I wish I could…

It’s another Friday — and a super cold Friday at that.  I took this snapshot of my favorite fountain here in Bryant Park this noon on the way to pick up lunch and a few odds and ends for a weekend project at the bead stores.  As you can see, the Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain is freezing up again and will likely be another elegant ice sculpture over the weekend, more so when we get some snow again from Sunday into Monday.

The Josephine Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain all frozen

I can never tire of taking pictures of this gorgeous fountain.  It’s not one of our more majestic ones but it has it’s own reason to be proud as a source of beauty in this great city.

I’m waxing poetic, I know.  It’s been a long and tiring week for me.  I feel as though many parts of my life were put on hold due to the rest taking it over.  I have even missed a day here and there on Instagram.  (THAT busy!)

I haven’t quite moved as progressively as I had wanted in the fronts I had hoped to work on.  I wish I could… but sometimes, you just get paralyzed from all the movement and find yourself moving and not moving at the same time.  There are the projects and homework to finish.  He takes precedence, of course.  At the end of the day, I had wished I could just finish dinner and curl up in bed and lay down to sleep.  But there have been many late nights and no reprieve from being the first to wake up the next day.  Tomorrow, I will get my chance — I hope.  Even just an extra hour would do wonders.

I wish I could just sit in the park and watch the world go by but it is too cold to do that.  There are many thoughts crowding my head that at times, something as trivial as playing slot machine games (just for play, not for money) on my iPhone helps to bring me down to a quiet calm. 

I haven’t written much.  None of the letters I had hoped to write have been written.  Rereading those two sentences made me sigh deeply at the thought that my world seems to be stuck at a certain point even if I know I’m moving in all directions.  Sometimes we get so busy that we end up seemingly standing still even if we aren’t. 

But it’s Friday. 

And although it’s another winter weekend — I hope to do a few things and hopefully report back with something accomplished.

I am looking forward to a restful weekend with the family.  No real plans as of now except to get  a treat from my boy who promised me a present for all the help with his school projects.  He was being overly generous but I told him I’d be happy with some polymer clay or other odds and ends.  He said as long as it’s at least $50.  That’s my boy who promised mom a diamond ring when he’s working already.  (And if he doesn’t have a girlfriend yet.)

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Art Journal Every Day: Just Believe

Art Journal Every Day: Spiral

This layout picks up from the previous multi-page layout, BELIEVE,  which had a dangling letter on the front and back end.  Because I had an “e” dangling from the “BELIEVE” layout, you see the back of that letter as the first portion of this next spread.  It was a watercolor background which made for easier journaling, and I played around with shapes and writing directionally — literally.  Somewhere in the midst of completing the days you see here, I wrote the passage on the right based on my daily readings as a reminder of the verse which resonated with me.

“Change my heart, oh, God.  May I be like you.”

But the title of this layout is “JUST BELIEVE” because of the admonition you see around the spiral on the left side.  I find that these days, my faith has become stronger even if I have put the blind faith hat on — where I don’t go beyond believing.  I don’t even think about it… I just believe — and trust that all will be taken cared of.

Jeepney Stories

Since I joined Instagram a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been posting my jeepney snapshots under a series I entitled #jeepneystories . I have enjoyed editing the photos to be Instagram-savvy (love those filters and my PictureBlur app) and I have put a few blurbs just to put the picture in context and literally write a really short jeepney story to accompany each picture.

I started taking pictures of jeepneys in earnest around 2009. It’s a little difficult standing on the sidelines on the road (even with my smaller than your typical DSLR cam… it’s DSLR-like, not a DSLR), so most of my photographs were taken while I was in another vehicle.  There were a few rare instances when I wrapped the strap around my arm and took shots in succession quickly in front of Quiapo.  I have never been able to do that again but look forward to trying the next time I’m home.

Doing this photo series brings me back home. It also exposes me to many kababayans on Instagram.  Some non-Filipinos must be attracted more by the color and the shots itself than the significance of the photos themselves and have “liked” my pictures.  I’m flattered.  But it’s a series I intend to keep doing.  With any luck, I have enough shots between 2009 and the last trip home (December 2013) to keep the series going until the next trip home.

If you’re on Instagram, try following me there where I am as GothamChick.

