterfuge was defeating the very purpose of writing.  I don’t think that post will ever see the light of day.

Moving on..

My head is pounding and no amount of painkillers seem to be helping.  I’m buried in work and not even Robert Palmer seems to help.  He’s singing in the background on ultra-low volume, but I can hear the percussions very clearly.  (I still mourn his loss.)  I am almost counting the minutes to the time I can leave work, but the prospect of braving the cold makes me ambivalent about that.  Then again, it would be nice to take a nap between Manhattan and home..

When I can’t quite write longer than a paragraph or two on a Monday, I collate all those scattered thoughts into one single piece I’ve started calling Monday Musings.. here’s this week’s.

Cannelloni —  pray tell me, Jonathan, I don’t remember what that’s about.  Those who know me know Jonathan is my friend of thirty-something years from pre-law in UP Manila, and one of those who inspired me to pursue the dream of becoming a lawyer as he jumped into law school a year ahead of me.  He is also one of my dearest friends who knows me to the core, and is my personal attorney.  (Pro bono, or compensated with love and affection.)  I had copied a status thread where you were supposed to leave a comment if you were my friend and just one word — a single word – as to how we met.

Jonathan wrote “Cannelloni”.   It wasn’t so much what he wrote but that he wrote — and I felt the tears welling up.  I took a deep breath and just smiled.   I used to love Cannelloni — I believe from Angelino’s, a rather famous Italian restaurant in Makati and Greenhills from the 80s.  And I can’t remember, for the life of me, what one of my favorite dishes has to do with how he and I met.  We were from different cliques in the university but I ended up being the only girl in the group — everyone’s younger sister — the one who drank a soda whenever they ordered another round of beer.  I still can’t remember… (Note to self: Write and ask..)

nyc2008Starbucks mugs — to display or not to display..  I have been collecting Starbucks mugs (and only Starbucks, please) for 14 years now, and I have been meaning to re-arrange them and display them again.  (I just need to rewrap them in clear plastic to prevent them from collecting dust and grime.)  Events in the last 12 months had made me rethink that, almost to the point of making me think of packing them up and storing them away.  I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I’m maybe 20 mugs behind photographing the collection, but I never really stopped adding new ones.  And of course, friends who knew about my collection brought me additions to the set from places as far as Dubai and India, and Alan had brought me one from Jordan during the last business trip to Iran which, unfortunately, hasn’t been invaded by our favorite brew.  My siblings sent me Tagaytay and Cebu.  (And I think Bohol.. not sure..)  What to do..

 

 

 

Monday Musings: And Jonathan said hello

One of my dearest and oldest friends just chimed in this morning after I had sent him messages on Viber and Facebook asking about how he was.  He had appeared in one of my dreams (which, superstitious as I am, I take as a call or nudge of sorts from the universe), and I sent him the usual “How are you?  Hope all is well.. dreamt about you” kind of e-mail.  It took him a while to respond but I was relieved to hear things couldn’t be better.

He’s probably one of the few guy friends I have who have known me for decades and still know everything that is current about me. Well, almost.  Our lives make it hard to catch up in real time, but when we do, we update one another as if we just spoke yesterday.  He was also one of the few friends I saw during my last trip home in December 2013.   He is not only one of my closest friends but has been designated my personal lawyer and executor.  (Reminder to self: Finish that holographic will.)  We never miss each other’s birthdays because we were born just 2 days apart — so when he greets me, I greet him.  It has become a race of sorts as we try to beat each other to greeting the other one when our birthday month comes.  So how can we forget?

He was there during the most painful time of my life where I didn’t know where else to turn.  When I shunned seeing most of the other friends I would have run to, the one guy I called straight from New York was Jonathan.  There are certain people who we know will catch us when we fall, no matter how long ago it was that we last spoke with them.  They will always be there.  Jonathan is one of those people in my life.

His counsel is one I value not just because the advice he gives is deeply thought out and deliberate, but because I know I will always hear it straight, coming from him.  No matter how the truth may hurt, he will give it to me but with the gentleness and compassion of a brother at heart.  I remember around the time I was hoping to settle down just over 15 years ago, I had gone out with him and our usual group of boys from college — half of who were already lawyers like him and me, and others equally successful in their chosen careers.  I was seeing someone who seemed to be “the one” but was not quite nestled in my comfort zone the way I wanted him to be.  Jonathan never met him, but when I told him about this one who made my eyes twinkle, he flat out told me this guy was no good for me in plain and simple terms.  (The reason for which I will keep between Jonathan and I.)  And that was that.  It was like the truth was revealed and I took it as just that: the truth.  As bull headed as I can be, the truth is not always something I take to hearing kindly, more so when it runs contrary to what I hold it to be.

But not from Jonathan.

Happy to hear that all is well with you, my friend.  I have missed you but you are always in my heart.  I hear your voice and laughter in the background when the memories come, more so when I feel alone and needing your counsel.  There are so many things I want to tell you, and in time, I will.  Very few people know the whole story and because you do, no explanations are necessary.  You know because you know my heart.

So maybe we will get to do a joint birthday celebration next year, even if belatedly.  And we can laugh and drink and catch up then..

 

Monday Musings (Random thoughts on another day I woke up before 5am)

It’s still pitch black outside even if it’s already 10 minutes to 6:00.  I finally gave up trying to go back to sleep after waking up at past 4am and crawled out of bed to brew my morning cup.  My brain is still trying to wake up all it’s circuits so I thought I’d just write up a list of disparate thoughts which, I hope, I can or might develop into a full blown post somewhere along the way.

