We didn’t do turkey or any big feast.  The truth was, I wouldn’t have minded skipping Thanksgiving altogether, but it was a stretch of four glorious days of a long weekend. So I relented when my little guy requested for “Mommy’s fried chicken”, then I bought some salads and tried my hand at regenerating some dried mangoes to mix with vanilla ice cream (a success!) and the shelf bought cheesecake filling (perfect when frozen!).. All in all, I think I managed a decent meal, and my number one guest, the 11-year-old, was all smiles.

After all the leftovers have been taken cared of and all the thanks have been said, I think it’s but fitting to list the things I am thankful for not just because it’s the time to give thanks, but because the year is drawing to a close.

I am thankful..

..for the blessing of family who have kept me going from day to day.  While I can say that 2015 has been better than 2014, it has been quite a year of changes and many leaps — oftentimes, of faith, as they say — and I have made strides in moving forward.  I have been blessed with the unwavering love of my family, and my greatest love, my son, who keeps me grounded in all that I do.

.. for the friends, old and new, who never let awkward get between us, even when others chose to stay away.  It hasn’t been an easy journey as some I had looked to for support chose to keep me at arm’s length. It has been a time for reflection as I literally found out who my real friends were.  It’s not an easy reality check to face, but face it, I did.

I have no bitterness for those who thought it better to stay in the sidelines, because those that stayed and held my hand more than made up for those who didn’t.  I found new friends who walked into my life as others tiptoed away.  I heard the wisdom of strangers that kept me standing  firm when I would have been knocked out. I found people who just sat and listened, and who saw me for who I really was.

Friendships, I had long ago learned, were not defined by how long someone had been in your life.  Almost like falling in love, but not of the amorous kind– it’s that bond that you feel deep down in your in your heart, even if you just met yesterday.

..for the gift of words that have enabled me to put my thoughts and feelings into writing.  I don’t know what I would have done if I had to bottle up everything inside me.  It doesn’t work for everyone, and writing doesn’t mean writing about everything that I think and feel.  Yet there are words and phrases and posts that enable me to get in touch with a part of me I cannot otherwise bring out any other way.  Like now.

.. for the blessing of having faith in the midst of it all.  I always say that I respect everyone’s chosen faith or belief or lack of it.  Faith is a personal choice.  And holding mine in my heart — both during the moments when I feel like I have nothing left to hold on to, and during those moments when the happiness or joy I feel affirms it– is a blessing I cherish.

.. for the means to express myself in the most elementary of ways, be it in scribblings, papercrafts or playing with colors. I kept busy to stay positive.  It helps me to channel my burdens into something productive.  When sleep or even just silence eludes me, I can find my calm and the stillness in other ways.  All I have to do is pick up a pen, my tools or just let my thoughts take me away to a story that unfolds in a constant daydream live streaming in my head.  I know that it isn’t always easy for others to filter their negative thoughts and energy into something positive, and while it has been an evolving process for me, I am thankful I can.

.. for being able to see the glass half full, even when at times I knew it was really half empty. I have always been the eternal optimist, and my brain and heart have been trained through the years to focus on the good rather than the bad.  It has helped me to mask the sadness and the heartache when I needed to put on a brave face.

.. for having the humility to laugh at myself, and finding the light in the midst of all the challenges and disappointments that came my way.  One thing I have learned is that we cannot take life too seriously, even when it seems to be hell bent on seeing us fall flat on our face.  I think it speaks volumes about how we deal with life when we are able to take it all in good stride, and laugh with those who laugh at us when we find ourselves down and out.  If we can find the humor in the sorry situations we find ourselves in, no matter how ridiculous or how tight a bind we might fall into, there is a better chance that we will get out of it with less pain or harm.

.. for the second and the third and the fourth chances I was given– which, in turn, paved the way for the fab discoveries I made not just about myself, but about the world around me.. There are mistakes that just happen and mistakes that we commit out of choice.  The latter being a product of bad judgment, or perhaps a miscalculation.  And yet life is generous with do-overs or second or third chances.. We often get a second stab at things in the most unexpected of circumstances.  Someone who may have offended us fades away from our lives, and someone else comes in who proves to be not a better replacement, but just a better friend altogether.  What we thought might have been a bad call resulting in a loss might actually be us being saved from ourselves.  I have had many such breaks in the last 11 months, and I keep trying.

I have been jaded, true, but never jaded enough to give up on life.  Disappointments have led me to lower my expectations in general — and perhaps it’s that lack of or lowered expectations which have led me to be pleasantly surprised when the good things come my way.