Jeepney Stories collage 1

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (Another Multi-page Layout)

Here is the second multi-page layout in my altered book which spells out BELIEVE through various pages. The totality of the pages looks like this:
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) -1
I wanted to be able to write about ‘believing in happiness’ again by reinforcing this through “happines” quotes throughout the layout. I used the MISERABLE Font and found the right size that would enable me to spread out the “e-l-i-e-v” in a two-page layout and then have “b” and the last “e” fold out from outside the two pages as you see above.

I tried to do the embellishments in the various spreads using the same theme, which were watercolor and pen layered flower doodles which I did individually then pasted onto the book. I also printed the Happiness quotes on kraft paper.

If you look at the alpha sizes, the ‘B’ is pronouncedly bigger than the rest as in a Title Case.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 2

The scribblings in ink around the watercolor flowers came at the same time as the journaling. I had to fill in the empty space and show a more cohesive background beyond the colors, so I did this for every layout.

Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 3

I didn’t let my journaling be confined by the pagination.  In face the entry for this day continues onto the next journaling box which had to be after the middle page layout of the ‘l-i” which I filled in instead with a sun doodle which is a favorite graphic of mine.  (Easy to do and literally shines with positivity.)
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 4

 Here you’ll see the tiny journaling space which I wrote on anyway to finish the entry from the previous journaling box.

 

Art Journal Every Day: Believe
When I do my journal entries here, I don’t really care about breaking up the words in syllables or whether or not it comes out readable. I write very spontaneously, and I keep in mind that the only person who should understand what I wrote or tried to write is me.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 6
For this next layout, I had a lot of space and decided to be more playful with the whole layout, putting in a pen outline of my face which was a reproduction from a photo.

Although it isn’t anything like the watercolor photos decribed by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s blogpost/tutorial on Super Easy Watercolor Portraits.  It was easier, too, that I had used a ‘line drawing’ version of the photo I chose for this.
Art Journal Every Day: BELIEVE (multi-page layout) 7

Much of the right side was watercolor on a book page which would have made it difficult to write the entry, so I pasted one of my grid watercolor backgrounds onto the page and journaled there.  This whole layout made room for a total of 3 days’ journaling which was an added bonus.  I could’ve done a fourth on my face but I liked the way I traced the impression on the page and decided to keep it as it.

So can you believe all that evolved from this?

 Art Journal Every Day-BELIEVE original

Food Trip: Bistro Citron for Brunch

We were supposed to go to this place for our Valentine’s Day dinner, just the two of us, but thanks to the snow and all — he didn’t get back from Dallas until midday Saturday.  Since we already lost out on one day of the long weekend, we relented when Angelo said he didn’t want to be left behind, and turned it instead to a family brunch.

Bistro Citron, “a French bistro in the heart of Roslyn Village” in Long Island, is a short drive from our home in the opposite direction of the city.  This village is special because it was the same place where we got married 14 years ago.  Although we got married in the summer, seeing the town again all decked in snow and the other signs of winter was a walk down memory lane.  We didn’t quite get as far as the venue where it all took place — but this was the town.

When we got seated, the place was full — good thing we had reservations.  We were seated right under this vintage glass ceiling which was as French as it could get.  The ambiance was warm and we were greeted by the host and the staff warmly.
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Brunch came with a mimosa which I enjoyed with the bread before the meal. I picked a Reisling originally to go with my mushroom omelette (below) but they were out, so I went for the rose instead.  Their portions are rather generous which made for a good meal which had me full for quite a bit.  The omelette with the bacon, sausage and potatoes was indeed very filling.
Food trip: Bistro Citron
Alan picked the poached eggs with salmon which looked sumptuous as it was. He was complaining the muffin underneath was rather hard and overdone toast-wise, but that is necessary for the bread to hold the poached egg which would tend to make the bread soggy.
Food trip: Bistro Citron
The highlight, though, was their delectable Bananas Foster which came in a phylo cone and was  served with hazelnut ice cream.  The bananas on top were coated with caramelized sugar which gave it a nice crunch.
Food trip: Bistro Citron

It was a good way to spend a Sunday on a long weekend.  We’re not going anywhere for Angelo’s winter break but that’s just fine.  Projects need to be worked on and I have to catch up with work.

I’ll take the break and enjoy it, and wish the snow away.  Maybe we’ll go back to Bistro Citron again soon.Food trip: Bistro Citron

Art Journal Every Day: “Life isn’t fair but God is”

My journal entries are very raw and frank that is why while I used to share my journaling openly, I’ve opted to blur the journaling this time around. I’ve also used my entries to encourage myself to move forward and be more optimistic. For the most part, it’s a continuing effort. But at the end of the day, just seeing the entries that are already done gives me a sense of accomplishment. To me, it’s a very concrete manifestation of physically moving forward which helps me motivation-wise.

