Friday Five Progress

I’m seriously thinking of renaming this the Saturday Five because I always end up doing them on a Saturday.  But it doesn’t sound quite right.

Some progress this week:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!    I actually managed to post five items and these are now available in the shop.

Fotor_20140726094922899
Available at Gothamchick.etsy.com

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  Been working on it but not the the site itself iwhich s private for now and I have it as a separate blog from this, but I have started uploading to its Instagram Account.  Below is one of the first few I’ve uploaded and you can search for it via hashtag. (#thethankyoupostcardproject)  These are also available on my Pinterest account.

The Thank You Postcard Project - #theyhankyoupostcardproje ct

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m pulling back on this for now because I want to make some specifically to test with.  I don’t want to touch what I already have in the 200+ postcards with backgrounds ready to be worked on.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been pouring a lot of work into polymer clay and so far I’ve managed to make maybe half a dozen beads and molds, but my major polymer clay experiment fell flat.  But that’s what experiments are for, so I’m glad to report that I am at least working on it.

So here goes this week’s Friday’s Five:

1.  Write those letters.  will still try.  I am working on some handmade cards and might even come out with a tutorial in Gotham Chick (my craft blog),  so at least one card, I think will go out.

2.  Post the almost finished bracelets and necklaces in the shop.  I have some mother of pearl bead bangles that are ready for posting but need some finishing because of the extender chain with charm I wanted to add.  That should be done this weekend, and he posts up before next Friday.

3.  Finish at least one more background at the end of my altered book.  I’ve gone back to art journaling and was just finishing one layout for an entry, but I have around 20 spreads in the book that are still plain book pages.  The idea is to create journal ready spreads as I go along.  One or two more entries in the back of the bok would be nice.

4.  Destash more magazine by going through them and getting what I need.  I have been cutting out letters connected to the Thank You Postcard Project and hope to do that with the other magazines I mean to throw out.

5.  Create more polymer clay beads.  I worked on some molds last night meant to help with textures and I hope to create more this weekend.  (Has to be this weekend.)

It might seem like I’m rehashing the previous week’s list but that’s the whole point of this.  I created this list to help me focus on deliverables that are achievable, and I like that it’s kept me committed to ticking off something each week.

It was beautiful yesterday but the clouds are back.  Not a happy morning outside but I’m not complaining because the sun is going to be tolerable.  Hope everyone is having a good Saturday!

Over breakfast

I slept normal last night which was a first in many days.  I was in bed before midnight and made sure to shut all my electronic devices when the witching hour came.  Instead of lingering and having difficulty sleeping, I drifted off to la-la land almost instantaneously.  I know because I don’t remember anything after closing my eyes.  No stressful dreams of people who haunt me into a stressful awakening.  Bliss.

My raisin walnut loafI woke up earlier than usual, too, which is good.  So instead of immediately getting down to the business of getting myself ready for work, I sat down at our breakfast counter, powered up the laptop, and then proceeded to enjoy a quarter slice of the raisin walnut loaf I picked up from Maison Kayser in the Flat Iron district.  It might not be one of his fancy pastries or desserts, but this bread is a heavenly treat.  I can make do with it and butter for a meal.  (Which I will indulge in later for lunch.)

I checked my messages (the boss is on the other side of the world but thankfully has kept to emailing me at the start of HIS day, end of mine, instead of some ungodly hour — but it still pays to check — just in case.)  I said my morning prayer — something I’ve been good with even if reading the scripture readings via Kerygma’s Daily Readings has not been as easy to do regularly.  And I sat down here, determined to write a morning post.

I can hear the humming of the refrigerator and nothing much else.  The TV is off because I’m the only one in the house — everyone else is asleep or gone off to work.  I’m just savoring this alone time where the only sense of urgency comes from the cadence of the laptop keys as I strike them.

The half dozen or so posts in my head are still in my head.  While I have been writing, it’s been more of the spontaneous account of the “thought of the moment” or major activity of the day.  I still hear the words coming forth in my head as I go about doing my work — or even as I hold the clay in my hands, trying to experiment with this new design I wanted to come up with.

Yesterday, the anger almost crept up on my again.  I don’t want to say it’s getting easier to let it go — I think I’ve just gotten better at it.  I breathe in.  I calmly tell myself to let it go.  Another deep breath.  I pray that God help me to let it go.  And I think that is what does it for me.

Time to get ready for work again.  I’ve indulged enough here and must head back to the real world and do my part for the day.