.. for never losing the courage to try new things.. Like the desserts that I discovered, the new things I got to do.. The things I got the chance to do over, and over and over again.  I have always been adventurous but never daringly bold.  So sometimes, something as elementary as trying out new food, being adventurous with my palate, or even just changing things up can lead to some wonderful discoveries.  We just have to take that “big girl” step to get there.  I had taken quite a few this year and I’m might proud of “big girl me”.

It can also be about the things we give up to focus on something singular.  Life can be so much better when we need to focus our energies on one instead of many voices.

..for the new appreciation I have for this city I call home, where I know I truly belong.  There was a time I thought I had had enough of New York City and had started saying goodbye.  But like many things that had come and gone, the feeling went and I realized this was where I truly belonged.  For all the heartaches and disappointments I have had here, some of my greatest joys, particularly in the last year, were also found here.  So to NYC, I say Thank you.

.. for my son’s resilience in the face of the changes the world around him has thrust on his lap.  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m putting too much stock on finding my strength in his, but he has proven to be even stronger than I thought. Perhaps it’s his innocence or his maturity — but this 11-year-old has pick me up from many falls, and he is still there, holding me up

I may not have celebrated Thanksgiving this year with much aplomb, but I feel the gratitude crowding my heart as I think about the many things I have been blessed with.  It was a meaningful Thanksgiving, yes, for different reasons beyond the turkey and the feast.

#Thankful for the #sunshine and the #blessings. For @angelogon2004 who makes it all #WorthIt every single day. For all the #ReasonsToBeHappy. #HappyThanksgiving.. #gothamchicksays #inmybackyard #pinaynewyorker

Monday Musings: Cold, Cold and Colder

MondayMusingsLogoIt looks like our crisp nice mornings are switching to cold and colder ones with the onset of near freezing temperatures here in New York. I’m trying to be a bit cautious with the layers, though, which is why I think I ended up being underdressed just a wee bit today.  I will live.   Days like this make me miss Manila all the more — even if everyone complains about the humidity and the heat and dreams of snow.  Keep dreaming — it’s not all it’s cooked up to be.  Ha!

So another Monday, another set of musings.

Layering.  We all tend to be in denial when it starts getting colder and try to ‘brave’ the cold thinking “Nah, it’s not THAT cold.”  Then we get hit by the freezing temperatures as we walk out the door.  Vanity has a lot to do with not wearing a suitable hat or cap because we all hate having to go through hat hair after spending time prettying ourselves up for the day. Then there’s that big decision on which coat to wear — do we wear the shorter and handier one or the long and bulky ones that might make us look like we actually want winter to come.

I’ve started taking out my winter scarves and will  be folding away the lighter, autumn ones.  And over the weekend, I started re-knitting one of the long and chunky yarn scarves which I had made last year, and worn only once because I had done it too long.  I’m trying to make it into an infinity scarf and I’m almost a third of the way through.  Totally excited!

I’m also putting away my ballet flats and polishing my leather boots, and gathering all other winter wear musts.  (T-shirts to wear under the sweaters, sweaters to layer, and gloves to wear.)

Getting ready for my tree.  I have an artificial tree which I assemble and disassemble every year.  I’ve already started clearing that part of the living room where it usually stands and will hopefully be able to put it up this weekend.  In the meantime, I’m making a mental note to look for the christmas balls we had done by color motif each year and fashion some window decor out of them for an additional festive feel.

New York City is getting into holiday mode and the tree in Bryant Park is already up.  I haven’t had the chance to browse the stores and visit, but I hope to feature that here in a forthcoming post.

But before Christmas comes Thanksgiving.  I am not so big on Thanksgiving but Angelo has requested I cook dinner (or lunch) this year.  He’s not particularly into turkey, so we’re going with chicken instead.  It’ll  be a simple dinner but I want to start a new tradition where we say to each other what we are thankful for.  I know that this year has been a challenging but very rewarding one for me, so my list will be rather long.  Or maybe not.

I was planning to make my famous leche flan tonight and had even stopped by the grocery to pick up some limes, but I didn’t realize I was out of condensed milk.  So I guess I am going to have to disappoint the girlfriends counting on their llanera of this Filipino version of the versatile flan.  I will have to make something else for dessert.  I’m thinking some homemade mango ice cream I will make out of regenerated dried mangoes and vanilla ice cream.. Yum!!