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close upsHere’s a layout that I rendered by doing layers of text. First, there’s a highlighter background rendering of the lyrics of a favorite song of mine by Rupert Holmes, “Touch and Go”.

There are two main lines here (totally unrelated to the song) but they are really visible only when you look closely it have the book in your hands.

On the left is the title of this post: “Life isn’t fair but God is.”
Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups
Then under the main journal entry which I wrote using a black fine sharpie, I write “It will get better.”

Art Journal Every Day: "Life isn't fair but God is"-close ups

It’s very busy but that was the whole point of layering the texts with minimal drawings. I had started doodling these type of flower scribbles when I was in high school and haven’t really used them in any layout so I did on this one.

This is how it end up looking once done:
Art Journal Every Day: Life isn't fair but God is"

Til the next entry..

A Wintery Friday

This has got to be the longest winter yet, not because it is literally long but because the snow just keeps coming. What’s worse is that it’s been so cold that not only are we accumulating snow because it has been coming storm after storm after storm, but because we haven’t had high enough temperatures to allow the previous storm’s snow to melt.

Friday was the worst because we already had inches of snow that got a foot more over a 36 hour period. I wasn’t surprised that the car service company told me they weren’t taking reservations and couldn’t promise they would have anything by the time I needed it to bring Angelo to school and get dropped off at the bus stop.

Oh, and did I mention I had helped him make a newspaper project which we had to bring to school this same morning?
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For all of you who like snow, I agree that it looks beautiful when it’s freshly fallen and you see all the undisturbed white. But then it changes when you have to walk on it, snowboots or no snowboots.
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It was just beautiful and quite a relief to see blue skies above for a change.  We’ve been having grey and muggy skies of late and it helps when the sun is out in full force.  Not only does it lift your spirits up but it helps to temper the cold on the ground.
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This even as the sun was just rising at a few minutes past 8am.  I walk past this bike path in a park behind my son’s school to the nearer bus stop.  It meant moving two stops back, but I couldn’t risk the icy and slushy walk to the one I usually take.  I figured it was easier to go this way.

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Every time I walk through this path, I can’t help but take pictures of this patch of trees — green in the spring and the summer, fiery during the changing of the colors of fall, and bare yet elegant in the winter months.

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Layered and all bundled up, I walked with my gloves and I trudged through the snow.  There were little things that had fallen after the storm and nestled snuggly into this soft bed of white.
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Part of the walk still had undisturbed snow.  I had to take a picture before my trail marred this undisturbed carpet of white.  This is a normally flat sidewalk with grass on either side, but the previous week’s snow was a few inches high, and both the walk and the sides got a generous snowfall that made it look like there was a foot-tall embakment.

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And finally I crossed the highway to my stop.  This is an eerie shot of the sun continuing to rise behind another thick cover of bare trees in the foreground.  Still I cannot help but keep taking shots although I’ve done this many times.  The concrete is glistening with melting snow.  It looks like it just rained but that’s actually the ice melting away.  Slow, though, it may be.

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I can’t believe they’re saying we’re going to get some snow today.  Yesterday’s skies were prettier — now all I have is another shade of grey above.  We’re home sitting warm and toasty — the thing with snow and rain is it warms the atmosphere up, save for the natural cold that you feel from snow still on the ground.  (Imagine how dry ice cools something in your cooler.)

Winter is a photographer’s dream come true but it stops being a pleasant one once you try and go about your normal day with the snow all around you.  I got into the city eventually.  The snow is not as beautiful as it is down there because they plow the roads quicker, and the sidewalks are cleared faster.  (There is a law that property owners must take care of the public spaces around them within four hours from the end of a snowstorm.)

No more snow, please.  Keeping my fingers crossed I get my wish.

Purple Hearts and Vintage Books

I spent part of the weekend sitting at my little craft corner. I think I managed to move a few things, find my pasta machine (for the polymer clay), gather up my polymer clay stash, even tried to run some scraps through the machine. I attempted a stroppel cane but didn’t quite get anywhere and I think what I came up with was nowhere near what a stroppel cane should look like. (So I guess I’ll try again.)

I didn’t quite get to the jewelry making although most of my supplies are within arm’s reach. I need to reorganize the bits and pieces that are out in the open and get them in the proper organizer box. (Might try tonight.)

