Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 30 | My Writing Buddyship

My Journal, 1998
It is Day 30. 

Quite a journey this has been. I stop and take stock. Thirty days of blogging that started here.  My most consistent and successful run so far in this writing life.

So what have I learned in the last 30 days of blogging with my wruddy*, Charina:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 29 | the one where i say "holy canon camera!"

©KatShotsPhotography, 2008
Flashback: 2008

Thornhill, ON. April, 2008 :: in between the hundred and one chores and just trying to make life work, i still try my best to squeeze in the grab-camera-and-snap-away-at-the-kids routine. it's a strong pull.  stronger than the pull to the laundry room.  i follow it because it makes me happy.  

they're more makulit* now that they're older.  it's a challenge to keep them in one place.  they're hardly stand still.  when they were babies you could just plop them down in a corner and presto...photoshoot in session! now it's more an aerobic activity photographing them: kneel down, chase them around, holler for them to "please, guys, just stand on that spot on the big rock for one more minute...just one more more.......".
of course it's never just one more. and they don't ever stand on that rock for an entire minute either.
i think it's worth the effort. the grow so fast i can hardly keep up with the way their hands (and nails!) look. one day i was wiping the remnants of timbits off of the little guy when it suddenly hit me: those hands!  when did your hands get so much bigger?!
and i'm thinking to my self: whose hands are these and where did all the baby fat and pudgy fingers go?
snap-snap-snap-snap ::


Fast-forward: 2013

Brampton, ON. May, 2013: I am so darn grateful for following that pull.  For obeying Joseph Campbell's words to "Follow your bliss".  Yes, even when you can hardly keep your eyes open and your legs are cramping from chasing them around too much.

I may not be able to bring back this time but, holy canon camera, thank you!  Thank you for being there to help me capture these moments.  They give me so much joy and a gentle yet powerful reminder that "It's all good, Mom.  It's all good."

This I say to you, dearest new mommy (or daddy) reading this post:  It's all good.  There'll be days when it feels like you just won the heavenly lotto max and then sometimes it feels like it's all sh*t and stones.  It's okay.  Just remember to grab that camera and keep snapping.  Yes, even the ordinary everyday moments.

Like Jojie said, "Chiqui’s biggest accomplishment as a photographer is creating unforgettable pieces infused with love and spontaneity, which she refers to as Everyday Magic. Her hope is that her images will carry over through the years and invoke the same feeling when you first looked at them 20-30 years down the road."

It isn't 20 down the road yet, thankfully.  But the feelings I have looking at these photos right now make the burden of this day lighter.  It gives me faith in knowing that no matter what happens today, I'll have these precious memories and will continue to make them for as long as I can.

Courage in creativity,

*makulit = rowdy

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 28 | That Everyday Magic, A Guest Post

©KatShots Photography
"what should have been chocolate brownies"
This is the full, unabridged version of the article.  Thanks, Jie, for sharing it with me! - CP

That Everyday Magic
(Note: this is going to be on a more personal level since the subject happens to be this writer’s classmate since Kindergarten)

KatShots Photography is a product of Chiqui Pineda. Familiar name, you say. This person was born in Davao City, made her way to Manila as a college student and became a professional singer, joined a noontime TV show, launched the immortal song “How Did You Know?” still being sung in videoke bars, and performed brilliantly in the lauded musical Rama at Sita.  It is the same person who chose to slip away from the limelight to settle quietly in Toronto, Canada with her family. Being the artist that she is, she opted to explore another passion close to the heart.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 27 | Tickled Picture-Perfectly Pink!

It's a very exciting day at KatShots Photography today...and I have a feeling for the rest of the month!

All because of this feature in the Manila Bulletin's Picture Perfect for today, May 28, 2013.  An excerpt ~

When Chiqui Pineda, the voice behind the famous song “How Did You Know,” decided to slip away from the limelight to settle quietly in Toronto, Canada, she opted to explore another passion close to her heart – photography. 
In the same way she tackled her singing career and as a theater performer (Rama at Sita), photography for this native of Davao City was self-taught as she was the family’s official photographer at a young age during special occasions. Chiqui has attended various workshops in Toronto and back in Manila, shadowed and observed photographer friends in action, read tons of materials, and browsed through websites.  Eventually she put up KatShots Photography based in Canada.  