I have started saying my “Thank you”‘s.  We always give thanks in general when Thanksgiving can be made even more meaningful by saying thank you to the people who deserve it.  So this morning I texted a friend who is bound for warmer climes with the family this Thanksgiving holiday and simply said that “the friendship we shared was one of the things I am most thankful for in the past year, and I want you to know that that means a lot to me.”

What are you thankful for?  Ah, yet another blogpost.

#ThingsToDoIn2015: So it’s now November and..

Blog graphicAfter the August check in which followed the one  in March (the first quarter), I thought it was about time I gave an update about the list of 2015 “to dos” I had made in the beginning of the year. With 2015 almost ended, I am not going to kill myself over the things I didn’t get to do, but will at least try and move that to 2016.  (Me procrastinating again!)

1.  Read six books. – Don’t shoot me.  I’m on my 2nd book, but hope to make it to the 6th before the year ends..  I know this should be easy, but it hasn’t been.  It hasn’t been for lack of books to read — it’s just that finding the time can be such a challenge.

2. Take a trip to visit old girlfriends from SPCP/SPCQC — on my own — so that’s either Boston or California. – Boston, I am still hopeful about.  California is out of the question now, although I got a last minute invite to join my friend Peter in San Francisco.  Never been and had always hoped to go, but the fare and time spent flying to and from would be akin to taking a flight home which is on sale.  The only thing keeping me from jumping on that bargain to spend even just a week in Manila is that I have been home twice this year already, so that means while my Mom would love to see me again, she would kill me for the extravagance.  Ha!

And I did meet up with some fellow Paulinians over dinner in Manhattan which quite the warm hug to the heart.

3. Do another craft fair and learn new techniques.  (Visit one, not sell in one.) – So I missed out on all the nearby craft fairs of Heirloom Productions.  There’s one happening around Christmas time organized by another group but I am still thinking about that.  Been there and done that.. but it’s always a nice experience for crafters like me.

4. Take my little guy to ComicCon 2015.  (Epic fail!) I thought I’d be on top of this but I failed to score the tickets, so no ComicCon this year.  He did get to see Wizard World in Chicago with his Dad, and I alerted them to the WalkCon happening in NJ this December, so the tyke is happy.

5. Take at least one actual class beyond online.  (Yes, Elaine.)  Uhm.. next year perhaps.

6.  Watch at least 1 concert — hopefully Billy Joel’s at Madison Square Garden.. – It looks like Billy Joel won’t be this year.  Still hopeful.. still planning.

7.  Watch at least 1 play or musicale on Broadway.  And I saw God… =)  – Act of God, actually! HAHA!  Happiness..  Done!

8.  Go to the gym at least once a week — and maybe even earn a locker!  (Go 10x the previous month and you get YOUR OWN LOCKER the following month.) – Uhm.. next please.

9. Lose another 10 lbs at least before April  the year ends.  (Lost over 20 in 2014!) – I’m not going to try to make excuses.  I have managed to lose weight gained in the intervening months — and I am still at my current which is good — but working on breaking the plateau.. hopefully before January now.

10. Tweet/Instagram at least one positive thought every week.  (I thought “everyday” would be too big a commitment to make.) – Very good with this one!

11.  Find a rehearsal studio and actually spend an hour just touching the piano keys again. – Next?

12. Spend a Saturday a month, on my own, just roaming NYC or some other place nearby.  (Do something “only in New York”..) – While I have been spending the weekends at home of late, I’ve been good with the “roaming NYC” bit.  So this one is good..

13. Leave one preloved book out in the open once a month for someone else to enjoy/read. – Soon!

14. Destash: Give 5 items away from my current stash (clothes, books, art supplies, postcards) every month. – The good news is that the items to be given away have been set aside, I haven’t really been good with the giving away except one or two items as I come across them.  I am still trying to figure out the best way to get rid of my unwanted postcards — those not in my current collecting interest of Philippines, New York, Paris, both vintage and modern, lighthouses and maps.  Do I sell them?  Donate them?  Alter them and send off?

The ATCs, I have already decided, will go to some friends back home who are still into ATCs.  Books — I have multiple copies of first editions of a book series I thought I’d invest in.  Still thinking about that one.  And I’m getting rid of some household items which have been hidden in the cupboard or in the attic.  I need the space and I’m sure someone else can use them.. eventually.