Purple HeartMeanwhile, over my lunch break, I managed to condition and mold these two polymer clay hearts in purple. Pretty. =) I have had this project brewing in my little brain to create hearts to be made into pendants and pins to raise funds for Tacloban. They are trying to get up on their feet but are nowhere near it, and this is going to be a long-term effort. I’m inspired by the efforts of Dr. Ron Lehocky with the Heart Pin Project he’s been running for years for the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies. For now, it’s a thought.

Over the weekend I was at Strand Bookstore where I managed to grab five antique books in their outdoor bargain book shelves while waiting for my stylist.  I wanted to stay longer and browse some  more but time was up.  I will write about this separately and just wanted to pique your interest by showing you this haul:

My Vintage Book Haul from Strand Bookstore

My original intention really was to pick up books whose pages I can use for crafting since vintage book pages are all the rage.  I picked up one in French (which is so brittle that its pages are crumbling in my hands) and two in German.  The first appealed to me because of the language, the second because of the typeface.  There was another interesting book in German which, again, appealed to me because of the typeface.  Then I saw a 1915 print of “The New Poems of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning”.  And then there was a book of Irish Love stories that had a pretty border on each page.  That plus the fact that love stories would mean words I might be able to use for blackout poetry.  Five books, $10.00 for the entire haul.  Book heaven!

So my week has begun.  How has yours been so far?

It’s been very cold in New York although I’m biting my tongue on whining about the weather since I’m sure other parts, like Lou’s, are probably getting hit with more snow and even colder temperatures.  Can you believe we’re halfway through February?  Well, almost. 

February 14, 2014.  That can be written as 2/14/2014  — double pairs of 2s and 14s.. Hmmmm… My brain stops there.  Let me leave you with that.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE (A multi-page layout)

I have several of these multi-page layouts in my altered book but I tried to think of words which evoked positivity and then executed it in different ways.

This layout started out as this:

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - original multi-page layout before journaling
The left hand page was a watercolor layout I pasted on the book page, and I picked out four different fonts for the individual letters of “HOPE”. I painted the pages and concentrated on the fourth of the right side page that I needed and then traced the letters onto the page and cut them.

Because the pages with the letters had acrylic paint, I had to use permanent ink to draw and write on them.  Note that ordinary black signpens will not adhere to the paint and tend to stain the other page. As this was already a rather “colorful” layout, I decided I’d stick with an all-black border and background theme.

I did the first layout with doodled flowers and hand-drawn dates.

Art Journal Every Day -HOPE

After I finished the first entry, I then started drawing on the empty spaces behind the letters to make the multi-page layout more cohesive. I also made sure each journal block had a distinctive border to frame the entry.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I also maximized the blank spaces behind the letters as much as I could. Black worked for the most part but I needed to use silver and/or gold for the darker page painted with violet. I kept the floral embellishment to black, though.

Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

For the final layout below, I decided to use some spray painted
filofax grid pages I had sprayed with ink. I simply pasted it onto the blank center and wrote on it.  I wanted to do more journaling than drawing on this particular spread, and it was just easier writing on a water-color or ink painted journal space than the practically whole two-page spread that was painted with light purple acrylic paint.  I drew randomly on the other blank spaces to fill it in.Art Journal Every Day: HOPE - a multi page layout

I am very heavy on the written journaling and have yet to move on to symbolic or art-based entries. I am trying, but this works better for me.

I’m finishing another multi-page layout again right now and will probably be able to share that next week. (If not sooner.)  Some of the entries are short and other go on from page to page.  I don’t necessarily choose to confine my entries on one page.  I let it flow and just move on to the next page if I’ve run out of space.

I’ve tried to work on part of a layout or a layout every day but I don’t stress about “catching up” if I miss out on a day or two.  If I do, I just write when I can.  I write in the “now” so whatever day it is when I finally write again, I pick up from there.

Time to do today’s entry.

Feedback on Feedback: Words.. and more words

Words - my own graphic for a of post on that topic using PictureBlurIt’s been a while since I have found the inspiration to write a post on my feedback on feedback I’ve gotten.  (Hence, “Feedback on Feedback”.)  For the most part, it’s because the people commenting are now real friends (Yes, finally met Lou, for one..) — or friends from another realm (like Kat of Postcrossing Philippines) and Bernie who I first bumped into as a customer of my Etsy shop but who might as well be a sister from another lifetime reincarnated into someone else..  And I’ve come to accept that 7 of the 10 or maybe 11 readers are actually “lurkers” who never say a peep.  (And that’s perfectly okay, too..)

