Monday Musings: First for the year

Monday musingsWell, I am over the moon that I am here again.. and I am on a roll!

The holidays are officially over, so I have turned off the timers and while the lights are still on the window sill and my tree is still up, they will not light up. As a Catholic Christian, the holiday season in my home ends with the feast of the Three Kings, celebrated on the first Sunday after the New Year. Beginning tonight, I will start putting away the Christmas decorations and organize them for next year. I had already gotten rid of the lights that don’t work before the holidays ended, and I did not bother taking all the balls out. I bought a new set in a nice periwinkle shade. So I have my week nights planned out, putting things away.

I am starting to read again. I just published my 19 for 2019 list and the first one on the list is my goal of reading 6 books this year. I must have started reading a total of six books (if not more) in 2018 but didn’t get to go beyond the first chapter or so, except for one. I will just pick up from where I left off and try to meet the 6 this year.

Reading has always been a form of relaxation for me, and I need the channel to unwind now more than ever. More than the intellectual stimulation, I need the chance to immerse myself in something that doesn’t stress me out. And reading has always been a refuge.

Opening a new section on the blog: New York Stories. I have always enjoyed writing about people. A long time ago, I had planned to co-write a blog with a friend featuring stories of people from different walks of life. We were both good writers and the idea was for us to alternate writing about people. It was a good idea that fizzled out, but the idea has always stayed with me.

I just want to write about ordinary people at random and tell their story as they tell it to me. There are so many interesting things we see out of the ordinary and the everyday. I have always believed that everyone has a story (or two or three) to tell. And I want to tell those stories and write them somewhere.

So to make things easier and to keep the rhythm here going, I think I’ll make it a section here in this space and maybe mirror it on a blog dedicated to it. Or not. Let’s see what happens — a story at a time.

It was a jewelry repair weekend for me. As I continue to sort my supplies and work on organizing my stocks, I took the time to repair some of the pieces I have. I started to look at new projects but later decided it was as good a time as any to actually devote time to fixing the broken pieces or just rejoin the chains that needed mending. The full post is really for the other blog, but I feel it worth mentioning here for all the effort that I put into it and how happy I am with the results. I’ve never been one to discard pieces that break and even pairs that are orphaned — there is always some use in another form somewhere.

Started the week off on a positive note. The past couple of weeks brought 2018 to a rather stressful and very challenging close for me. I have tried to cope by meditating with Headspace via its app, and that’s one thing that I’ve found effective, although I have to make a conscious effort to keep at it. I usually forego the weekends but I meditated as I woke up and just did it before getting out of bed for both Saturday and Sunday. During the workweek, I usually do it while on the bus– either heading to work or on my way home. It’s a healthy habit to try and spend that quiet time just being.

I am trying to stay positive. Sometimes, it isn’t as easy as just sulking — but then it doesn’t get me anywhere. So even if in baby steps, I am trying to move forward.

Happy Monday!

Monday Madness

Some Monday’s are just crazier than others. Today is one of the busier than busy ones, and I’m trying to steady my footing in the midst of everything buzzing around me. And I am just hoping that it turns out To be better as the wet and windy start have way to what is now a sunny and gorgeous day. Sometimes the universe grants us a reprieve and just makes everything okay again.

My brain is rating to write because writing helps me to steady my gait, but I am thinking in bullet point instead of complete sentences and paragraphs. It’s one of those days.

The weekend. That’s something I can focus on. My “now” is still in motion and I haven’t quite caught up with it. The weekend, though, has come and gone.

We had one nice and colder Saturday and a very rainy Sunday. I stayed home with my little guy just getting things done and resting and recharging.

Someone requested a Christmas ornament which I was excited to make — but it took me a while to decide on what kind of ornament it would be. Polymer clay was an option but I couldn’t find the right colors! Then I had a eureka moment and found myself hammering artistic wire and working with glass crystals. That ornament is a blog post in itself — for later.

I skipped the usual chores and focused on preparing meals for my not so little guy anymore. We went for a haircut which, nowadays, is a neighborhood barber named Boris who is a rockstar in the boy’s book as far as “cool” is concerned. We had lunch at a Japanese restaurant we both like and bought Halloween candy. I like simple weekends when I can still take care of him like I used to when he was much younger. I know that the time when he will shun that kind of attention for time with his friends is drawing near. Sometimes I pretend like I want him to act like a bigger kid, but in truth, I wish he’d stay the baby he is to me.

