I like Sundays because..

Sunday sunrise over Bayside - terribly cold but I love the feel of the sunshine on my face.  Welcoming another week, looking forward to a new beginning.  Can't waste time on endings or what has yet to come.  Embracing what's here and now.. #sunday #sunris…it’s another day to a short but sweet break from the workweek.  It makes me want to wish for a third day to the weekend, but helps me to savor the quiet and the break from the usual.  My Sundays are usually made up of church during the morning and maybe catching up with errands in the afternoon, or just taking it easy at home which I don’t mind at all.

…it means another week is beginning.  And I don’t know about you but I like the thought of starting over.  I relish going back to routine and doing what I do very well.  Life has been good enough that I actually look forward to the start of the workweek.  (Must sound sickening to others, but I like what I do.)  And beginnings mean life continues — and that’s something that I can hold on to when things get rough and it seems like the bad things never end.

I like thinking of being given the chance to have a do-over where necessary.  It makes me hopeful and helps me move on.


Beads and postcards on a lazy Sunday

While most of my part of the world is all agog about SuperBowl Sunday, we slept through the afternoon lazily, just enjoying the time to relax.  My back is giving me problems — and I always welcome the chance to recharge which I cannot do as leisurely as I can on weekdays.  Lunch was at almost 4pm — thanks to Pizza Hut.

I had a most disturbing dream, though, about a favorite “niece” (although she is the daughter of a friend and not a blood relative).  Stranger still, I was in Manila.  Well, thinking of Manila is nothing new.  Dreaming of it is.  So I’m making a mental note to write my dear Evita later and ask how she’s doing.

I am also trying to get my creations going, so I sorted through a shoe-box full of odds and ends I had dumped together while cleaning up my work space.  Sorting through the various head and eyepins (that little pin-like metal object that you string beads with) took the early afternoon.  I tried to set aside the half-finished rosary bracelets I had as well which I hope to post in the shop after finishing them and photographing the pieces.  By the time I finished, the sandman was calling.  At my age, I’ve learned that it’s easier to just give in rather than fight it — and it’s more beneficial to me when I let myself take a moment to recharge by closing my eyes for a nap..

I’ve learned to embrace aging gracefully by acepting my limitations while trying to continue to live a productive life.  While I have done rather poorly in terms of managing my weight, I console myself with the thought that that has been a life-long struggle for me. I’ll get to it yet, if only to try and prevent the onset of diseases relating to aging and weight gain.  Something tells me my back problem is, in part, the result of the weight my spine has been punished with.

It’s getting dark outside as the sun is getting ready to set.  The thin layer of snow on the ground is beginning to melt.  It’s still freezing cold, and I just hope that’s all the snow we’re getting.  I have never stopped to marvel how nature maintains a balance and the creatures outside seem to go on unaffected by the brutal cold, being that I can hear birds chirping outside as if it was just any other day.

My first month of Life 4×6 is done, but I’m pulling together the photos with captions and labels.  I still haven’t quite decided how I will pull it into an album.  The 12-photo spread of the regular albums really seems too big, but to go any smaller would mean doing more albums.

I had drafted an extensive post on this the last few days, but since I’m not quite done yet, I’ve held off.  In due time.

ATC: Heart ATC 1Meanwhile, I’ve successfully slowed down on the ATC swaps.  My friend CuriosaKat whom I had bumped into at a Postcrossing Philippines group on Facebook had suggested I join the group.  It’s been a most interesting ride through the last 6 months and quite a learning experience.  Postcard collecting and exchanges have changed radically in the past few years, and I’ve had my bumps and scrapes in returning to active trading but I think I’ve managed to get into a manageable rhythm now.

I gave Postcrossing a try, but to those used to the more defined method of collecting postcards, it can get tiring and costly without the satisfaction of acquiring that which you collect.  It’s good if you are after volume, but I’ve been there, done that.   It would have been something I would’ve embraced enthusiastically when I started collecting almost 30 years ago, but at this point, I want to confine myself to the particular collecting interests I have identified.

