Friday, September 30, 2011

looks like a long night

I am progressing with the business info book oh so slowly but (hopefully) surely.

Mao brought me dinner after finding out that I had none.
fresh salad greens with mandarin orange, kiwi and cheese with some creamy dressing
freshly grilled fresh salmon - this was super delicious!
Now he's playing at the PS3 while I resume slaving away. There is leftover salmon and I will probably have it for midnight snack -- I think I'll be a while on this particular project.

fussy friday

(I have to do something about my blog post titles. They do not seem too inspired, hahaha.) 

I have very serious work to do today. So serious that some of the fun has melted off the surface of what I have to do. It's a brochure that will help promote my main business while everything else is still taking form like a baby in a mommy's tummy. I have postponed this particular work repeatedly for the past couple of months because the inspiration would not strike me. I have ideas in my head but they are not strong enough to withstand the glaring light of paper (or slide).

But today is the day. I have sketched out an outline and I am filling in the huge blanks in between. The inspiration is still elusive but it is slowly dropping some hints here and there. Besides, I am on a deadline now. The material should be out by Monday. No more dawdling about.

I sneaked a lunch at my parents' house because I was out of food.

Corned beef sauteed with onions and fried potatoes
Scrambled eggs with onions 
Tocino - a local specialty of fried marinated pork. The toasted portions are the yummiest.
KitKat for dessert!
After lunch I was planning to work a bit at my parents' house but somehow I got agitated and strangely claustrophobic and I needed to leave as soon as I could. It's not the house, it's me. It's like there is not enough space and time for everything that I wanted and needed to do. I have been getting this overwhelmed feeling since yesterday. I think it's the whole transition phase of this week -- it is Friday after all and I've been on some sort of a high since Sunday.

Anyway back to (very serious) work.  I'll give my mom a call later and promise her to stay longer next time.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

a very late dinner

Plain scrambled free-range egg 
Stir-fried chicken breast and onions flavored with thyme, soy sauce and sesame oil
I hardly noticed time passing by I was so immersed in what I was doing. First I did a short writing assignment in the morning. Then I went online and did some research on a few projects I'm working on and made notes. I had a late lunch then went back to the research. By 4pm I took a break from all the reading and writing and did some house chores. Then I paid some bills online. Continued with the research which morphed into studying and learning new tricks and finding out about new options for getting creative. It was 9pm when I realized I haven't had dinner (and my tummy was grumbling). So I made do with leftover ingredients because I won't be going to the supermarket until Saturday.

My shopping wish list just got longer tonight. But I am so happy to get a lot of studying and writing done. I haven't been that absorbed in a long time and actually enjoyed it.

a late lunch

Today is a late day. I woke up late (three hours after the alarm went off). I went straight to work and then had breakfast at almost noon. I cooked myself lunch at around 2PM.

Sliced an onion and some ginger - the last few pieces
Sliced some baby carrots - the last few pieces
Oh look, there's some bell peppers too
Ready for cooking. Now where's the pan?
Cooked the egg noodles first. Drop in boiling water and cook for three minutes ONLY.
Stir fry onions and ginger in extra virgin olive oil with a few drops of sesame oil
When the onions start getting cooked, throw in the other veggies.
Throw in the chicken once the veggies have had time to roll around.
Add the cooked egg noodles. Drizzle with soy sauce. Sprinkle some black pepper.
Found a few stems of wansoy hiding in the corner of the fridge.
Stir and mix!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

very early tuesday

It's half past one in the morning. I just finished my second long writing assignment and I feel satisfied. Normally I would only feel a slight relief that it was done. But since the workshop with my sister I have begun to see things and situations from a different perspective. What I accomplished yesterday is more than a list of to-dos or obligations. What I did was move steps closer to the life I want. Every day is a chapter in a journey. From simply getting through a day I have shifted focus and instead I think about growing through each day and progressing through a bigger Story.

My hands ache from so much writing. There are a few chores left undone. But I will go to bed and sleep without fussing over tasks that did not get the check mark. There are more to do when I wake up. But not before a hearty breakfast.

Good night.

Monday, September 26, 2011

writing monday

I took two long writing assignments today. Finished the first. Will do the second one after dinner. Will take another break now and get the chicken to roast in the oven. I was originally planning to cook chicken paprikash but I am too hungry and in a writing mode more than a cooking mode.
Will also clean up the house a bit which still has some clutter from Sunday. It does not help that I have taken out my drawing notebooks and all my ink bottles and drawing paraphernalia. My makeshift craft table is overflowing with anticipation. 

weekend map-making

Last Friday I shared a realization with my sister about passion, purpose and recognition. It agitated her enough to ask if there was a way I could help her cut a swath through the confusion of where she is right now and what she is doing. I said I also needed the same path-finding so we decided to take ourselves through a weekend workshop of sorts. I designed it and we both participated. We spent most of Saturday and good chunk of Sunday mapping out our lives.

We were not totally lost, but mostly we were distracted. Our daily life has been fairly comfortable but we lacked a sense of urgency and we somehow often found ourselves wondering where the time went. We had goals but the progress we see every day is unremarkable when we knew that it is possible to make things happen in significant leaps. Did we lack motivation? Not really.  But we found that we focused on the wrong things and we needed to fix our priorities. At its worst, we lingered too long in phases that would have been beneficial in the short run but detrimental in the long run. Like boats that have gone bone dry from being beached too long.

