The Daily Post: Mirror

The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirrors

I call them glass canvasses.  They are like a dynamic blank screen that projects the world outside depending on the time of day.  I have a couple right by my place of work in New York City along the periphery of Bryant Park, and I have a few random shots that I took of a side mirror while in a car or of a reflection against a moving bus.  However, when I read the prompt that was posted last Friday just this Monday morning, I knew right away which photo I would post for this photo challenge .

Whenever I am in Manila, I take a lot of random photos while moving from place to place in a vehicle.  Street smarts in Manila dictate that shipping out your phone on a busy street would be a neon sign blinking “snatch me”, so I grab what shots I can in the safety of a car.  Sometimes I do get brave and do it while waiting on the sidewalk, but this was a shorter visit.  

This is the new Zuellig Building along Paseo De Roxas Avenue in Makati City, situated right where the old Mandarin Oriental Hotel used to be.  (Photo taken with my IPhone6, August 22, 2016).  My photo does not do it justice, but it encapsulates memories of this particular trip home in its reflection of clear blue skies during a trip that saw a lot of rainfall and cloudy days.  That’s home.

Looking back

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I am constantly going through my things, sifting through what I can give away, throw away, or keep.  There are always bits and pieces that somehow surprise me with a memory or a longer peek into “what used to be”.  Being very sentimental by nature, I used to find it hard to just discard or throw away things, even long after they have served their purpose in my life, or if their meaning has changed through time or by virtue of circumstance.  Letting go has never been easy for me, but several life altering  shifts that took place in the last couple of years have caused me to just do that more easily.

I am still not quite as adept at it as someone I know who will not think twice about throwing something that seems useless or nondescript.  I’ve seen pieces of projects and parts of other things go missing, only to find out later it was mistakenly thrown away.

But there are things that we need to get rid of or shed as we go through life.  Just as we shed people, we must shed things.  There just tends to be too much at some point in time and we must unburden ourselves of that load.  I am doing just that.

So I was actually looking for something else when I spied this notebook that I had used as a journal sometime in 2013, tucked somewhere in my room where I had meant to keep it hidden.  I didn’t forget about it, but I just didn’t feel the urge to write in it.  It was one of the “What do I really, really, really want?” journals.  Like millions of others who read “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I had followed her speeches and writings and picked up this prompt to help me focus on getting some clarity at a time when I felt I was “floating” needlessly.

I have at least two of these journals, the first one, definitely ended.  I was just hoping to read through the main response, not the journal entries themselves, and maybe make a visual summary of the answers I wrote down — but that idea got shot down once I realized where I was heading at the time I wrote that in 2012.  Not worth it.  Between then and now, I not only did a complete 360, but I had jumped from one universe to another.  Still, I thought, it would be helpful to be reminded of my state of mind and heart back then, if only to go back to the lessons I learned from that experience.  Once I’m done “being reminded”, that one will be shredded and gotten rid of in full.

The main idea is to ask yourself the question — and yes, you do ask “really” three times for emphasis — and then write about the first thing that comes to mind.  And as the days go, you can go back to your answers to get a picture of what it is that you have been writing in answer to the question.  After doing two books and here about to go on a third, I have discovered it DOES work for me.  (But that’s just me.)

This second book that I have, I had written on intermittently during one of the most volatile periods in my adult life.  In many ways, it got me to where I am now.  It made me who I am now.  So this one, I believe, is worth doing a visual summary for, and maybe even worth keeping.  I haven’t quite started reading yet as I just stumbled upon the book this morning, but you can see it has sparked a different kind of inspiration within.

I have leafed through the first 5 or 6 entries to start the visual summary.  I haven’t even read the actual entries and I could hear my inner voice screaming what I wanted, and I am relieved I had actually gotten myself to get it done.  It’s a very personal reveal that I’d rather keep to myself, but suffice it to say, even without reading back, writing those thoughts and sentiments made them a reality for me.  I think I got, and am on my way to getting, that which I really, really, really want.