Monday usually finds me feeling like I’m floating from the weekend to the rush of the new week.  I do look forward to the start of the week and the thought of Monday as a reboot to the weekend just ended helps get me on my way.  I wish there was a third day to the weekend, but then at the same time, I often find myself wishing the work week itself was 6 instead of just 5 days. (I know I’m blabbering, but I make no apologies because it’s a Monday — an EARLY Monday morning.)

Facebook  (and my BFFs mom) yet saves my day (and pulls me out of the hole) from a missed Cindy Lauper concert promised to BFF Fe some moons ago..  We all make promises.  I try not to.  More so when I know there is a good chance I won’t be able to keep it, because I not only hate to disappoint the person I’m making a promise to, but worse, I disappoint myself.

I had an unplanned trip home in March 2012 (right after the Christmas visit of December 2011 and before the last trip this December 2013) and it so happened that Cindy Lauper was playing in Manila.  I promised Fe we would go, but we didn’t.  And I know she’s felt bad about that since .  But over the weekend she posted something that sort of saved my neck (although not entirely).  I’m sorry, Peps… even if you say I need not apologize.. I am.  I knew you were looking forward to that concert and a promise is a promise.  For whatever it’s worth, I have never enjoyed attending and dancing at a concert like I have with you — remembering that Side A concert we saw courtesy of you-know-who way back when I saw a lot of concerts and fashion shows.

Moving to New York in 2000 — (and I’m suddenly hit with “Wow — it HAS been THAT long!”) — I have always been content with the lifestyle choice I made when I started working here — until now.  Knowing what I am and what I had accomplished before I moved here, and then taking that giant step back to adjust to my new life in New York, I wonder if I had not short-changed myself in embracing the “family is the reason I came here in the first place” bit in choosing the career path I took.

In many ways, I realize now that that choice was noble and pure and is still true in my heart (and all I have to do is look at the boy who unabashedly proclaims his love for me at every turn) — but I wonder if that choice had boxed me into a role and persona that was much, much smaller than the real person I am.  (That’s a thought for me to ponder, and not meant to be answered here.  Monday.. musings.. get it?)

I have come to realize that while ACCEPTANCE does not exactly equate to FORGIVENESS, it does help to push one forward to go past what one has no control over.  I’ve always been an “I will fix this” kind of person.  I don’t know if it’s arrogance or simply my bull-headedness about being able to control things  and not letting things control me.  For the past year, I’ve been grappling with a festering wound within that I have somehow managed to tuck deeper in my heart in a vain attempt to simulate healing.  People ask me how I’m doing — I say I’m okay.  Not exactly better, but I’m okay.  That, in itself, is already “acceptance” in a sense — knowing where I am and where I’ve landed after the rollercoaster ride of the last year.

I had forgotten how I had missed school and my plans of taking on a course in History until recently, and over the weekend, when I embarked on a new journey of learning.  Procrastination has been a close companion even in my younger years.  Once it clings to me, it is so hard to shake it off.  Not too long ago, I had enrolled in an online history course via podcast from YALE, and while I was sooooo excited at the start, I never went beyond the first lecture.  Over the weekend, I got a new recommended course, this time from ColumbiaX, and I am actually excited — VERY EXCITED — to hit the books again.  (You should see my eyes twinkling at the thought.)  For all the years I spent with the Sisters of Saint Paul de Chartres (nursery to high school), the giant minds that helped shaped my once-sheltered brain to think more broadly at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Philippines, and the most challenging years at the Ateneo School of Law with the Jesuits — one thing I missed the most when I got here was studying and learning and the challenge of reading and pulling together my own thoughts and analysis from a textbook.

I had even seriously thought of auditing classes at NYU (which is why I get their course catalogue every year), but then, I never had the time.. or couldn’t make time.  Thanks to technology and everybody’s rush to be at everyone else’s fingertips, it’s a totally different classroom now, and I can be in it whenever I want to be in it.  So excited for this one!

Some things we lose cannot be replaced — like the 5,000 or so photos on my iPhone (which aren’t on my cloud) — but I can always keep taking photos and immortalize future memories in the next handheld I get.  It wasn’t so much the loss of the iPhone 5S which was part of the technology trove I get from work — but it was all those photos that I snapped away from blog graphics to pictures with my family and precious selfies of my funny guy and I.  The iPhone is being replaced this week — and I’m not complaining even if there’s a company freeze on upgrades to the iPhone 6.  But I cannot help but cringe at the thought of all the photos I lost, and the “notes” in the journal section where I had stored bits and pieces like my morning dose of the Serenity Prayer.  (Which, after a year of saying it every day in the morning, I have yet to memorize.)

It wasn’t such a total loss because a good batch of them made it to my Flickr account, and at least 300+ are on my Instagram feed.  Still.

There were a ton of photos of my altered book which was meant to document the “bare background pages” to the finished journaled layouts which are now in limbo.  Thankfully, my Thank You Postcard Project photos are actual scans of the postcards, so they were not on the iPhone.

I have somehow gotten over the initial disappointment, but it only serves to remind me that I should have backed up the files instead of relying on the fact that my iPhone and I were joined at the hip.  That is, until it fell out of my purse and into someone else’s hand.

6:55 and my day has to move on now.  I have indulged myself enough as I waited for the sun to start rising, and it’s slowly creeping up over New York City.  That doesn’t mean I can just linger here.. which I wish… but cannot.  It’s Monday, after all.  Hope you all have a good start of the week.. I know mine has gotten off to a very good one.