So you can imagine how truly moving it is for me to find a comment that someone takes the time to write to let me know my words make sense to them, too, besides the three others I’ve mentioned here. =)   And if I have neglected to mention you and you are always making your presence felt with a “like” or by leaving an echo through a comment, apologies… the Pinay New Yorker is almost 48 and not quite as good remembering.

Thank you, Mike.

Mike, you see, had strayed into my space and had left a comment after reading “Broken Links and trying to get into law school“.  He wrote:

I’ve started reading your blog a few days ago and all I can say is that, with all honesty, I really love it. Even though I find it hard to keep up with the width of your vocabulary, it occurred to me that, maybe, just maybe, you are the voice inside my head. It’s the only voice which helps me cope with most of my law school dilemmas including my inability to pursue law straight after college because I thought that I wasn’t ready yet (financially and emotionally). It pains me to see my former classmates charging through the rigors of law school (because I wanted to be in their position), while I’m still here waiting for the opportunity to enter the same. That’s why after a few months of working in the government sector, I finally decided to take up law in San Beda (my Alma Mater) as a working student. However, law school requires proficiency with the English language, which I consider, my greatest weakness. So aside from reading literature and answering WordPower books, could you please share your story on how you became articulate with this language; how you fell in love with it; and how you managed to keep on improving it? I asked these questions because I was greatly impressed by your writings. I can feel that your heart was really into it. And just by reading your blogs, I can already exercise my use of proper grammar and expand my vocabulary. I wish that I’d be able to speak and write like you Atty!

To which the Pinay New Yorker says:

First of all, thanks for the idea for a dozen or so blog posts which I will now have to write because I wouldn’t be able to sit tight on any other topic until I do that.  =)  I like your calling me “the voice inside your head” which I would reply to with a curt “Be careful what you wish for.” LOL.. I’m not making light of your comment — but the truth of the matter is, when I read that, I actually told myself YOU sounded like the voice in my head.

Second, the fact that you read my blog makes me eternally grateful because now I guess I have 11 readers.  (I love making a joke of that..)  So I guess it’s you who’s been pulling the stats for the Philippines up.  It’s both heartening and depressing to see my stats every day where they are — and I wonder from time to time who in Dubai or Turkey might be reading what I write here — but I am a very shallow person when it comes to people reading my blog, so when I see some new “country” popping up, I’m thrilled pink.  Of course when the ticks for the Philippines shows more than 2, that gives me a reason to smile.  On the otherhand, it’s depressing because wouldn’t it be great to see hundreds of hits a day?  (Hint: I get waaaaaaaaay less than that.)  I’d be lying if I said I never thought about chasing that, but then when I tried to grow my audience and make the blog’s readership reach “stats heaven”, I lost a big chunk of the authenticity of the personality of my little corner here.  It just wasn’t for me, and it wasn’t what kept this blogging going all these years — I’ll say it again, I write for my personal benefit.

I went back to writing for myself and that’s just the way I like it.  But of course I cannot deny the fact that I like that I somehow make sense to other people, too, so I guess I’m not crazy after all.

Let’s start a topic at a time.  I would normally start by chastising you for belittling your grasp of the English language but that’s a whole post altogether.  And so is the need for English proficiency and your chances at surviving law school.  Today, I’ll talk about my favorite topic: me.

How did I become articulate with the English language? 

Let it be known that my parents came from very humble beginnings.  My mother only  finished elementary school and soon after worked as a housemaid to support her family and younger siblings.  My father was a high school graduate.  I am not saying that to rob them of credit for who I am and the way I am right now — but simply to state that from those simple backgrounds, they nurtured my siblings and I to be the best that we can be.  And they would have been brilliant if only life gave them a chance to further their education — I know I’m smart because of genetics and not because of a fluke.  They worked very hard to send us to the best schools, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

The first person I’d credit for my English is my Auntie Lydia who insisted on speaking with us in English at home.  She was a former nun and introduced us to fairy tales and musicals like The Sound of Music.  My mom sort of clashed with her on this because she was afraid that we would stop learning Tagalog and my grandmother who spoke only Bicolano and Tagalog would have an even harder time communicating with us.  But up to the death of my grandmother in her 80s, all she needed to do was give us those every tight hugs I still remember for almost choking me telling me how much she loved us.