 

Grey Saturday

I started writing this midday Saturday at almost 1pm, in my PJs and I have gone from shoring up my village (yes, PinayNewYorker/GothamChick plays Clash of Clans! — as GothamChick), watched an episode of The Brink (my HBOnow subscription has been dormant the last 4 weeks!  Wasted money!)  and I’m trying to decide on how big that afghan I’ve been working on should be.  (Note to self: This part of a handmade project should be determined/decided before I start the first row of stitches.)  I’m also trying to see how much yarn a pullover I’m making for myself will need (something I failed to do with the afghan), and I’m trying to figure out if I will brave the chilly temperatures outside to get some “taking care of me” stuff done.  No trips to the city for me this weekend — that much, I’ve decided.  Not with this kind of weather.

But — I am here, and I am happy to be tapping away on the keyboard.. Writing has proven to be quite the best outlet for me, be it longhand, via art or through this little corner of the blogsphere.  And I’m trying to catch all the bits and pieces racing through my mind before I completely forget about them.  Little thoughts.. big ideas.  Don’t you hate hitting a eureka moment and then losing it midstream?  It hits you in the quiet moments how you should have taken the time to stop and ponder.  And maybe the thought would’ve developed into something bigger.

Week in brief.  This one’s a mixed bag.  It’s been rather challenging and not without its surprises.  (My 11-year-old locked himself out the other day, leaving his keys IN the house — so Mom rushes home.  Thank God for understanding bosses.)  It’s also been a time of reflection.  (Need to do an entry for my “What do I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want?” journal.)  Sometimes I feel I need a reality check when I get carried away.  (Someone always reminds me about reality by texting me his version of “News Flash, Sister” bits..)  Disappointment and frustration have a way of bringing us down to earth.  This ship has touched the ground.

But it’s a week with its gems.  One thing I have learned in the recent past is that you really have to focus on the positive and bask in that — and like another friend said, we make the most of what we have.  And we did.  And I am happy.  I tell myself I should be so lucky.  It may seem most days that I could be surrounded by better people, but I count the ones who make me smile and I think I’m in more than just a very good place.  I’ve always been that person who won’t stop herself from getting a treat.. I get dessert when I want to — I am not deprived.

I look at the pictures I take these days, and the sadness and anger are no longer evident. (Either I hide them better or maybe they no longer dominate my psyche.) And I’m happy to be back to Medium — and these PJs I’m wearing had languished in my closet for ages because I bought it before I had my boy, and I couldn’t fit into it the last 11 years or so.  Well, sometimes, I did.. that’s why it stayed in the closet.  But it had been tucked into a far away corner and I just rediscovered it recently — and am wearing it again.  Reason indeed to be happy! I count my blessings and I think about the things that are weighing me down — and maybe it’s the age or just experience, but I can let go much easier now.

Weekend plans.  I’m in the thick of trying to put some order into my world.  So more organizing, more crafting, and again, laundry.  (I would rather do one big load every other weekend than do it every week.)  I need to get moving with the letter writing, although I think I wrote some fabulous birthday messages this past week.  I am trying to get ahead of some important dates coming up.  I would like to think that receiving something in writing other than an email or text message greeting still counts for something.

I’ve managed to repair some jewelry / accessories that had broken through time, and while Saturday has come and gone with nary a new piece created, I’m still hoping Sunday will be the day for me.  I’m seriously working on reopening the shop again, but I think I need a new header piece.  I am continuing to work with my crocheting and am getting on with the projects.  But that’s for the other blog where I discuss my crafts.

It has gotten chilly in New York and it’s that time of the year again when we have to wear layers.  I’ve dug into my closet to bring out the sweaters — and my summer clothes will have to be tucked away higher or deeper inside until it gets warmer.  We’ve started wearing coats again… still on the lighter side, but we can hardly go out now dressed in summer clothes.  Chilly!!

Weekend thoughts.  I am looking forward to Monday but I wish the weekend was longer this time around.  (A real pause followed that sentence.)  And yet on second thought, I think I would want it to end so that the things that keep bouncing around in my brain can fall silent in the din of work and being busy again.