15. Write one letter long-hand every month. – While I still need to write one this month, this has been one of the easier ones considering how I love to write letters.  I actually found a Christmas card I had meant to send off a while back but never got to, and I’m hoping to surprise my friend with the early Christmas greeting and a letter to boot.

I’m not feeling particularly victorious with the year almost ended, but I’m not feeling like it was all a waste of effort to even try to come up with the list.  It’s helped me to sort of focus which is good — and I’m hoping to do another list for 2016.  How’d you do with yours?



Monday Musings: Soledad and Company

MondayMusingsLogoI’m trying to keep my momentum here, hoping to post more regularly. If the pace at which I’ve been writing is any indication, then you know that things have been going rather slowly on my end.  Not for lack of anything blogworthy to write about — I have just been feeling lethargic.  Could it be the fact that I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 in the morning most of last week?  Last night was the first straight slumber I enjoyed which saw me not wanting to get up when the alarm rang at 6am.  I was just grateful it was an uninterrupted morning slumber that saw me opening my eyes all fresh and ready to embrace the new week AFTER 5:59am!

Reading again: Soledad’s Sister by Jose “Butch” Dalisay

This is a  bit of a personal journey for me because I am actually reading a signed copy from the esteemed columnist and academician, Prof. Butch Dalisay.   (Read the Wikipedia stub about him here and the Philstar Author Archive of his column, Penman, here)  I had received this book more than 10 years ago from a friend then, but had never gotten around to reading it until now.  It should be a book I can easily finish in one sitting, but it’s a good read you want to savor and take on bit by bit, like that sinfully delicious box of chocolates that you just hope you could keep for the longest.  Funny and witty and truly Filipino, the book brings me home.  I’m still reading, so you’ll be hearing about this one again.

New discovery: Bittersweet NYC  – Who doesn’t like surprises?  A friend had gifted me a box of Diwali treats to celebrate this Indian holiday and I loved every morsel of it.  It went on my Instagram feed no less than three times, with these simple pictures of individual delicacies against a white backdrop.  Pictured here is their fairy fudge, a small square of heaven with pink glitter.  Yes, pink glitter you can eat!  If you like to indulge in not-so-sweet and not-so-ordinary but yummy treats, you should give these a try.  I will try to write more about this in my shopping blog, GothamChick Shopper, once I get that rolling.  (Nothing there yet, so don’t get too excited.)  I do get adventurous with my palate and being Filipino, we never shy away from exotic food.  This box of treats reminded me of our own delicacies back home from the many regions that make our culture so rich.  We have our kalamay and other kakanins — and this is not that much different.  One sweet surprise was the spicy chocolate truffle!  I liked the way the spicyness crept up at the end after you got to enjoy the chocolatey goodness of that one bite.  They’re based in Queens but do take orders on their website.  Not so sure that they actually have a physical shop, but they do pop-up stores in Manhattan occasionally like over the holiday of Diwali last week.

And the holidays are here!  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet about what I’m going to do for holiday cards.  I am starting to think of presents for my little guy and the people around me.  Not too many to give away, but I have some things I had set aside to make into present for some people who I’d like to play Santa to this year.

One thing I’m doing differently for Christmas 2015 is that I am thinking of getting a gift for myself.  We always think of the season of gift giving (be it Christmas or Hanukkah) as a time to give to others.  Have you ever thought about you deserving something, too?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but I think one thing we must all do at the end of the year is to remember to take care of ourselves and cherish who we are.  What would be a nice present that would not break the bank, but would make for a meaningful holiday gift?

Lists and more lists.  I received my copy of the favorite list of dear Oprah, and I haven’t really had the chance to go through it — but who says we can’t make our own list of gifts?  (Trying not to make it too obvious that I’m thinking that would make for a good blog filler.)

Another review of my Things to do for 2015 is also in order — since the last update was August yet.  I’m almost dreading that list — because I am afraid I might not have made much progress.  From the top of my head, I know that I have to admit defeat in one or two which came and went and I missed it. (NY Comic Con 2015 for one..=(.. I know, I know..)

And never too early to start thinking of (1) The Lessons of 2015, (2) Things I want to do/accomplish before the year ends, and (3)  Things I wish I had done in 2015.  Okay, maybe not the last.  I’m not too sure that will bring me happy thoughts, but I think it’s a good way to check how one could have done things differently.

So we’re closer to the end of the year and before you know it, 2016 will be here!  This year has flown by… my boy has grown so much I am almost sure he will shoot up in the next 12-18 months and I’ll be looking up at him when I scold him.  Part of me dreads that, and part of me can’t wait.. motherhood.. !