 

 

 

Back to Art Journaling and saying thanks

Art Journal Every dayI was hoping to be halfway done with the altered book I’ve been using for my Art Journal Every Day entries by now, but the problem is that I haven’t been too good with the “every day” bit. Weeks to even a month between posts have practically ground the art journaling to a halt. But I have picked up the Art journal again, so there is hope.

I thought I’d do a “Thank you” post, more so since I’ve been trying to kick off a project. It’s something that I’ve been playing around with in my head and something I’ve been doing some mail art to prepare for. We just don’t say those two words enough. On the other side of the spectrum, a simple thank you in our hands can make such a world of difference.

I’m pulling together a Thank You Postcard Project by repurposing old advertising free cards into mail art with a visual “thank you.” I’m using my stash of decorative/fancy table napkins, subway (and other) maps and other background materials to cover the original print. I’m even using some of my original photography in some. I’ve probably pieced together close to a hundred of my doodled flowers and I just can’t stop.

It’s not about me thanking you. I want to give you the medium to say “Thank you.”  It’s about saying thank you with a postcard.. more to come.

Friday Five Take 3

I could’ve written this post yesterday but I sort of felt bad that I had not much progress to report.

Here’s my list for the previous week:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  The funny thing is I keep making the stationery.  Time to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I’ve put this in the backburner the previous week but hope to do at least one post this weekend.  You can read more about my creative pursuits in this post from my craft blog, Gotham Chick.

3.  Deal with Angelo’s leftover school supplies from the previous year and get rid of what I am not keeping.  This is something I enjoy doing every year.  Unlike other moms, I don’t throw away his composition notebooks.  I actually cut out the seam and take the cover off, and I cut the sheets that have not been written on.  I use it for scratch paper and shopping lists.  The ones I can’t use I’ve already thrown away.  I always keep his old crayons and marker sets for use at home working with next year’s school homeowork.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  While there are a ton of charities here in the US, I keep Angelo’s old clothes and send them with the balikbayan box I send home periodically for my mom to distribute to the poor families in her community in Bulan, Sorsogon.  I don’t send it right away but box them when I can so that they can “compress” and become easier to pack when the bigger box is being assembled.

5.  Write the introductory post about my Thank You Project.  I’ve created the video channel on YouTube and have actually created a separate blog which is still private, but I want to do this right so I’m taking it slow.  Over 100 + postcard backgrounds, 50+ flower embellishments cut and drawn, and other embellishments coming.  I haven’t quite decided the tiers for the group funding project that will accompany it but I’m getting there.  If you’re on Instagram or Twitter, this one will be #thethankyoupostcardproject .

So I guess I was wrong to think that I hadn’t actually accomplished much against last week’s list.  Here’s this week’s list:

1.  Write those letters.  I must confess that one reason this is taking a while to get off the ground is that I like to write spontaneously but I feel like there is so much I’d like to keep out of those letters.  I have never been one to edit myself but at this point, there is so much about what I think and feel that I need to keep close to my chest.  I will still try.

2.  Post those earrings!  I do have three to four ready for posting — after attaching the earwires and photographing them.  I also have two to three necklaces.  The sun’s been shy this Saturday so I will wait for it to come out a little more just so I can have better lighting.  I like the way that natural light plays with the pieces I have been creating.

3.  Work on the Thank You Postcard Project page.  One thing that I have found helpful is writing things longhand instead of waiting to be in front of my laptop or finding time to draft a post on the iPhone.  And it helps me organize things better visually.

4.  Send some test postcards out.  I’m wondering if this should be part of #1.  I have printed some of my own photos and treated the front with mod podge but I’m afraid of how the pieces will “travel” or deal with the wear and tear of handling in the mail.

5.  Bake some polymer clay pieces this week.  I’ve been trying to get back to polymer clay a while now but it’s always taken a back seat to everything else.  Yesterday I started “conditioning” clay in the pasta machine and even worked on creating molds.  One of two came out well which inspires me to keep going.  The thing is working with clay and actually producing a baked piece can be quite a production, but I’m hoping to get moving with this this week.

A bit of the old and some new ones.. keeping it at five so that it’s not too overwhelming.  Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

False Starts

I have been trying to blog all week long with no success.  I promised myself this one would be different and would actually find itself on the blog before I hit the sack tonight.  It’s midnight.  If tomorrow weren’t a work day, I wouldn’t mind staying up and puttering away with my polymer clay or the earwire hooks I’m hammering into shape.  But since there IS work and I’m sort of tired, this will be short.

Going beyond a sentence or two or a paragraph at most has been a struggle all week.  I find that strange considering I keep hearing words in my head as if I were writing a post in the middle of just about every quiet moment I have — be it when I’m walking to the bus stop (after prayers, of course) or when I’m washing the dishes.