That was the weekend. But back to this Monday.

So the day ended on a happy note. While I don’t think that tomorrow will be any easier, I’m thinking it will not be as heavy as today when things were revealed and big changes are looming in the horizon. Not for me, but things have a way of trickling down.

I’d rather focus on the happy and the positive. No complaining, like I agreed and promised. Yes, I know, I’m more than okay.

Making a wish

It’s been relatively quiet over the weekend. Nothing special or eventful — I did manage to recharge and rest. Even took a nap or two — the exhaustion of the previous week has caught up with me, and I’m ready for another round.

I continue with experimenting with my beads (rather unsuccessfully) — had some quiet home dinners of pizza and pasta. Had the time to work on my journal and dream of trips nearer to where I am. I am trying to find a place easily accessible by bus or train, yet near enough to allow a day trip/adventure on my own.

I wish..

My entry today for my journal was a simple line — “We used to think that making a wish would make things right.. and then we grew up.” Isn’t that so true? When life was simpler, we closed our eyes to make a wish and then we relied on luck and life in general to work its magic and give it to us. Or we prayed so hard to get that which we wished for. Until we realized that wishing and life don’t necessarily hold each others’ hands throughout the journey.

My wish today? Can we skip to May? Can you believe I’m turning 48 in a couple of days? I feel old that I don’t. I see those I knew as young children now getting ready to get married. Or now going to the prom. My own little tyke is now an almost tween — a few years early than his numerical age. And yet when I look into his eyes, I see my baby.. He will forever be my baby.

On my way homeI’ve been trying to establish a semblance of being anchored again to the ground instead of spinning in a free fall like I have been doing the last six months.  Looking at my son and thinking of him helps me to grab onto something that is mine and is true and pure.

I get so amused when he tells me I can buy whatever I want within his bank balance.  I keep telling him I just want a string or two of pearls to make into a necklace — or better yet, something he made.  I guess he wants to feel like he really bought me something and I sense a hint of disappointment when I insist on the pearls because he wants to get me something fancier.

Fancy can wait for when he can get me the real diamonds he wants to get me.  He asks me how much they could cost… I said, I don’t really care.

I wish his heart will always be pure and true as it is right now.  I guard that happiness with a ferocity only a mother would know.  I have done things I never thought I was capable of in the name of my son… and I would do that all over again and more.

Another wish.. so I close my eyes, but more than wish, I pray.

Like every morning when I pray for him… and I entrust him into God’s loving care as I go about my day and he goes to school.

For now, I will let him make the wishes and believe they can come true.  He’ll grow up and realize there’s more to wishing soon enough.  Let it come when it comes…

Keeping up

Keeping up with the journaling

I’m trying to get back into the habit of posting here more regularly again. It’s lunch time, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t go beyond the break to write.  Just like I’ve been trying to be good with doing my art journaling.

You try to sort through the many thoughts running through your head and try to remember the ones you wanted to write about.  I’m kind of stumped.

It’s a beautiful but terribly cold day.  I made the mistake of walking out without my headgear nor my gloves, which made me postpone my plan to walk to one of my favorite bead stores to pick up more craft wire.  It’ll have to wait for until later.  Or tomorrow even.  I’m in no rush.  The promise of warmer and higher temps makes me smile, but I’m not holding my breath.  How many times has the weatherman said we were going to hit this and that and ended up 10 degrees lower than promised? (Again, someone make sure that Mother Nature gets the memo, please!)

I need to dig into some Fourth Grade arithmetic because the tyke has a unit test tomorrow.  Unfortunately for him, he seems to have gotten the gene that made numbers disagree with me when I was younger.  But we are both trying.  Motherhood and homework are bestfriends and inseparable, and I only wish I wasn’t grappling with other issues and could be at my 110% for the boy.  Nothing earth-shattering.  I think I’ve gone through that the latter part of 2013.  My world has settled to a numbing calm, but it’s also ground to an almost halt.

Sometimes I find myself standing still in the elevator or while waiting for the bus and I find myself wandering off in thought.  And there’s that creepy wish within not to move an inch this way or that.  Like I just want to stand there and not have to go… to anywhere.  But I always need to go — out of the elevator, out of the building, onto the line, and on the bus.