Auntie Lydia called us off for using slang which was forbidden. No “gonna” or “wanna”.  (And she wasn’t a Paulinian nun, mind you!)

Secondly, the Paulinian sisters should take a huge chunk of the credit.  I remember they would penalize us for speaking in Taglish.  When I was in gradeschool, the fine was 25 cents. Of course it was just a threat.  The rule went that if you were to speak in Tagalog, start and finish the sentence in the same language.  And to this day, that rule is embedded in my head.  If I talk to you in English, I will do it in straight English.  No “tusok-tusok the fishballs.”

I started writing when I was 11.  I wrote poems, stories, letters, diaries.  And I went back to the stories I wrote and re-wrote them again.  I kept notebooks of prose which I had brought back to New York in the hopes of encoding them sometime in my lifetime and actually produce a compilation even just for my own benefit.  I still have one or two old letters I wrote to friends or to my mom and I didn’t write this way then.  I had grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.  But I never stopped writing.

I haven’t written poetry in over a decade now but I have written as much as I can on paper and here.

I like to listen to my voice resonating in the bathroom as I read the newspaper.  Maybe that’s why my resume has “Newscaster for an FM radio station” as one of previous jobs held.  I’m an “aural” person.  (I work best when hearing what I need to remember.)  Even when I memorized in law school, I had to hear myself speak the verse or provision for it to stick to my head.  Most of my study aids had to do with Baroque music playing in the background because one of the books I read said their cadence and melodic progression somehow “opened up” the brain to be more receptive to memorizing.

As I got older, I tried to seek out advice and pick up the comments and suggestions of people who had done this for years and years.  I’ve always said that anything can be learned.  But more than that, you have to want to learn and be open to absorbing new information and words and styles like a sponge.

There was Sir Cas, a 70-something veteran in Manila City Hall who was dredged from retirement by one of my first bosses to help us with a government project.  From him I learned such basics in English like how to address a memo properly.  You say “TO:” when it’s a peer or someone under you, but to a superior, you say “FOR:”.  (And I don’t care if the memo police swat my hand because Sir Cas said that.)  Add to that that you don’t sign off with “Sincerely” unless you are attesting to something.  Hence, “Truly Yours” which a lot of people find sort of “old” now.  Besides, “Sincerely” sounds better, true — but what are you being sincere about?

Then there was Triccie C, one of the most remarkable people I have met who had influenced my writing style, and who, to this day, is a proven expert in the field of communications.  Her elegant style and attention to detail has made me think of all the reminders she would chirp in whenever we were working together.

Much like what you are doing now — trying to seek advice and find bits and pieces to pick up from other people’s experiences.  They will not all work for you, but if you look and are open to it, you are bound to find something that will help you improve yourself.

I devoured Reader’s Digest, Time and Newsweek when I could.  It takes a certain patience to go through their sometimes lengthy articles, but I enjoyed them immensely and regretted not having the time to pick up one as the years passed.  These days, I regret that their issues are much thinner and less substantial than they used to be.  I still pick up an issue once in a while, and when I grab a magazine, I try to finish the article from start to finish instead of just flipping through the pages.

I actually take the time to find the meaning of strange or new words to me.  When the definition was ambiguous, I didn’t leave it at “I have an idea what it’s meaning is.”  I went to the dictionary.  (Of course these days, googling the word will give you a definition easy.)  When I was reading books, I scribbled the new words I didn’t know the meaning of at the back page and I looked up their meaning when I paused between pages or chapters.  I probably would remember 3 of 10 words I sought definitions for, but reading the definitions of the other 7 gives me a better chance of properly defining the word later if I do encounter it.  The new words whose definitions I remembered, I tried to use in an every day context.

I have had a love affair with words all my life.  From the children’s books I read over and over again to my endless ramblings here.  Proficiency in the English language, like any other, takes practice to master.  Write.  Read.  Then write again.  And read again.

I don’t see what your problem is.  Save for a correction or two, your comment as written doesn’t need to be edited.  And I’ll tell you a secret: I make those mistakes, too.  You have to be comfortable writing and speaking the language to be able to paint a canvas with your words.  You have to be confident enough that your words will come naturally without sounding too high brow — and you will be able to switch your tone and language depending on whether or not you are writing a formal letter or if you are poking fun at yourself like I often do.

That you are willing to learn and better yourself is a big leap towards the right direction.  Just keep going and keep learning.  Open yourself to keep growing and grow you will.