For the rest of the article, please click HERE. 

Ms. Jojie Alcantara, an excellent artist*, freelance writer and award-winning  photographer for almost all the major publications in the Philippines and around the globe and most importantly, my classmate since Kindergarten gave me a most delicious compliment and mega-validation as a photographer!  She asked to feature me as Photographer of the Week for her column!  My YES couldn't have been more resounding.  Echo jud siya hangtod Davao City...abot saTagum pa!  :D

Thank you kayo, dai!  Like I said, it's a birthday-mother's day-christmas all rolled into one kind of day!!!

Grateful and ticked perfectly pink.


For more Defining Moment shots, come visit my photo blog :

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 26 | Taking a breather

The 100im.perfect.songs project is on Song #30 today.

Look at that!

When I started this little project in my corner of the world and literally, in one corner of the house (because this room is actually located in the front south-west corner) I had no idea where it would go.  Nor how often.

Now it's on its 30th and building momentum daily.

I'm going to take a breath with you and share this ~

Fell in love with Sia along the way!

"Breathe Me" is a 2004 single by Australian singer Sia Furler featured on the album Colour the Small One.
Original Singer/Songwriter: Sia Furler
Piano Instrumental : Jamie Cleaton ]

Inspiration: Runt + Sia Furler

Ready...Sing! ^_^

Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And, the worst part is there's no-one else to blame
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me
Ouch I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found,
Yeah I think that I might break
I've lost myself again and I feel unsafe
Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small and needy
Warm me up
And breathe me

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 25 | for the queens in my life

©KatShots | Queens Park: Blur | iPhoneography

I've got nothing for you today.  
Nothing note-worthy.
There's just too many moving parts.  
Too tired.  
Too much.
To do.

I've got nothing for you today.  I think.

But Elizabeth Gilbert of the Eat.Pray.Love fame and the Ideas At The (Sydney Opera) House) does:  

"Women are very hard on themselves and I feel my message is to constantly remind them to relax that grip a bit." 

©KatShots | Queens Park: Clear | iPhoneography

Courage in creativity (and relaxing the grip),

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 24 | And here's another one* for "Throwback Thursday" and a throwback song, too!

Ang big hair!  Ack!!!  :D | 1992
I was not more than 23 here but, man, the stylist made me look older than my mom!  Hahahahahahaha!!!

The above photo was my very first 'glamour shot' for a newspaper article they were going to write about me.  It was a feature on the San Miguel Beer Ad's Centennial Jingle - 100 Years of San Mig - which featured the late great Fernando Poe Jr. as the hero on a horse.  I got to sing the jingle.  I don't have a recording of it.  Sayang.

Day 23 | The Gigil Group | Throwback Thursday

Gigilesque #1 | 2008

Tim Horton's

It's Throwback Thursday and I'm jumping in.

The photos in this blogpost make me so very happy.  They're from a time when the kids were still crazy about mommy's big camera and her gigil kind of attention.  A time when they didn't know words like "You can let go of my hand now, Mom."

Just in case you're in the same strange Tween Town or *gasp*, in the dark and often dreary Teen City.  Or perhaps barely survived it and you'd like a moment to reminisce about the good old days of Cuteness and Cuddles as I am now.  I get all teary looking at these babies of mine.  They're growing up at warp-speed and into a different kind of species altogether.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 20 | revived. renewed. restored.

Main Street, Milton, ON
©KatShots | May 18, 2013
Hello po! 

I'm writing as naturally as I know how. Non-stop.  Keeping my hands moving across the keyboard.  I only have my photos, images I took this weekend, to guide me.  I trust that what I write and share will suffice.  I remember the practice and remind myself that this is enough.