Spring is just around the corner, they say.  (They were counting down to it in the news this morning.)  Again, I’m not holding my breath.  In the 14 years I’ve been in New York City, I’ve experienced one of their worst winter storms one April maybe a decade or so ago.  (Too lazy to google.)  Almost a quarter of the year done.  Six months to the most challenging time I’ve had to go through.

Another audible sigh.  Of relief.  I’m still standing.  My world is in a status quo that it isn’t.  That statement doesn’t and yet at the same time makes a whole lot of sense to me.  At a time when I am weighed down by a forced moratorium on raising expectations, I’m actually bouyed by the thought that I made it through the last six months.  Scarred but not beaten.  Not feeling the winner but holding the trophy…

Lunch break’s over.  Time to get on with life again.

A matter of faith

Ash WednesdayI went for ash at a nearby parish which was a short walk from my building, like I had done the last 3 years.  There was this pair of ladies on the church stoop with a camera on a tripod, and I was curious but had secretly hoped they wouldn’t stop me for whatever it was they wanted to ask.  But stop me, they did.

They were doing market research and putting together a documentary in the process, and would I be willing to answer a few questions about Ash Wednesday for a talent fee of $10.  I don’t know what made me sign the release form pronto, but I said yes, took off my shades, and waited as they got set up with the rest of New York walking past me.   I was lucky that it was a sidestreet and not a main thoroughfare, but this being New York City, the traffic was pretty brisk during the lunch hour.

From the first question of what is Ash Wednesday to whether or not the Pope’s admonition about Ash Wednesday brought me here (and no, it did not — I go for my ash whoever the sitting pope is) — I’m glad I took the time to answer the questions, because it was a reaffirmation of what I have grown up to believe all my life about my religious leaning.

Like all other surveys and interviews, there is that question that sticks with you:  “How would you define faith?”  And spontaneously, I replied, “It’s believing in something or someone, a higher power or being even if you cannot see Him or physically feel him.”

That is the kind of faith that I am trying to teach my son, and it’s a kind of faith that you cannot give to someone if you don’t have it in your heart. 

I did a Lenten fast yesterday which was rare and not easy for me, but I made it through the day with a few slices of bread and water.  At night, I made do without the meat and had grilled cheese.  For the season, I’m trying to give up red meat.  So far, so good.

This Lenten season is more solemn to me for many reasons, and I want to make the most of this season or repentance and renewal and flesh out my relationship with God.  Faith has always been a very personal aspect of my existence, and while I wear my faith on my sleeve literally, what goes on and what I think and say to Him stays between Him and me. 

I am also trying to find the courage to forgive and to not let anger or pain crowd my heart.  It is not easy but I know it is the only way to find my way to inner peace and calm.  I try to be more introspective now, thinking before I say or do something — and reminding myself of what is right and just according to His word.  I am trying.  I am praying.

The past few months have seen me feeling closer to my God and I have never been more reassured of His presence in my life than at this time.  I feel blessed. 

I wish you all the blessing of that kind of presence and reassurance, and hope that the Lenten season will find you having a closer and more meaningful releationship with Him.

A long day

There are days when you find yourself rushing from place to place trying to get things done.  Today was one of those days.  I’m exhausted.  I was trying to egg things on and hopefully speed things up.  It felt as if walking faster would get things with their own time line fall in step and move faster, too. 

The good news is the half a slice of Junior’s Red Velvet Cheesecake I had for lunch should’ve found their way out through some form of energy with all that walking.  I hope. =)

I started a serendipity board today for a swap due out on Friday.  (I know, I’m doing it on the 12th hour again.)  Instead of doing a 12×12 sheet as base, though, I used a repurposed manila folder.  I wanted to get more out of the serendipity board for trades outside of the swap.  A serendipity board or background is a master board that you decorate randomly and spontaneously and which you cut into artist trading card (ATC) size in the end.  Ideally, you shouldn’t need any more decoration or embellishment, but others use a serendipity background and then construct a themed ATC above it.  So tomorrow I hope to do a layer or two, and hopefully finish everything by Wednesday for cutting later.

I’m still hoping time would speed up.  In the meantime, I’m turning in a little earlier than usual tonight.  Yes, I’m THAT exhausted.