The week has gone by so fast.  Can you believe we’re almost halfway done with July?  It’s not really all that much of a surprise considering all I have to do is look at my boy and I see time flying past me.  Before we know it, it will be 2015.  Before that, I would have celebrated milestones again.  Another one is around the corner.   Saturday is my father’s birthday and in a few days, his death anniversary.

I had to stop a moment there.  When I write a post here, I usually go on and on and on and edit later.  I write very spontaneously.  But there are topics and there are thoughts that make me draw a blank.  Like his birthday and his death.  Change topic.

Welcome to my garden:  Work in progress - pieced doodled paper flowers for #thethankyoupostcardproject.  Draw-cut-paste.. Repeat.  Trying to come up with at least 20.  We don't say "Thank you" enough.  Say it with a postcard.. Soon! #doodledflowers #persoI feel like I’m in the middle of projects but still making progress.  I have no sense of urgency in completing anything, though, probably because I feel my life and much of what drives me, is on hold.  It’s a little tough to explain — it’s that feeling of just being floating still.  Not moving in any direction, but not grounded either.  Like a freeze frame.

Paused after that thought again.

I still have much anger and pain I’m trying to rid my heart of.  Prayer has been my solace.  I ask that it be lifted from my heart — but I guess I’m only human.  So I try to channel my energy positively into creating.  I try to think of gratitude instead of misery.  I count my blessings.

There are still many times when I feel like I am carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, but it doesn’t feel as heavy when I trust in my God.  Faith has been such a blessing.  It gives me hope even when all hope is lost.  There will be tomorrow.  And then after that, another day… and another..

And there is my little space here where I can write.. and remember.. and write to remember at the same time.  I still look forward to the day when I can come back to these words and hear myself say that “That was back then… I made it through that and here I am..”  When you hit the lowest of lows, it can only get better.

I try not to be jealous of those who seem to have it all.  I remind myself I am blessed just as many times over if not more — just in different ways.  I have green grass on my side of the fence, too…

And my bed beckons.  I want to have an early start Friday so I can get home sooner, too.  Today was nice.  I spent the day in the city with my boy.  I want more of those but I end up not being as productive at work — but it’s well worth it.

 

 

Friday Five Take 2

Two out of five isn’t all that bad:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  

3.  Destash my supplies and magazines.   I am proud to say I got started on this.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  Getting on with this.

5.  Kick off my Thank You Project.   Although I have not done any announcement or post about it, the previous week was all about starting the postcard backgrounds and the last three days, coming up with one themed embellishment set.  So yes, I’ve kicked it off.

Here’s my list for this week:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  I will keep this here until I actually get a letter off to the post office.

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I’ve been experimenting with new wire methods but will make sure to post at least one item over the weekend!

3.  Deal with Angelo’s leftover school supplies from the previous year and get rid of what I am not keeping.  This needs a whole post in itself and I will write about it as I do it.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using. I’m hoping to finish this up this weekend.

5.  Write the introductory post about my Thank You Project.  It’s been two weeks since I thought about doing this project and with all the effort I’ve put into it, might as well. Watch out for that.

My post has to be short and sweet because we’re getting ready to watch a show in one of those big reclining chair theaters this morning.  Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

 

Feedback on feedback: Making it to law school

I often wonder what has happened to the people I had shared a piece of my mind with through the years.  One of the law students who wrote me eventually made it and passed the Bar.  It was easy to find his name on the roster of successful bar examinees because he had written me from his personal e-mail.  I haven’t heard from him since, but I’m proud of him.

I recently received a follow up comment from Mike who had written me about choosing to go to law school on what others may call “a whim” despite having never thought of it before.

Here’s what he wrote:  

Hello again, Atty! How are you? I just want to thank you for all the advice you have given me! I passed the recent law school admission test in San Beda and guess what? The results weren’t that bad. I received a rare above average grade and was admitted in one of the “star” sections of our school. I had a rough time in the last part though, which is the essay. Well, the first part was already grueling to begin with so I guess preparation paved the way for luck. Thanks, Atty! By the way, I keep on reading your blog and I really appreciate your love for the arts. Too bad the school year is about to begin and I’m already preparing myself for the challenges ahead. May the Lord bless you and your family always, Atty! and keep on inspiring people 🙂

And Pinay New Yorker says:  

I always say that everything happens for a reason.. You made it! You made it to a good school!! You did very well!!! I must say I am disappointed, though, that you continue to underrate yourself. All of this was achieved through your own efforts. While prayer and luck may have figured in your landing the spot, without your own skills, knowledge and aptitude, no matter how rigorously you prepare for the test, the questions are designed to probe what that brain of yours already knows.