This is a photo taken outside the Thai House Cuisine.  The A family just had the best thai food in Milton for lunch last Sunday.  As of this photo, we're all walking from Froyo, the self-serve yogurt joint that was all abuzz the last time I visited Manila.  It was all over! Malls, grocery stores and street corners!  Just how much yogurt does one Filipino community need?  I wonder if it's still the craze there now.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 18 | one unforgettable week

My best effort belting out this classic ballad originally by Nat King Cole.

I'm still not 100% recovered.  There's a tiny bit of scratchiness in my throat.  I'm able to do a mellow, un-birit song for you!  You'll probably hear the squeakiness in there.

Happy to give you the best that I can for now.

Thanks to my J for the song suggestion.

Here's something soft and mellow and hopefully not too forgettable!  :D

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 16: Superfriends

When I was a kid in Davao City, we had limitless TV time.  A buffet of soaps, lots and lot of soap operas with the endless drama and slapping and yelling and murder. Always murder. Secret, unsolvable murder, the reason being so they can bring that character to life later.  Some woman stabbed to death in Episode 20 always ends up coming to life one or two seasons down the line.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 15: 5ive in ONE

Dearest Reader, 

I failed chose not to publish the past couple of days but continued to write wherever/whenever I could, groggy in bed most of the time, addressing the pieces to my ever-patient writing buddy who put up with all my unbridled existential angst. (Erm, that was one of the conditions of the wruddyship, by the way.  I suspect that the exchange of the past few days is making her think twice!)  I followed my own rules of writing practice and stuck it out with "keeping the pen moving, no editing, just let it rip!" with the Wruddy.  For the purposes of this PG-13 blog, I edited out the cussing. :p  Below is joy*full proof that Crappy To Happy way is still very much alive and well in these parts! ~ CP

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Day 10 *insert brown gloppy emoticon with eyes here*

Today I feel like cr*p.

It started last Wednesday: full-on scratchy, itchy, raw throat, lead-head and achy jello-like body which almost make me not want to continue with cr*p course.  I still did my exam at 1-3 pm in the afternoon today.  By 4pm, post exam, I felt the full on flu-like symptoms.

So I'll stop right here.  Besides, typing on an iPhone at 1:52am trying to catch up to the dailies is beginning to feel rather pathetic.  On top of feeling like sh*t, and as hippie Steve, the oldest student in the class said today because the review was going on for too long:

"This can't be good for the chi, man!"

I will spare yours and mine this heaviness for now.

Goodnight from my flu-ish quarters.

Tomorrow's going to be better! *fingers crossed*

Day 9 | Dearest Mom | a mamay's day special short feature

The Pineda Family, Circa 1975

I know I don't say it often enough, Mamay, but I think it every single day. 

I think and feel it when I tuck them in at night with chapter 3 of the book of the month, right now it is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, or when giving yet another hug or in freshening up the 7th cool compress on a feverish child; when all I really want to do is just crawl into my own bed and sleep for an entire week; when I have to do yet another chore on already overflowing to-do list, when I put up with yet another kid's tantrum or tween angst topped with a "No, Mom, please stop hugging/kissing/making gigil on me because it's embarrassing!" Deep little pinches that make me think, what is this all for and about again? These are the times that I think of how you have given me, given us your four kids so much of yourself. This is when the answer comes shining through, the clear purpose of motherhood for me: This is my way of thanking my mom, for giving back and showing her and myself and my God how truly grateful I am for having a mom who gave us herself, her all, her heart and soul. 

Happy Mother's Day to the most loving and absolutely beautiful mom in the world for me! I love you and miss you so much, Mamay. 

My mom in high school, 1960
Love, your eldest and favorite absentee daughter, Chiqui

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 8 | 7 Ways To Help Stay Creative Daily | My Personal Practice

Day 4, AtriaII, Toronto
[This post covers Days 8 + 9; wrote the draft on one day and edited the next.]