I’m hoping it will be a blissful sleep.  I had a strange dream last night which I hope won’t find me again as I drift into dreamland.  A random dream that somehow left more questions than answers despite its brevity.  Some things, some thoughts are such a struggle to get rid of, constantly sneaking up on us just when we thought we had let that thought go.

Good night.

Sunday Summary

(I don’t know what the appeal of using the day of the week as part of the blogpost title is but I just can’t shake it.)

I’ve spent the last hour (or so) conditioning and playing with some polymer clay or polyclay for short — and I just couldn’t stop.  I would’ve opened more blocks of clay but my unconditioned polyclay is in a box at the bottom of a 4-box tall pile of stuff I set aside as we made room for a new sofa.  I am going to get to that box this week, but tonight, I just yearned for the comfort of rolling clay between the palms of my hands.  I found two earth-tone shade I have an idea for, and I started experimenting with one open block.  It didn’t really get me anywhere, but I had to consciously stop to make myself stop.  You know how when you’re working on something you want to just keep on going and going?  Until I decided I wanted to blog, and then hopefully turn in.

I’m all set, actually.  I just need to lay my head on the pillow. Well, after I put away my laptop, of course, and I plug the handhelds so that they can charge through the evening and make sure the alarms are set to the right time.

The weekend was productive. We managed to carry out the old sofa to the dumpster, fix the new one (awaiting its slipcover which the delivery boys and the store are arguing about I heard –) and I’m thinking of making or better yet, buying some throwpillows to grace our warm and cozy sofa.

I pulled off another lobster lunch today despite my former declaration that I wouldn’t do a lobster meal in a long while because of the production it entailed.  But after seeing that a 1 1/4 pounder was only 11 points on Weightwatchers, I’m sure I’m going to eat my words.  (And the lobster, of course.)  Besides, it was on sale from $7.99/lb to $4.99.  My three lobsters cost me just a wee bit over $24.  That’s a lobster meal in a decent restaurant!  And just one lobster, mind you…

I could’ve done more, but I think I didn’t do too badly.  Homework was done by Saturday evening which is a relief.  I restocked my pantry with the essentials, notably with more WeightWatchers goodies.  And although I’ve indulged in some treats, I’ve been good.  I have enough points to get to tomorrow and weigh day on Tuesday.  Unless the lobster packs on a pound or two onto my love handles, I think I’m on track for a pound ot two lost this week.  =)

If there wasn’t work tomorrow and if the urge to blog didn’t hit me, I’d still be rolling out the polyclay.  I spent a lot of time browsing designs over the weekend, trying to get ideas. Crafting has always been very therapeutice for me.

I’m trying to clear my head as I pray and think of a solution or an answer to a question I’m in the middle of threshing out in my pretty little head.  Prayer can be as simple as just letting my heart and mind be still and immerse myself in the silence. And in that silence a thousand words are said.

I think of conversations in my head.  Yesterday, I received a reply to a letter I had sent via the usual postal route from dear Gina.  My FB icon lit up on my blackberry and there was her response.  I was walking to the car at the time after lunch with the boys.  It is always good to hear from friends, more so at a time when you find yourself reaching out to others who just brush off the greetings or ignore them. I’m trying not to take it personally, but I am taking note.  Sometimes being the queen of the benefit of the doubt can be a tired excuse to avoid the reality that people sometimes prefer to be left alone.  (Or that they don’t want to hear from you, so stop making a pest of yourself, Dinna.)   I have to remind myself that I do the same to others who I prefer not to have in my life at the moment.

I miss my sister.  I’m praying for an answer.  I know it will come.

One of the hardest part about being 10,000 miles away from everyone else who matters to me is that it’s not as easy as telling her let’s go home together, or let’s stop by this restaurant and have dinner.  We did that a lot when I was still back home.

Have to hit the sack now… it’s almost midnight.. and Monday is waiting to begin.

Adrift

I thought August would be better than July with all its heart-tugging sense of loss or heaviness of the heart that dragged me up and down throughout the month. And here I am almost at the end of August still feeling kind of down.  Should I be worried that I find solace in shutting myself in a room — or a bathroom stall — and I breathe a deep sigh of relief when I hear the click of the door behind me?

I linger and wish I didn’t have to come out.  But even that half a minute longer between opening the door again and walking out to the “world” is comforting.

I have been trying to post for the last two days.  There were a lot of things to write about, but there are days when it’s tough trying to pull my thoughts together. 

