Monday Musings: Is the long weekend really over?

Okay, we’ve been kind of wanting for a long weekend — and this is the last one until Thanksgiving, believe it or not.  At least for us of the non-Jewish faith here in New York.  I’m not complaining — just wish we had more of these ‘Is it time to go back to work?’ kind of weekends.  I’m actually looking forward to work this week — probably because it’s a short week for us.

Back to school!  I have heard fellow parents breathing out a collective sigh of relief on this one.  I just don’t get it.  Maybe it’s because I only have one, and my little guy has been on auto pilot whenever I was at work.  I’m excited more for him being in middle school now (yes, he is moving on to sixth grade!), while at the same time kind of dreading the waiting for the call to tell me he’s home, telling him to “take off your socks, do your homework, it’s dinnertime” and all that routine resuming.  (I might be part of the minority in this regard.)

In many ways, we’re expecting it to be a little different beginning this year for many reasons, but I’m looking forward to it as I see my little guy growing up.  We’re still in a mental tug of war about the cursive writing, but I’m so happy his cousin, Julia, had gotten him started on it.  “It’s sooooo hard..,” he complains.. and I know I just have to keep pushing, and push I will.

He received a reading assignment at the start of summer and has been reading in earnest but has been trying to charm me into reading the book to help him with it.  (Could this be number 2 in my “read 6 books” this year list?)  I haven’t given in, but I know it’s something I can easily do.  Maybe.

#SwirlsOfColor in #crochet using #doublechain #shellstitching for an #afghan I'm making. Love how #crochetting a #repetitivepattern can be #sorelaxing. #crochetprohect #hadmade #crafting #crafts #handmade #madebygothamchick #crafttherapyEarnestly trying to get ready to get crafting again.  I’ve been busy with the crochet hooks and have been momentarily sidetracked by an afghan project.  I like doing afghans when its a repetitive pattern and when you have a chunky yarn — and I am working with both.  I’m on my fourth ball and expect to be finished after another one plus the trim.  It’s supposed to be a surprise for a friend so other than show an itsy-bitsy swatch here, I’d rather talk about it when the project is done.

In the meantime, I’ve started organizing my materials and hope to start finishing up some of the pretty bows I have designed now that the French Barrette Style Hair Clips I ordered are here.  More on that later but can I just say I love Amazon Prime?  I had tried it a year ago and then cancelled my membership — and then recently signed up a couple of months ago and have been loving it since.  If you order from Amazon a lot, then you will appreciate the free two-day shipping for Prime eligible products (caveat: not all products on Amazon are covered!) — and there’s the Amazon free streaming of all these fab original material plus classics to new releases.

But back to trying to get back into crafting.. so I have tried to start getting organized again but have barely made progress because I have quite a stash to go through.  The shop has been dormant for a bit but I’m hoping to get it ready for the holidays — and I will be around this time.  In my cleaning up, I managed to find a box full of items previously listed, so it’s a matter of relisting those first few pieces.  I am excited to try out some new techniques, though, and will try to carve out regular time to post and create again.

I invested in a dozen Sterilite 16428012 6-Quart Storage Box, White Lid with See-Through Base just to be able to sort the items that have just been thrown together.  I am planning on creating a crafting corner from now to the end of the year to help me get everything together in one space, hidden from view except when I want to do crafting.  So in the meantime, I need to sort through what I have.

And as I sort, I have made a decision on which items to find a new home for.  During my last trip home, I promised my friend, Raine, that I will send her my Artist Trading Card collection to keep or dispose off as she would wish.  I had a fun time creating and receiving some outstanding pieces, but I think my current collection of postcards, Starbucks mugs and pencils are more than enough to keep me happy.  I am trying to find other things I can find a new home for as I try to get myself organized.

The “BER” months are here..  which means thinking of the holidays, holiday cards and holiday presents.  I want to make this year special for my little guy and me because we have so many new things to look forward to.  I want to make the house very festive — and I want to make a special holiday card to send out to friends.  I am already updating my address book — and trying to think up of something nice to do.

The holiday season has officially started in Manila — and I think it would be nice to keep in step with “home” this year.

Just a few more hours of the weekend left — so let me get on with some last minute errands and chores, like a 20-minute walk around I’m supposed to start making a habit of from here on.

Happy Monday, everyone!!