I'm writing this post on the go. I'm sitting here in the Treats cafeteria on the ground floor of the AtriaII, having left the Intro to the Canadian Mortgage Industry class a bit earlier. I stepped out fifteen minutes before break time so I can write at least a quick draft to this post.

Choices, creative choices. I've said it many times and I will say it again :  Creativity is a choice. It isn't easy. It never is. Like right now. The more obvious choice, at best, is to study for tomorrow's exam. Or at my lazy worse, watch Louis CK or Bill Burr on Netflix.  But as with the most vital things in our lives - where to live, who to love, how to feel, I get to choose.

This habit of choosing to create may come easier to some, not because they were born that way but because it has become a way of life.  It's always a battle for me.  If you've been reading this blog for some time, you'll notice this by now.  The act of making the choice to create is also a muscle.  It is a muscle that I choose to strengthen, thus this 30 Day Journey and this blog and the 100songs and so on and so forth.

If I know one of the most basic truths of being human, it is this: Everybody is creative. For the very purpose of this post, I'll assume that we agree 100% on this premise. Also, I'll assume that you have made the choice, The Choice to live like the creative being that you are.

Now the big question:  What now? 

As I've once declared my life mission: To help show, mainly by my example, that one can always live creative, here I am about to share my personal practice once again.  Some of the reason why I LOVE the practice / way of life is because 1) It has literally saved my sanity countless times. 2) It brings so much true JOY in my life and some of the happiest people I know in this world are the ones who create from their hearts and 3) It's simply so stinkin fun to create!  That is, after you've gotten over the gremlins of resistance and you're unstoppable.

For simplicity, I'll be referring to both my writing/singing practice. But it can very well apply to anything that has to do with making something out of nothing.

So you've chosen to practice creativity.  What am I to do in the day to day of it?  Here are seven things I personally swear by.  They are my tried and tested.  They are backed by years of wisdom from other wise teachers, gurus, coaches who have done it in their lives, too.  They work for me.  Try them out and adjust accordingly.

1) Keep it moving. 

In writing, no matter where, how, when; on your desk during lunch break, on a long or short bus/subway/car ride, in the cafeteria mid-course as I'm doing right now, just keep it moving.  In singing, do it daily.  Pop songs, classics, rock, it doesn't matter.  The mix of songs on my SoundCloud are so eclectic.  I don't care.  I do it for the practice.  Not to market to a particular musical group.  Worry not about how good, bad, appropriate, inappropriate. This is The Practice. As Teacher Nat always says: Athletes seem to have no problem with this concept of regular practice.  Neither should we creatives. 

2) Buddy-up!

If regular practice is the first rule, this is a close second for me. The energy that one can create with the right person is priceless.  I have walking buddies, singing buddies, writing buddies here and all over the world.  They push and pull you when you need it the most.  Then you return the favor when they need it, too, always in the spirit of keeping it moving.

3) Ship and share!

This one's a tough one.  Especially for us shy, introverted types.  It's hard to press the "Return/Enter" button, to mail the envelope, to post the photo, share the recipe because we are sensitive beings and feel so connected to our work.  But we hear it all the time: sharing is caring. It's not only for the one at the receiving end.  It's more for the one giving. At my age and with my experience of being wife and mom, I've come to realize that this old concept of "It's better to give than receive." is actually true. In sharing your work, you strengthen the creative muscle, you let it breathe, get alive,grow in the world. This is valuable. As Seth Godin says, art isn't art if it is festering, hiding-in-the-baĆ¼l work.  Art needs to ship, be seen, connect.

4) Say 'Yes' more.

Resist letting out the skeptic, suspicious, snob gremlin living within.  I've learned that we can't kill these monsters altogether.  We can only choose to quiet them.  So as soon as they rear their slimy, ugly heads, push them back down.  Consciously, willfully, with full conviction.  Then open your eyes and look at new ideas, fresh concepts, ways of being that are different from yours with an open mind. At the very least, consider them.

5) Get the body-mind thing in gear.