I try to overcome this  by keeping busy.  And yet that only distracts me — it doesn’t help me get rid of it.

Maybe I’ll sleep early today.  That might help. 

Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like I’m being such a horrible mom.  My temper keeps kicking me on my backside.  Or there are times when I think I can do better holding it all in.  Between cooking and working the microwave or the espresso machine, I stare blankly into space, or at my hands.  Not thinking.   Just looking.

I look at myself in the mirror and I wish I could have more self discipline trying to shed the many (many) extra pounds.  Or I simply look down and the frustration creeps up on me.

I feel as though I am adrift — not heading here or there.  Just adrift.

I try to find inspiration in my usual muses.  I try not to read too much of the news back home like I used to.  I just worry about my family and friends with the monsoon and the rains.  The pork barrel and Napoles scam is much too disgusting and again, frustrating.  And even the entertainment section of the news is just down in the gutter with video scandals and all. 

Fortunately, there’s some relief from — of all places — Facebook.  It’s very heartening to see a dear friend who, in his first bid, won the mayoralty seat of Cainta.  I will never tire of seeing him among his people — and I am not surprised to see him wading in chest-deep water taking care of his constituents.

Kudos to you, Mayor Kit.  The people of Cainta are lucky to have you. 

A smile.

It reminds me that even in the midst of all the misery we find ourselves steeped in, there is still a lot of good in this world.  Napoles and all that corruption be damned.

Perhaps tonight, I’ll shake this off.  I might finally go ashore and be adrift no more.

Maybe I need to knead some polymer clay.  I made some beads last night which I finally baked after forming them over the weekend form leftover clay.  I couldn’t create the necklace I wanted to create, though.  I kept botching up the wirework.  Again, maybe tonight.  Or not.

I’m praying for all the people out in the cold or still wading in water somewhere out there.   For all those people in evacuation centers.  Keep them all safe and warm in your arms, dear Lord.

Five minute dash of a post

It’s 38 minutes past midnight and here I am typing away when I should be lying down wandering off to dreamland. I had plugged the iPad into the charger and was hoping to freshen up (last midnight pre-bedtime rituals) when my mother-in-law beat me to the solitary bathroom in our tiny home.

I started browsing and had started reading, and was seriously thinking of writing a post in response to a prompt on the Daily Post (or another writing tip) but that post would’ve kept me up until way past 2am.

So I am doing a mini-version of a previous writing exercise where we were supposed to write spontaneously for 10 minutes. Since it’s past midnight and thre’s work tomorrow, I really have only 5 minutes to spare.

I’m wishing away my cold and what coughing I have left. This is getting tired. I’ve been sick for a week and a half now, and while I’d like to stick to my mantra that I am getting better (voice hoarse, and they said that means I’m actually on the road to recovery), I don’t really feel like I’m beating this. (Or maybe I’m just tired.)

Maybe work has just been too much. And to think the boss is on vacation!

I have a ton of other things I want to say but my five minutes are up and I need to pay attention to my bladder. (Motherhood + age… go sue me.)

Nighty-night, New York. Another day begins in 5 hours for me.

Two minutes to five

My day is almost ended but I need to do an errand before I head home.  I really should be packing up and cleaning up my space but I felt an urge to stop by here and write.

Last night, I came across this daily prompt on the DAILY POST (which I am not tagging because it’s going to trigger a pingback which I don’t want to do) about writing a piece on Love in the 21st Century.  That was an interesting prompt, if I may say so, and like many other hopeless romantics out there, I had my own two cents’ worth to share.  But it’s such a simple yet profound topic all at the same time that we often find ourselves either floating or sinking in quicksand or in the clouds.

I stopped myself short and instead found myself writing someone who came to mind when my brain finally won over my heart and I made up my mind not to write the piece.  My e-mail turned out to be one hell of a blogpost if I had published it, but instead I hit sent.  5 times, I saw that x in red telling me it wasn’t going through.  Only then did I realize that the e-mail account I was trying to send from was no longer “active” in my phone.  Alas, I had to accept the fact — it wasn’t meant to be sent.  Too angry perhaps.  Too honest.

I could’ve insisted and sent through another e-mail account or other.  Instead I took a step back and just heaved a sigh and left it at that.

The universe wanted it to be that way.  So be it.