Lessons I Learn from the Park on a Winter Day

2011/01/09 § 11 Comments

I love being at the park, whatever the season.

But wintertime is special.

It’s when I hear the words “PUSH ME DOWN” and it brings inexplicable joy to my heart.  I know I’ve lived in the adult world too long when the same words initially stir anger or fear in me.  Adults don’t like being pushed down.  Not at work nor in personal relationships.  Not emotionally, intellectually or physically.  But on a snowy hill in wintertime, the air is fairly ringing with “push me down” insistently and excitedly.  Children are asking, in fact ordering,  their dads and their friends and their siblings to push them down the hill and even I, a mere spectator, feel the thrill and happiness of it.

It is a joy to see children scrambling up after tumbling down and raring to go up again so that they can tumble down some more.  We have forgotten this as adults.  We fall.  And stay down.  We mull, scratch our heads.  Get depressed.  Trudge heavily up, if at all.  Desperately procrastinating having to climb up because it takes too much work or because we are so afraid to fall again.

One should always try to go to a park after a particularly snowy day.  Paths and roads and markers are covered in snow. One can walk to where he wants without following the road.  It is a brief freedom but freedom nevertheless and is quite liberating.  One can take shortcuts or go round in circles and it somehow doesn’t matter.  One can tumble and fall and it’s okay.  It’s what one should be doing on a snowy day.

And if I had any good sense, next time I go to the park and see a pile of cuttings…I should just jump into it and stay in as long as I could so that I could lie on a bed of pine needles and breathe and be enveloped in its wonderful scent.  Adults just don’t jump into piles, right?  But there are all sorts of piles.  And piles of pine branches and barks and needles are the best sort of piles.  Not all piles are piles of dung.  Which we jump into anyway, most of the time.  Though we don’t know it.  So I don’t see why we shouldn’t knowingly jump into a good pile.  I guess it’s just not very adult to “jump into things.”  One always has to mull.  Scratch his head.  Ponder deeply.  And some such.

When the next snowfall covers the park,  I promise  –  I will go and find someone to push me down, and I will slide and tumble with abandon, and I will climb up with excitement, and I will jump into piles without a second thought, and I will get lost because it’s fun and I will NOT follow the road and I will stick out my tongue … and taste the falling snow.



Back in New York…

2010/11/23 § Leave a comment


It was grey and chilly when I landed in JFK.  Just as I was wishing for.  I love arriving in places that look completely different from where I came.  From the heat of Manila to the chill of New York.  Even when I’ve lived in New York long enough and live most part of the year in the US – I always think of it as a new place to explore.  I get really excited to go home to Manila and the province.  Just as I am really excited to be back in New York.  There seems to be a never-ending list of things to do and list of things I haven’t done.

And so I woke up thinking of the many things I wanted to do today.  I especially wanted to drop by H&M for the launch of its Lanvin collection.

And to go walking around the city.

Then I thought I needed to go to the grocery as ref and pantry are all empty after being away for two months.  I’ve missed all the deli and the grocers.  Then I realized that Thanksgiving is coming up in one day and I have not made any sort of preparations whatsoever.  I need a menu.  I was supposed to fly out and join relatives…but plans were derailed by work.  Lots of work to do. Which requires me to stay put in the city for now, at least.

And I have yet to unpack my suitcases, clean the apartment that has accumulated tons of dust over my two-month absence, wash dishes, do laundry, sort out mail, etc.

Ah….the list keeps getting longer and longer.  I have to add catching up on my favorite shows – Outdoor Room with Jamie Dhurie, Ina Garten & Guiada de Laurentiis‘ cooking shows, Futbol channel, and more.

And dining out, of course.

But jetlag is taking over…and I slip in and out of sleep.  Now the day is almost done.  Night has fallen and I can see the lights all across Manhattan.  Everything will have to wait for tomorrow.