When a young heart grieves

My 10-year-old is grappling with a very personal loss. A house fire had claimed the lives of two young children, one aged 11 and another aged 5, and the older one had been a very close friend of his. They had known each other since kindergarten and had been classmates throughout except for 2nd and 5th grade. Last year, they proclaimed each other as best friends. My son has a very wide circle of friends, but his friend John was sometimes made fun of for being bigger and a year older than most of the kids.

I liked John. He was always nice and was courteous. I knew his mother, too, having seen her in many of the school events when both Angelo and John were in the same class.  In the coterie of wannabe friends of my little boy, he was one I didn’t mind having around him.

I came home to a letter from the school giving instructions on discussing the topic with the children, assuring me that they, too, were dealing with it in crisis mode. Angelo looked fine for the most part. He told me had cried when they broke the news to the class – and that he had refused to make something for John’s mom, as that was probably too emotional for him. The Dad finally arrived from a business trip and had started to ask him about it but he turned to me and started to tear up, shaking his head, telling us he didn’t want to talk about it. I quietly signalled the Dad that Angelo was not up to talking just yet. 

How does a 10-year-old deal with such a loss?

He woke up this morning looking okay. There was still something about the fire in the news, but he nonchalantly just mentioned to me that it had been mentioned in passing. I look at him and I wonder what’s going on in his mind and his heart.

I have been fortunate to have raised a sensitive and compassionate boy. Easy to laugh and carefree, very sociable and at times shy. He has my heart, I think. (And I don’t know if that’s good or bad. =) I never lost a bestfriend who was in my life at the time of her passing. Once, Lilay went to heaven, but at that time, we had long been out of touch because she started a family and I was in college. Still, I felt that loss very deeply and it brought tears to my eyes. (And I don’t cry very easily.)

I’m trying to see if we can go to John’s wake so that they can say a proper goodbye. I just think that would be important for Angelo given the loss of such a close friend.

The thought of losing my child is heart-wrenching even in the hypothetical sense. Imagine losing the two most precious boys in yours. I pray that their mother finds strength to overcome and deal with the grief of losing her babies. How do you deal with such a loss? I am at a loss for words.

Grieving, they say, never really ends. You just learn to cope with it better.  I still grieve for my Dad who passed many years ago.  When I “talk” to him, I find myself lost in an emotional pool that usually ends up with me crying.

It’s still too early to tell how good my son is coping with his grief.  I just know it’s best to let him be and let him process his emotions.  If he needs help, he’ll call me and then we will talk.

Last night as we lay in bed, I told him to say a prayer for John — he is now with Jesus, I told him.

How you have grown

Blog graphicToday was the first day of school in New York City.  As always, we packed the school supplies, labeled and ready for turnover to his teacher.  In the morning, we went to the assembly yard and found his new class and lined up.  We waited.

In previous years, we would then trek to their classroom and deposit the additional supplies, listen to some welcome remarks from the teachers and then hurry back out and on with our day.  Today, the teacher did us a favor and told us it didn’t make sense for us to go up to the third floor just to deposit what the kids  could easily carry.  She then instructed the children to take the extra shopping bags of supplies from us and off they went.

My boy is now in Fifth grade.  Wow.

Of course, it’s not lost on me that he no longer wants to hold my hand nor kiss me or be kissed in plain view of his schoolmates.  This, even as he refused to let me go when I had him in line with his friends.  I guess there’s still that part of him which actually can’t let go of Mom.  Thankfully.

He called me (one in around 5 calls before I finally reunite with him at home) and calls me”His delight.”  Sometimes he’d say, “Mom, won’t you be a dear..” followed by some trivial request.  He knows how to butter me up even if he knows he really doesn’t need to. It’s just the way he is.

I’m having one of those “I wish you wouldn’t grow up so fast” evenings.  I’m really exhausted after a long day at work and I have forms to fill out for school.  Later.  Or tomorrow if I manage to haul myself off the bed early enough.  (Where there’s a will, there’s a way.)  Maybe it’s the glass of wine I had while having my spicy steak dinner.  Whatever it is, I wish he’d always stay a boy… alas, that’s yet another facet of life I have no control over.

I must give in and relent.  Go with the flow.

I was watching him watching something on his iPad earlier and I looked at him viewing it with rapt attention.  Until he noticed me looking.. he thought I had said something and he took off his earphones. Nothing, I said. I was just watching my little guy and saying out loud, “Oh, how you’ve grown.”