So you made it– now what?

I hate to burst your bubble (kidding!) but that essay you found difficult is probably going to be peanuts compared to what lies ahead. But I like that you are embracing it and owning it — and that’s the right attitude. I just hope that through the ups and many downs ahead, you’ll keep that fire in your heart.

Yes, even when you find yourself questioning your decision to go to law school when you can’t seem to get the answers right.

Yes, even when you didn’t get enough sleep memorizing the codal provision and you get called on a case you didn’t read in the original.

Yes, even if the darned QPI gets you and they decide they don’t want you there anymore– DO NOT LET THE DREAM GO! It only means that another university will proclaim you as a PROUD bar passer someday.

And yes, if — by some fluke– you don’t pass the Bar during your first take. Grieve, pick up the pieces, hit the books and take it again.

Some of the best lawyers I know, and some who are dear friends got booted out of their original law school of choice. Some of them didn’t make it their first and even second take– but they never let the dream go.

Believe in yourself. Believe that God put you there. . Do not waste the opportunity or squander away this gift. Remember the parable of the talents — these are yours.

Thank you, Mike. I am happy to have been a part of this journey and hope to one day hear from you, telling me you passed the Bar. In the meantime, I’m just a few keystrokes away.

Ps. I received an email from someone in Davao– I’ll get to you in a separate post.

Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.

My Future History Professor

My ten-year-old and I have two favorite mommy-and-me topics: first, he enjoys hearing about how he was when he was much younger, and second, how things will be when he grows up. Somewhere between that is “the now” of my soon-to-be fifth grader and mommy trying to keep him from growing up too fast.

I am just grateful that he never passed the “I want to drive a dump truck/garbage truck” stage which my youngest brother, Nikki, swore to in his early years. (And we were all relieved that he eventually did become a licensed Physical Therapist now working in one of the bigger hospitals in Manila!)

These days, my little boy is fascinated with Social Studies and the American Revolution in general. At the end of his fourth grade, he got the Social Studies Expert award with matching cheers of approval from the rest of his class. We, as the proud parents, beamed with pride, but he glowed with the recognition of his expertise and that was the most precious of all.

You can imagine how heartening it is to hear him say he wants to be a History Professor when he grows up.  He wants to study History and teach History.

I’m trying very hard not to let my dreams and aspirations get in the way of him forming his own. I want him to set his own goals in life– and I want to just be on the sidelines cheering him on. I want to see him get himself to a university of his choosing and pursuing his dreams to fruition. I don’t want to be the parent living her dreams through her child. That would be most unfair because we bring our children up to be their own person and not to be who or what we couldn’t be. If we couldn’t live our dreams, we should make new ones for ourselves instead of burdening our children with the pressure of succeeding where we failed.

We always want what’s best for our children, of course.  Well, most of the time.  I don’t want to be that parent who pins their future hopes and dreams on their children’s success.  I want to stick around for as long as I can and maybe watch him become a family man eventually.  But I see myself growing old around him, but not being a burden on him.

It would be great to hear him say “I want to be a lawyer like you, Mommy,” but for now, the fact that he is thinking of college and doing something fruitful afterwards is good enough. Maybe in time he will think of the legal profession.  That would be nice, but it wouldn’t be the death of my hopes and dreams if he chooses to be a rock star instead.  (Well, he doesn’t have the rock star voice although he has the swag.  Plus, there’s the prerequisite that a rock star career be preceded by a college degree.)

I was never goaded by my parents to pursue a legal education.  The one and only goal was to go through and finish college.  That I landed in the University of the Philippines was an added plus but would not have been the be-all and end-all of my post-high school life.  The choice to go to law school was totally mine, and a dream I had set my heart on as early as I was choosing my college course or the university I was going to attend.  At that point in my life, I was going to college with the end in view of eventually going to law school.

I have come across many young people who had thought about law school much later, or not even with such a long thought out aspiration as I did — and that doesn’t surprise me, and that doesn’t make it any less a valid dream or goal to aim for.  We go through life learning about what we can do and what we want.  These things change as our personality changes through our life experiences.  Sometimes we grow in ways we never thought we would, and we find ourselves suddenly thinking of things we never thought we would consider, like being a lawyer.