Volume is one way to find satisfaction in trades, and if the idea is for you to collect from every possible postmark or country, then Postcrossing is for you.  But if you prefer to receive your postcards unstamped and “naked” in an envelope, then you’re better off with the private swaps or in swap forums like Swap-bot.com .

I participate in the swaps mostly to help me find a new home for the postcards I don’t need.  New York is such a tourist haven that we can never have enough supplies of the so-called touristy postcards, but when you’re sending out to a select group, it makes it imperative that you get a little creative sourcing your postcards.  It also gives me a chance to check out the different offerings for my own collection of “anything New York,” be it modern or vintage.

Postcards from Philippines, The: Map 3So what do I collect?  Maps have always been of special interest to me, although even that particular collecting interest has been “refined”.  Some postcard map collectors will accept street views as “map postcards”, and I used to include that in my collection.  In fine tuning my “wants”, though, I have decided actual state or city or country maps which shows a land formation or routes instead of those implied by streets on a postcard were what I wanted.

To date, I have at least one map from each state (yes, even the more elusive ones), but I have come to discover that there are multiple variations to each state, not only terms of design, but also in size.  So there are states which I have a half dozen different designs for.  Even the Philippines where I come from has produced several map postcards, beyond the very first ones we used to trade in the 80s.  I am still trying to find the time to photograph (as against scanning) the collection, but I’ve managed to upload a few in this album on my Flickr account.

If I were to identify which part of postcard collecting I find most fulfilling, I would have to say it’s going through my vintage postcard collection.  Browsing the prices on Ebay makes me think of putting up my postcards on the auction site, but that is also what makes me want to keep them all the more.

Although my vintage postcard collecting interest is confined to Maps, Lighthouses, New York, The Philippines, Paris and the places we have visited (like Bruge and Brussels in Belgium and Chartres in France), I have somehow amassed a pile of other vintage postcards I need to find a home for.  Soon enough.  I just sent one I successful dated to a fellow postcard collector in Pampanga in the Philippines, something printed in the 30s. (!)

Collecting?  Drop me an e-mail at my postcard collecting account aptly named postcardmailbox@gmail.com

Sunday and moving?

I like Sundays. I don’t have to rush through breakfast and I can actually sit here at the breakfast counter and relax. And blog.

I am seriously thinking of moving this blog to another server or upgrading — and both options pose challenges. I’m pretty happy with the free platform but I’ve noticed that I often get a message that the server is busy and my site is unavailable. Another problem I’ve had is that Chrome seems to detect malware or a virus when I try to put a linky to my site on one of my favorite blogs to broadcast an art journal entry — which probably means some people are also getting a warning when they try to access my site. I am seriously considering paying for my space here on the blog server but I am wary about continuing to have problems even after that. Dilemma.

I have tried migrating the blog, but with 2,000+ posts, the server is unable to pull the .xml file that will allow me to ” bring” everything to the next platform. Hmmmmm… While I am mulling about these decisions, I’d like to give my now 7 readers the heads up to please access the blog through it’s domain, pinaynewyorker.com which should bring you to wherever the blog should move to. (IF it even moves.)

So maybe I’ll stay put for now.

I have a busy Sunday at home as I try to put a semblance of order to my working space up in the attic and here in the living room. I am going to be sorting through some of my things, particularly old postcards to give away and trade. We also got a shelf of sorts to “house” my crafting supplies. I just wish that Angelo is not actually coming down with something because he was a little warm (but not even a slight fever) and nursing a cold this morning. No school for us Monday and Tuesday because of the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. I wouldn’t want him not feeling well through what would be one of the rare long weekends between now and Thanksgiving in November.

Time for me to start working in the attic. Meanwhile, here’s a preview of my watercolor collage garden.

Watercolor and ink: Flowers

Sunday schedule

I am going to try to get some “sorting” done amongst my craft supplies and my postcards, hopefully, so I am vowing to write here for no longer than an hour this morning.  (Tick, tock, tick, tock..)  I would like nothing more than to laze away in bed with the laptop, but I have a ton of things I only get done on the weekends, because week days get too packed with the distraction of work.