For a very long time I thought it was all about the mind-soul connection. Creativity is mostly soul-centered, that much is true.  But my soul still resides in a body so when my body feels like crap, my soul's trapped in there and has nowhere to go.  While I am here on this physical plane, I need to make friend with this amazing vehicle that I have been given.  I enrolled in the gym.  I took up running.  I started choosing better foods, more greens, less meat, more fluids.  I choose to take the best care of my body, learn the best ways to nourish and fuel it, continue educating myself in the study of managing this vessel of Energy because without energy, The Work suffers, too.

6) Set short term goals for the practice.

I remember being a swimmer when I was a young kid.  My mom started us young, bless her heart, and we would go to our coach, Tita Ressie after school, three times a week, twice on weekdays after school and once on the weekends.  Coach Ressie would make us do laps, twenty minutes, non-stop to start. Then bubbles. Then another twenty, this time sprint. I hated these laps.  They made my lungs feel like they'd burst.  We moved from the pool at the resort to the olympic sized one in the sports arena.  I was given well-measured goals and very gradually got stronger and stronger.  One of the experiences of my young life as it taught me discipline and showed me that measured pain was necessary to make progress possible.  This experience got me the discipline to learn golf where I excelled and was able to join non-professional tournaments, some which I actually won and the confidence to become a licensed scuba diver (PADI).

7) Get out there!  

Get some air, sunshine, new information, new friends, new trends. Infuse your body and mind with moving, flowing, light-infused energy.

So there you go, creative folks!  Not bad for an on-the-go post.  I smile inwardly and give myself a pat on the shoulder.  It didn't take me that long after all.  And this after I already gave my "Excuse Slip" to miss today's post to which she ever so kindly gave me the permission to do so.  I love your gentle persuasion, Wruddy.  Your subtle 'reverse psychology' tactic, which I suspect you didn't even know you were doing, worked its magic!

7:02PM.  Time to study...and go!  See you tomorrow for the update on the exam!  Angels of study, be with me, thank yous and AMEN.

As always, in the spirit of imperfect shipping and sharing,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Day 6 | stop and start; rinse and repeat

My week-long "sci-fi" school of sorts

I'm taking a break. I have to. I require it! I grab a handful of pistachios, walk around the room, stretch my legs, back, arms and guzzle down half a bottle of water. I'm glad I went for that run at sunset.  

Day 5 | High Park, Low Park

It started on a high note.  

We were on our way to see our angel, Baby Ava.  We missed her so much.  She arrived a couple of weeks ago and it was time to see her again.  So J and I packed the kids.  He made chicken sandwiches for the trip, I packed four bottles of water and my big camera and off we went.  It's a long drive to downtown.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Day 4 | stuck

It's only Day 4 for heaven's sakes.
So I go to my writing buddy, Charotski and tell her about it.

"I'm stuck."
"Ok, tell me more..."
"I have too much.  Too many topics to choose from.  It's the opposite of block.  I've got...over-stock!"
"Choose one?"
"That's exactly where I'm stuck."
"I'm sorry, I don't understand..."

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 3 | How much do you love me?

Do you love me? he asks.

He is being a tad coy about it.  Hindi bagay, I think to myself.

J.  MY Man.  And my man is All Man, if you know what I mean.  Sa ato pang mga bisdak, pa macho ba. :)

He is Alpha Male.  Captain of the ship.  Provider, protector, leader of the band.

I reply: Yes.  Of course, I love you.


How muuuuch?


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 2 | I couldn't resist.

I'm driving on Hillcrest Road.  It was getting busier and busier by the minute.  I just dropped my eldest son, S, to his school nearby.  But that view.  I feel the urge to stop.  But...but...the cars.  The traffic.  The chores.  The To-Do List.  But...

I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Day 1 | Hallelujah anyway!

"If you used to love writing, painting, dancing, singing, whatever, but you stopped doing it when you had kids or began a strenuous career, then you have to ask yourself if you are okay about not doing it anymore."

The above admonition came from one of my writing teachers, Anne Lamott.  It's a tough one.  Especially for moms like us who feel the strong push and pull almost daily.  

Like today.