I’d like to think that my own life experiences will have some bearing on my little guy’s own life choices, but when it comes to the career or direction he will want to take when he is older, I’d rather leave the decision to him.  I won’t try to influence that one way or the other, except perhaps to convince him staying closer to mommy instead of moving to the other side of the country would be just as good.  (I’m trying to bribe him to actually stay here until he is ready to stand up on his own two feet AFTER college.. wishful thinking, I know.)

I would be on cloud nine if one day he tells me he wants to be a lawyer, too.  But that’s many years away, and I can wait.  For now, I’d be happy to encourage the dream to be a History Professor. After all, History is a good pre-law degree.  =)

Related posts can be found in the blog section LAWYER WANNABE which can be found in the navigation bar.

Friday Five — We’re making progress

I know it’s a Saturday but I wanted to enjoy yesterday’s Fourth of July holiday.  (THAT felt like a real Saturday to me!)  Long weekends are precious when you work the weekdays.. even more so now that school’s out and Angelo is trying to enjoy the rest of summer.

I did manage to move on with last week’s Friday Five and I’m hopeful that next week will even show more progress.  So how did I do?

1. Finish the letters I had started and mail them off.. – This one will hopefully get ticked off the list or reported on with some amount of progress next week. I have my stationery!  (Created by yours truly.)

2. Create a new ‘Thank You’ card for the Etsy shop. Done!
Thank you cards for the etsy shopSelling on Etsy is a whole production even if it’s on a one-woman-business-scale like mine. You have to put the extra effort to create a full customer experience, and as a buyer on Etsy myself, I’ve found great satisfaction in receiving a proper thank you even if it’s just a short hand-written note scribbled on the receipt printed off of the system.  I chose 6 of my own photographs and produced a 3×4 print out on one side and a blank back with a paper background for me to write on.  It’s going to serve as my calling card cum thank you card until this batch runs out.

3. Continue art journaling and finish at least an additional layout at the end of the book for future posts.… As you can see it’s partially done — and I think the more important thing is that I’ve picked up my art journal again.

4. Finish the items already started and keep creating!   I have been sidetracked by a new method I’m trying to learn — hammering wire.  But I have continued creating during the week.

5.  Start doing mail art again.  This one got off to a good start, actually, and I’m trying to kick off a postcard project that will use the mail art I’m creating.  For now, I’m dealing mostly with backgrounds but hope to show what I’ve been doing in a short film to show maybe in a week or two.  (No promises.)

The coming week will hopefully give me more time to continue the creating.  I hate to admit that the creative juices have been flowing to distract myself from other pressing issues.  I don’t want to think that it is escapism, but rather my own means of coping.  I am thinking.. I am praying.. I am trying to work out the things that are crowding my head and my heart.

Art — even my own — has proven to be quite the balm my soul needs in times like this.  We all have our coping mechanisms.  These are mine.

I want to keep growing as a  person no matter what obstacles there may be.  I want to continue to be optimistic about life.  I am trying very hard to keep moving forward no matter how that may prove to be quite the struggle.

Here goes this week’s Friday Five:

1.  Write the letters and mail them.  Before I left for home Friday, I made sure to pack my stationery in my tote.  I have those letters to write!

2.  Keep posting in the Etsy Shop and keep the Etsy Group going!  I had been designated by the Etsy system as team captain for being one of the more senior members of the Fil-Am Etsy group.  That means creating treasuries (lists of products/stores you might like given a theme) and trying to get more Pinoys whether here or in Manila interested.

3.  Destash my supplies and magazines.  I want to be able to get rid of the things I o longer needed and to oroganize what I have and need.  I continue to do that with my jewelry making supplies and am making progress on that front.  Every week, I want to be able to feel like something had indeed moved.

4.  Box the clothes that Angelo is no longer using.  I have the box, I have the clothes, and hoping to put them away this weekend.

5.  Kick off my Thank You Project.  I wrote about this earlier here and have been trying to get the project started, although not officially off the ground.  It ties up many of the other things I’m trying to do like doing more mail art and going on about postcards — but I’m trying to do it in an organized fashion.  (I even have a blog ready to kick off with separate from this one.)  It’s one of those “pay-it-forward” kind of projects which involves doing something simple and hoping it starts a bit of good going.

That’s it for my Friday Five.  I have a headache that’s been bugging me since breakfast and I am getting ready to do lunch.  I don’t think I’m going to go anywhere.  My bed beckons.  (Yes, in the middle of the day.)  I don’t really feel like heading off anywhere either.

But lunch must be taken cared of.  (Spaghetti for the mother-in-law… I don’t know what the boys are up for.  They’re out doing errands.)  I hope to try some more hammering during this afternoon.. and maybe boxing (number 4 up on this week’s list.)

Moving on with the list…