The headache is better… it is HOT again in New York, though, so I am seeking refuge in the bedroom where the cool air from the night’s airconditioning makes the morning more bearable.  I’ve been hit by allergies, though, so I am sniffing away again.  (Allergy meds to the rescue!)

I spoke with my Mom last night.  We don’t do that often enough, I realize. I think I’ll try to do it more often.  She’s telling me I should stop sending her black shoes — how about beige or brown.. =)  Now you know where my fettish for shoes came from. HA!

My Art Journal Every Day backgrounds were sitting in a folder under the laptop so I was reminded about moving forward on that.  Last week, I had one entry I posted to my facebook account but wasn’t able to post here because I had difficulty getting into the site from work (during my break!) because they are now using quota time for personal sites.  =(  Not happy.  It prevented me from going bloghopping myself, except for sites like mine which have their own domains tacked on.  (i.e., Pinaynewyorker.com and Gothamchick.com)  So I missed out on my daily dose of Julie Fei-Fan Balzer until the evening when I accessed from home.  I do have a technical remedy but it will mean not doing it from my desktop which shouldn’t be too much of a hassle if I can find the time to move away from my little corner of a desk at work.

But back to my unposted Art Journal Every Day entry — it’s also a little harder this time around because it’s speaks to a very emotional topic for me which is my Auntie Lydia, an older sister of my Dad —  a lady who stood by as a second mother to me in my formative years, more like a governess of sorts although I wouldn’t call her that.  (My mom was mostly attending to our business, so Auntie Lydia was there making sure the little things were duly taken cared of.)  She made sure we spoke English at home, had our homework done, that we were all in bed at a reasonable hour, and that we were always well-mannered, be it on the table, when meeting people or when speaking.  She used to  be a nun who had to leave her vocation due to one cancer after another hitting her — and she managed to survive to past 60.  She’s been gone more than 20 years now, but she is always a part of me.  I should really leave the post about her when I finally put up the entry.

(Momentarily distracted by the next post on Gothamchick.com)

July and August are turning out to be very emotionally ridden for me because of Dad’s birthday and death anniversary, Auntie Lydia’s birthday, and at the end of the month comes my older brother’s birthday and death anniversary.  Isn’t it strange that birth and death can bring such opposite forms of celebration or commemoration but which nonetheless strike such a cord in our hearts?  Yet at the same time, it reminds me that they are forever with me.

I have a friend on Facebook to whom I had sent a message of condolence and prayer as she celebrated her niece’s first year death anniversary.  I did not get a response — but I had expected that.  Grief is so uncanny in being forever present.  It doesn’t have a deadline or an “expiration date”.  They say you never really get over it.  It’s just “there”.  You just learn to live with it in a better way — even if the pain doesn’t dissipate or get any lighter.   Like most things that bring pain to me, I try instead to dwell on the positive — the happy memories.  I told her I was praying for her and her niece’s family.  I left it at that.  I don’t expect conversations about grief to be a real exchange.  It gets painful, even for me.  I just had to send my well-wishes, show a little kindness.

But even for those who are still living and who poke their head into that room where we sit quietly with our memories and who evoke only pain, sometimes the “happy” is not enough to keep the pain away.  Perhaps it’s an emotional defensive reaction that too much pain eventually transforms into anger, then we go numb.  When that comes over me, I close my eyes and I shut a door in my heart.  Then I remind myself to move on to the next room.

In the beginning, thoughts about my Dad used to do that to me.  The pain and the anger were too much that I didn’t even know how I got so close to tears and I’d have to take a deep breath to stop myself from giving in.  But eventually, it subsided.  Now I just miss Papa.  Two years after he passed on, I know that dealing with the anger and the hurt is an exercise in futility except when you hope to weed it out and bid it farewell.  It brings me nothing but bad memories, so I stick instead to his laughter, and the earlier years when there was more joy.  When we were father and daughter.