Spicy Fish Tacos on a Rainy New York Sunday

2010/09/12 § Leave a comment

The days are getting colder.  There’s a decided nip in the air coupled with slight rain and wind.  But I love rainy days.  Especially when I don’t have to go anywhere work-related…which just means I want to go everywhere and wander.  Thought of fish taco for brunch as I needed something spicy and hot to warm me.  So off I go to this tiny, colorful, Mexican place around the corner.  Had the place to myself as it was still quiet early.  An unexpected treat.  The “outdoor” area is actually glass enclosed so you feel like you’re in the street but – not.  Love the colored old doors and windows, hanging paper mache and fairy lights festooned all over.  Another happy Sunday…

A yellow tricycle…and flowers in a basket

2010/09/10 § 1 Comment

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.” – Christopher Morley

Some  of the pretty things I see while walking around…..

Leafy Brownstone Streets, Limoncello Mascarpone Cake, A Happy Labor Day…

2010/09/08 § 5 Comments

Spent the day walking around the neighborhood with a dear friend.

Dropped by Bittersweet Coffee for iced latte (again) and made the short trek to Choice Market for delectable Pain au Chocolat.

Talked about many a things while sitting under a tree at the park and while taking in the sights of pretty cafes, brownstones, leafy streets, the grand interior of the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the many beautiful churches dotting the area.

Walked a couple of blocks home to catch a game of tennis from the ongoing US Open and went back out for late lunch at this excellent, homey Italian place, Caffe e’ Vino.

The homemade Pappardelle with fresh wild mushrooms was outstanding.

The limoncello mascarpone cake was divine.

Even the biscotti that comes free with orders of coffee is light, crisp and wonderful.  Pasta and desserts are fresh and homemade.

Best of all, we were attended to by a lovely old man who was knowledgeable, warm and courteous.

I see many Caffe e’ Vino days in my near future.

A Day at the Park…

2010/08/30 § Leave a comment

Another summer weekend is over.  Posting photos of days at the neighborhood park.  I feel very lucky  to live so near.  It’s a place to breathe, unwind, revel in nature and be part of the fabric of community.   I love watching children running around, people walking their dogs, chatting, playing tennis, jogging, sunbathing and whatnot.

There were stellar performances at the park this summer from the Fort Greene Festival and Jazz Festival.  Local restaurants set up booths with mouth-watering dishes.  Ended up trying goat curry and stewed okra from a caribbean/ soul food booth and have been hooked on it ever since.  Sooo good.

Love the park both when there are events and is filled with bouncing, smiling people and on lazy days when most everyone’s  likely to be dozing under a tree.

Celebrating the culture, cuisine and artistic diversity of Brooklyn.

The Fort Greene Jazz Festival


BitterSWEET Coffee

2010/08/29 § Leave a comment


Bittersweet Coffee Shop at 180 Dekalb Ave

I like coffee.  But  don’t drink it everyday.  (Except when in Paris, where I have my daily shot of espresso).  I don’t drink coffee at home, except when hosting a party.  And I certainly don’t like coffee in a plastic container.  Don’t like my coffee on the go.  I want to sit and savor it (even for an espresso…I like lingering, and watching people, or contemplating the scene and scenery).  Like it in porcelain or china cups.  With dessert.  After dinner.  At breakfast or brunch.  And I only drink my coffee hot.  Black.  Sans sucre.  Unless I see those rough sugar cubes or pure, unprocessed sugar crystals, that I so love.  Which I then add with abandon to cup of coffee.

But things change.

One day, a good friend stayed over and asked for Starbucks.  Which does not exist in my tiny neighborhood.  So we trekked to a darling hole-in-the-wall coffee shop  that I’ve heard so many good things about.  Had no high hope or expectations for my friend.  She ordered an iced latte and sipped.  She said it was good.  After the second sip, she said it was very, very good.  Halfway through – she said it’s one of the best iced latte she’s ever had and she’s drank a lot.  Curious, I took a sip.  And was pleasantly surprised.  At the creamy, wholesome goodness.  The rich, strong coffee flavor that was somehow refreshing.  It was not cloying or bitter (And I like my hot coffee a bit bitter).

It was perfect.  And addicting.

My friend began to crave for it.  I started finding excuses to walk about….so I can drop by the shop and get one.  Until I found myself just happily carrying this plastic container filled with ice, milk and espresso everyday….and walking to the park while  sipping and indulging in it.  This was indeed my new summer pleasure.

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