I have a half dozen wishes in my head.  A friend who just celebrated a birthday made a wish after blowing the candle on his birthday cupcake.  I always wish birthday celebrants whatever it is their heart desires.  Rather than zeroing in on something specific I wish for them, I think that to wish that they get that which they wish for is the better gift.  If you want another piece of cake, I wish you that.  If you wish success, I wish you that.  If you wish to have more “me time”, I wish you that.  If you want dessert this time around even if you don’t like sweets, you get it this time because it’s your birthday.

I’ve always been big on birthdays, and those who have known me a long time know that I make a big production of greeting friends and family, even if it is a belated greeting.  It is always a good reason to celebrate the day someone came into this world — even if the celebrant is not big on birthdays.  WE celebrate them!  And I’ve always said that birthdays have no do-overs.   Milestones or not, we should make it a point to celebrate the occasion.

I greeted a friend a week late on FB and she responded back.  At least I didn’t get lost in the flood of greetings that came her way last week.  Even a short greeting is good.. the point is — as we say in the vernacular — you remembered.

Speaking of which, I keep hearing this piece playing in my head — “Remembering.”  A friend had introduced me to Avishai Cohen not too long ago, and it’s a very relaxing yet dramatic tune that I keep hearing in a loop.  The last time I listened to this, I found myself in a different kind of blissful heaven, and after listening to it, I’m sure you’ll agree and find yourself there, too.

 

What do I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want? (Book III)

I read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia years ago and have only read it once, but I have picked up one very important practice from reading the book.  I’ve tried to answer this question that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author, posed to her readers as an after thought to the soul-searching she chronicled in her book: “What do I really, really, really want?

I am now on my third journal and am into my fourth or fifth entry in a new notebook.  A good amount of time and many life events and decisions have passed between the journals, and even I have found the change in my answers and state of mind quite enlightening.  I know that a lot has changed between 2012 and now– both in my personal circumstances and the world in general around me, and it has been quite a journey.  It is in looking back at the answers I had written — not necessarily the journal entries per se — that I have seen such a marked difference in the way I used to think and the way I am now.

The very stark difference between what I wanted then and what I want now gives me pause to reflect on how my feelings have changed since I first started answering the question.  I had made it a point to just go over the answers and make a visual summary from time to time, but at this point, I don’t think I’m ready to read my entries in depth just yet.  I am, however, ready to continue answering the question in the “now”.

Gilbert says you have to repeat the “really” three times to stress that it has to be something you truly want — as against something you might “maybe want” or “half want.”  It must also be something spontaneous after asking the question.  This time around, I’ve taken to doing a bit of art around each entry.  Whether it is to draw a border around the page or color in the lettering of either the question or the answer, or to add some graphic I intend to fill in with color later on, each additional time soent embellishing the page gives me a chance to reflect deeper into my answer.  Sometimes the succeeding blurb is a sentence or two only.  Sometimes it fills the whole page.  Again, the key is spontaneity.

Answering the question when I write on that journal’s pages is like an ongoing essay that gets written a bit at a time with each entry.  And when I go back to read them all, I’m supposed to find my answer from the very words I’d written.

 

A Saturday afternoon walk down Central Park

I was in the city to meet with a friend of my sister who was visiting from Manila last Saturday.  This was our second meeting and I just wanted to catch up with her before she left, hand her a few things for my sister, and just have a different kind of Saturday lunch in the city.  Something for me.

I couldn’t believe how many people were walking up and down on a Saturday, and I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining because that means good business for my city.  We met, had lunch and said our goodbyes.  (And there will be another post about that.)  I deposited her over at Carnegie Hall on 57th and Seventh Avenue and went on my way.  I had already made up my mind that I would make my way to the bus stop through Central Park to snap up some pictures and to do a bit of some exercise for the day.  I wasn’t quite up to walking all the way to my favorite Bethesda Fountain a bit of a ways in from the 59th street edge of the park, but I thought it would be a short detour to head towards the bus stop on Madison and 57th.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I missed my little guy.  He always enjoys spending time here because it’s such a wide swathe of open space, and the rock formations are great for make-believe mountains and battles in his imagination.  He likes picking up twigs on the ground and using them as swords to fight off his imaginary foes.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I didn’t quite go as far as his favorite rock formation around The Ramble which I am sure we will visit again soon.

Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I always encourage friends visiting from other places to visit even just the outer fringe of Central Park to have a sense of its feel and flavor, but when you’re visiting all those other landmarks that dot the streets of this beautiful city, it ends up as an afterthought.

This is already my second visit this year, and I hope to visit more often in the coming weeks.  There is always so much going on and even just the changing of the colors and elements of nature surrounding the park can be so awe-inspiring.  I usually end up walking the trails of the park in the fall when the foliage is the prettiest and most breath-taking, but I want to see it in its full splendor in the spring.  (Right, Lou?)

You’d think that working on 42nd and Sixth Avenue and being relatively in the same area of Manhattan would make that a breeze — but it isn’t, and it does take some effort to make it happen.  My shots this grey but pleasant Saturday have inspired me to try harder at being in this corner of my city more often this year.

Walking towards the east, I approached the Pond (of Home Alone fame) from the west side of the Gapstow Bridge and caught some nice snapshots of the water reflecting the landscape around it.  I guess it’s because the sky was the way it was, and because I was viewing the water from where I was standing.  The reflection doesn’t come out as perfectly as the shot below from angles closer to the eastern side of the bridge.
Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

By the time I got to this side of the park, the clouds had started to gather up above. That, plus the flowers in bloom were beginning to droop down towards the ground instead of standing proud looking up at the sun like usual — a sign that it was about to rain.
Walking down Central Park - April 26, 2014

I exited on to 59th street and Fifth Avenue, heading out via the Plaza Hotel side to make my way to 57th.  Always well worth the detour even on an afternoon I’m trying to get home as fast as I can… What’s your favorite part of Central Park?

 

Snapshots and Random Thoughts: Another perspective

Over the eve of the Fourth of July holiday when I walked across Bryant Park to take pictures of the installation on the lawn, I snapped some pictures of my side of the park from the end closer to the New York Public Library which is usually the farthest point in my pictures of the park. Not this time.

Glass Canvas: NYC shot from Bryant ParkI actually took this random shot with the installation in the foreground but with a longshot of the building at the back.  I didn’t even realize I captured a rather imposing reflection of the buildings to its left  given the time of day.  (This was taken after 3pm.)  The reflection, of course, changes depending on the weather and the angle of the sun.

Another lucky shot.

I was cleaning up the latest folder of pictures on the memory card of my trusty cam when I realized I hadn’t downloaded this picture yet, nor had I uploaded it to my Flickr account.

It’s a gorgeous canvas considering the green glass was muted by the blue skies.  This is what makes lugging my camera around everyday very rewarding.

Upon reflection I realized, too, that I need to look at different perspectives more than I have been accustomed to.  I, too, am guilty of sometimes being confined to one perspective: that of mine.  I just need a reminder every now and then.  And it makes me realize that others tend to be as “confined” — thinking of their point of view alone, instead of seeing the bigger picture so to speak.

I think I’ll be taking more walks to this side of the park this summer.  I have been meaning to photograph the front of the library, too, since it’s been a while since I last snapped some pictures from that side of the park.  If only the heatwave would let up.

So we chilled at home, Angelo and I.  (Thank God for airconditioning..)  I have been busy with my watercolor brushes.  I completed more backgrounds and actually finished a piece, but I have yet to do the actual journaling.  I L-O-V-E my watercolor pallete!  I stared at my beads and was thinking of working on something but the brushes beckoned instead.  (There is still time to pull something together.. maybe before bed.)

Meanwhile, it’s sushi and sashimi for dinner tonight. Yum!  A perfect way to end a relaxing even if hot weekend..