We deal with grief in different ways.  I blog… I do my art.. I dream about those days when Papa made me feel like I was THAT special to him.  I hear myself telling my half-sister that we have to make allowances for Papa’s shortcomings.  He loves us but he just didn’t know how to love us the right way.  I hear my voice and I take those words to heart.  And I realize that I had the good fortune to see Papa’s better side — that during those years when I resented him for being with my half-sister and her mom, he had actually been a better father to me.

I miss him dearly, despite all his shortcomings.. despite the pain.  I sometimes wish that he was still here.  I wish I could talk to him, but the upside of him being on the other side is that now, I can talk to him wherever and whenever.  (No need for a phonecard.)  Like right now.

Sundays and pancakes.. and choosing life

I surprisingly didn’t wake up unil past 8am this morning, and I whipped up some banana pancakes for Alan’s breakfast.  (The little tyke had some nuggets with rice for breakfast already.)  I simply mash a banana and mix it in with a cup or so of the  complete mix (I use Aunt Jemima’s).  After enjoying mine plain, I picked up my cup of coffee to get me started with my day and I started to write a post here.  I didn’t get too far, but I did get a few things done.

It was one of those Sundays which saw us spending the day at home, and yet it was one of those that made you wish it wasn’t Monday yet.   I managed to photograph and post some items in the shop (Halleluia!) — and on Flickr where I keep a set of the photos I use to sell my items.  Since the photos are of the items listed for sale themselves, the page disappears when the item is sold or when it expires, so I am archiving my photographs in a folder on Flickr.

I didn’t get any of the letters or cards I meant to write done — yet.  Maybe tonight.  I got an e-mail from my brother Nikky which has convinced me I must sit down and write that e-mail to my cousin who is a pathologist about a question that’s been in my my head for weeks on end now. 

I was saddened to hear, too, that he had a friend who had tried to take his or her life but didn’t quite succeed, only t o succumb to the injuries the attempt left him with two weeks later.  The girlfriend of someone I know who struck me as a simple yet kind hearted girl had also tried to take her life at such a young and tender age, but she thankfully, did NOT succeed.  And there was the news of Cesar Montano’s son having taken his own life.  I can’t help but wonder what desperation had driven these people to do what they had done, and to inflict harm upon themselves like they did.

I have had my own lows and points of despondency, but it never crossed my mind to hurt myself or end it all.  Perhaps it is because I have been so blessed with the love of family and friends that it has never even been an option, and I have a fear of God to know that it is the wrong thing to do and will not solve any problems.  I do not condemn them but wish that they find peace as they go to the next life.  I wish that young girl who tried sees that there is always hope and there is so much to live for.

And I think about the many people who continue to fight to live — who, despite the odds, cling to their faith that if it is His will, they will see another day.  A former high school batchmate of mine who is a prominent showbiz figure although she herself is not in the movies has battled cancer publicly, celebrating yet another birthday.  I saw her Facebook status thanking God for another birthday.  I used to think she was the one who had it all.  This is one woman who has travelled the world over many times beginning when she was but a little girl.  Her Mom was known to be a shrewd business investor enabling them to live very comfortably, and even in married life, she found the man of her dreams who she fought for in spite of her mom’s vehement objections.  She has remained married to this man and now has such a beautiful family — it seemed picture perfect.  And yet life dealt her a blow, but she rose up and fought on.

There is Franz, a young man I’ve never met but whom I consider a long-lost inaanak or pamangkin.  His family and friends waged a financial and physical battle to help him make it and he did.  Latest scans showed he has been clean and we continue to pray that he continues to grow stronger and grow up to raise his own family in the not so distant future.

They continue their fight.  So I wish those who find themselves in despair to the point of giving up hope.  I wish they see it and grasp it in their hands so that they, too, may continue to fight to live, battling whatever demons they may find in their minds.

Dinna’s Diner is coming to a close.  Pancakes and bacon for breakfast, pork giniling and a side of plantains for Alan’s lunch and tortang talong for the veggie fix for my mother-in-law.  Tonight it’s round two for the giniling for Alan and a fresh batch of nilagang manok for the biyenan. The little boy?  He had nuggets and he’s having some pasta tonight.  Dinner is served.