So we labored through a lot of questions and admitted a lot of shortcomings. We identified solutions and gave ourselves better-defined goals. We cut through much of the fluff and recognized the core of our passions. We saw that through the years these passions have become encrusted with compromises and misdirection, as well as weighed down with almost all the permutations of procrastination.

We caught the bad habits and exposed them for what they were. We dug for the good stuff in our hearts and brought it forward and gave it the command to take us through the journeys we have postponed for too long. The ship will finally sail with well drawn maps and a properly working compass. Anchors aweigh!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Today I broke the seal of a bottle of ink. I have had that ink for almost a decade now, I think. I ordered it as part of a fountain pen set. I have started writing by hand again, putting pen in ink and then on paper. I have revisited my old journals and have learned much just from skimming through pages and pictures. I swear I almost heard a voice of my old self whisper to me: "I thought you were never coming back." Well I thought I never would, too. But the itch on the tip of my fingers never really went away and the words kept on dripping and overflowing everywhere in my head.

I miss my old writing books, especially Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron's The Right to Write. I also had On Writing Well by William Zinsser. There was also Stephen King's On Writing, and a host of others that I can only remember by what they had taught me. Years ago I sold them all in a fit of frenzied attempt to transform into something else, someone less dreamy perhaps. Someone who looked reality in the eye and made friends with it in a no-nonsense way. Someone who was practical enough to say that books that have been read are only taking up space and the money gained from selling them could help pay the bills. I took the idea of living simply to an extreme. I pared down my life so close that the skin stung when wet.

I thought that was enough. To survive on essentials. To just go through each day and be thankful. I reduced my writing to phrases and bullets and catchy copywriting. Everything became functional and rational. The last few times, a few years ago, that I wrote poetry my Muses were sputtering from disuse. They were rusty and their voices croaked. I myself was fading. I had become a ghost of my self.

But today I opened a fresh bottle of ink.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

sunshine and blue sky

I stumbled upon this small painting I made on the page of a journal years ago. I can no longer remember what inspired me to do this, but that moment was also the time in my life when I started to emerge from a phase of slow dreaming through a dark tunnel. It was like a waking from a sleepwalk of long journeys, where every thing was a dream and every dream was a wish fulfillment that vanished and melted onto the next strange story.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


if i were wise as people think, i would stop
and cut ties now, while all our
soul-threads are still fine and like
spider-webs crisscrossing between us.
already there are spots getting 
tighter and denser, when i move
i can already feel you on the other end.

if i were kind to myself i would start
walking away, while distance can still
heal whatever gaping wound your absence
will tear upon me, while the memories
to be emptied are still in mangeable bundles,
easily buried in practical things
like work and obligations

if i were strong i would simply grit my teeth
and let it pass, this nausea of the heart,
because something posing as love has tickled its throat,
but i have tasted this before, sweet, sickening,
and false--- because it leaves me feeling
even more hungry and empty,
and starved.

but i am only brave
so instead i will tell you what my soul says
despite its folly, and its cruelty
and its weakness;
and then i will not run away
so you will not have to be


This is something I wrote on the edge of a breaking heart sometime in 2001. I found a copy of it pasted on the back cover of an old journal as I was clearing space for my craft materials. I miss those days when I could write poems like a mad raging river flowing to the sea. My inspirations then were different and my needs were always too big and too grand for me.

I would one day like to publish a small book of poetry. It has been an old dream of mine, back when there were more people actually reading poetry. I once went to a poetry reading in a bookshop in 2000. A young woman who was by then a professional feature writer with her own cult following approached me and asked for a copy of my poem which I had read at the event (with barely controlled nervous trembling). Then she asked me to sign the copy. As if she was insuring that in case I get published and became popular in the future she would have something of me when I was nothing. It was a sweet gesture I think.

Monday, September 19, 2011

mad monday

Just because I changed a kitchen cabinet handle last night to try out a small idea on decorating my home I realized how much possibility there is in everything else.

changed my kitchen cabinet handles from a plain silver bar to a pair of flowers 
Hence when I woke up this morning I felt eager to do things. My original to-do list got overpowered by an unexplainable need to...clean the house.

I went on a cleaning frenzy. On top of my regularly scheduled daily chores, I vacuumed the whole house and moved furniture and dusted and polished and wiped and scrubbed. It was therapeutic and it felt like I am finally pushing all the right buttons to move my own energies to creativity. A lot of the little chores that I have been putting off for weeks suddenly got done. I didn't get to do any money-making work but it was well worth it. I feel that even the clogged corners of my brain got de-cluttered.

As I cleaned, many things also became clearer to me. Goals became more defined. Ambivalent feelings became less fuzzy. Fears receded far into the background where they will not do any impeding or pulling back.

With every clump of dust I caught with the vacuum nozzle I thought about obstacles disappearing. With every object put back in its proper storage I thought about things falling into place.

Now as I sit back and gaze with satisfaction at the results of my hard work I could not care less about the muscle aches from all the bending and stretching and carrying. I think I will sleep well tonight.
Most people miss their whole lives, you know. Listen, life isn't when you are standing on top of a mountain looking at the sunset. Life isn't waiting at the altar or the moment your child is born or that time you were swimming in deep water and a dolphin came up alongside you. These are fragments. Ten or twelve grains of sand spread throughout your entire existence. These are not life. Life is brushing your teeth or making a sandwich or watching the news or waiting for the bus. Or walking. Every day, thousands of tiny events happen and if you're not watching, if you're not careful, if you don't capture them and make them count, you could miss it. You could miss your whole life.
~Toni Jordan, from the novel Addition