Growing up

Like most people, I associate the term “growing up” with being a child or being childlike and moving into adulthood. But if you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, we are constantly going through that process even in full adulthood.  There are always new truths that reveal themselves to us that bring us to a more mature plane.  And as the years go by, we tend to forget the pains of going through the transformation from childhood to adulthood which is easier for some, and not quite as easy for others.

This previous weekend, I spent a good amount of time with a niece who I first met 14 years ago as a very quiet and shy girl.  She has blossomed into a comely young lady and is getting ready to enter college.  I can’t help but marvel at her transformation through the years.  She is suddenly all grown up and almost a full adult — and at the threshhold of a very important transition into a new world.

It’s a very exciting and scary time — having come from a very sheltered upbringing and being in an all-girl’s school and now entering a coed university.  Just like I did many years ago.  You worry about how you will do.. will you enjoy your new world… how will you fare.. how do you stop being so self-conscious in the company of the opposite sex.. So many questions and the clock is ticking to the first day of school.

I told her she’ll be fine.  My college years were a very enjoyable period for me — not without the drama and the growing pains that life is generally peppered with — but you take both the good and the bad.  And as it is with most things, it takes making it to the end of the journey for us to see we didn’t do so bad after all — or that all the sacrifices, conservative / strict parents included, will serve a purpose in our adult life later on.

For some, making new friends or surviving in a room full of strangers is second nature.  I would normally stay quiet, observe, and speak when spoken to, or strike a conversation with the person next to me.  But I was never wont to take center stage.  (I usually did that much later. HA!)  I remember it was difficult for me to get comfortable with my male classmates but when you see them day in and day out, they become your buddies.  In fact by my second year in college, I was the only girl in a group of around 6 boys who all loved to drink the afternoon away, but who would be gentlemanly enough to order me my soda for each round of beer they had brought to the table.

Because they all drove, even if they were in another part of the campus, they would come back for me at lunch time so we could have authentic Chinese food at the original “Estero” in Binondo.  That or we would descend upon a favorite Chinese restaurant near Roxas Boulevard.

The business side of going to the university was also very different from high school.  It was the same that it wasn’t.  Everything seemed to be a foot or two deeper, and in many ways more complicated and profound, hence, a little harder.  But that was the whole thing about being in college — to learn more and to actually acquire the knowledge needed to hone your abilities and skill sets.

Talking to my niece made me go back to how terrifying that phase was at times.  It wasn’t always


Friday to Friday… A belated list of five things to do this weekend (Feb 2/3)

I had meant to do this list yesterday but work overtook me.  I had taken the morning off to attend a workshop in Angelo’s school meant to give guidance on statewide tests coming up this April.  (Our first year as the tests are administered from third grade onwards.)

I ended up in the city noonish, lost my blackberry between the bus to Manhattan and settling down at my desk (which was replaced before I left for the day) and got home in time for my usual Friday dinner date with my favorite guy.  I also got busy sorting some crafting supplies and raring to start creating!

Here’s my progress report from the previous week’s list segueing to this weekend’s list:

1.  Yes, I successfully started the multi-page Art Journal Every Day entry which I am going to be working on more this weekend.

2.  I didn’t get to create that piece of jewelry nor post anything in the Etsy shop but I am going to do a listing before the night is out.  And I finally found the correct crystal configuration to fit this gorgeous cross setting I’ve been working hard on completing the last couple of months (!), so who knows?  I might actually get to create something for me.. and maybe for the shop.

3. I have been doing the writing and hope to keep at it.  At least one handmade card in the works, and I really need to get those birthday cards out.

4. I am into Chapter IV of Grisham’s The Associate and progressing rather well.  (Big hooray for that!)

5. I sorted a heap of vintage postcards and have identified almost a dozen vintage cards I might offer to swap in the postcard groups — antiques from Mexico, Bermuda, Miami, etc.  I’ve set aside the ones from New York or about New York, and will put them in the with rest.  (Getting there, getting there.)

I’ve been lounging on the sofa trying to watch Season 1 of “Homeland” which is all the craze these days because of the buzz and awards the show has gotten.  The thing is that it’s on cable for pay and we don’t have the channel so we’re doing a catch -up a season late and I’ve so far gone through five episodes.  I’m hooked.

I’ve always liked Damian Lewis and was sad when “Life” didn’t make it beyond its two season run, and sad that he returned via Showtime which I didn’t have easy access to.  (We prefer to pay for the Filipino channels extra. =)  But this is quite the come back.

Dinner time for me and the boy for now… and creating later!