Here’s to a blessed and fruitful week ahead.  I know mine has started off rather well, and I am not complaining despite the cold.. It’s just another New York autumn night..

Breakfast, etc.

Breakfast etcI had intended to take a picture of today’s breakfast treat to accompany this post, but it disappeared before I could.  I cooked up some Spanish chocolate and dunked ssome slices of Edam cheese.  Yum!  Not quite the quezo de bola that would have made for the perfect pairing, but when in New York, you make do.  I simmered the chocolate “coins” and stirred in a teaspoon of butter (to keep it from boiling over) and let it stay on the lowest setting to make sure it was all cooked through.  This is yet another one of my weird eating habits because most people wouldn’t combine the two in a cup.  I get the chocolate to near-boiling, and then I drop the slices of cheese into a cup of this sinful beverage.  I let it sit long enough for the cheese to soften (or melt, as was the case with this very soft Edam), and I scoop the cheese out with a spoon to eat with my bread of choice.  Today, it was just simple potato bread dinner rolls.

I really should pay a visit to the Filipino store in Woodside to check if they have the Marca Pina queso de bola available already.

The weekend has been quiet and uneventful, and I’m hoping to get more done today.  I’m just staying put at home.  I had offered Peter brunch in the city, but he begged off.  Perhaps it’s all for the best just so I can get more tidying up done.  One cabinet at a time.

I found the cake decor on Angelo’s first birthday cake when we did a Sesame Street theme, and while I had Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Elmo originally, one of my guests took Elmo and I was powerless to take it back.  (A special child of the ex sister-in-law… I do have a heart and decided not to ask for it at the end of the party.). That, along with some invitations (baby shower, baptism, and yes, my wedding) went into the memory box holding those tidbits of his younger years in my closet.  I just love how his eyes glimmer when we go through the contents of that box occasionally.  Soon, I will have to get a bigger repository of memories!  Keeping mementos has always been a weakness of mine — so much so that I have collected bits and pieces which are now totally useless and meaningless.  It’s uncanny how things change meanings for us through the years, and what once was so precious can suddenly be indispensable after a period of time.  So those that have lost meaning have found their way into the trash bag.

Not too long ago, I vowed to destash and find a home for the things I had hoped to get rid of.  I am collecting my Artist trading cards (ATCs) to send to my friend, Raine.  I don’t have the time to sort through the postcards just yet, so I am putting the unsorted ones in a box to be dealt with later.  Although I feel like I have barely done anything, I think I’m making good progress.  No procrastinating and that’s an accomplishment by itself.

I am seriously trying and working on getting things done, inch by inch, box by box.  I’m not going as fast I had hoped, but thinking about not being able to do it at the pace I was hoping to do it was just stressing me more and stalling my productivity, so I’ve learned to let that go.  Sometimes, overthinking things can slow us down more than help us as we try to move forward.  The point is to just do it.

I am trying to shake off the shackles that are keeping me from moving on.  It hasn’t been easy.  Sometimes I feel as though I’m making strides, but in truth, I am moving and not accomplishing anything.  Too many questions are racing through my mind, and the occasional unpleasant memory that pokes at my mind and heart don’t help.  I keep telling people I’m okay — and for the most part, it’s true — but there’s a part of me that is stalled and feels like a car struggling to get out of the pothole it’s gotten stuck in.  The important thing is that I’m aware of where I am, and I am trying my hardest to work my way out of it.

Sometimes it’s as simple as changing the photo in a picture frame.  I found one hidden behind a couple of frames above a tall shelf and saw a dust-covered photograph, a memory more than a decade old.  I wiped the frame clean and found something more relevant to my “now”.  I put that photo in my bedroom where I will be able to see it and be reminded of what’s important to me at the present time.  It’s a simple yet powerful reminder that I have to move on..  The wooden frame was etched with the word “FAMILY” and some emotional words that define it.  Even that has changed meaning for me and the new picture — one of Angelo and I — embodies what that means to me now.

I have started reading again.  That’s another blog post, though, so let me hit “publish” now before this starts languishing in my “draft” folder yet again.  Here’s to a wonderful week ahead for all of us..

I blog because..

I have tried to stay regularly involved with The Daily Post  which is really helpful to bloggers like me who are trying to improve on their skills on the web — be it photography, writing, web design or networking.  I haven’t been able to post as regularly based on their prompts of late, but I definitely recommend that you pay them a visit if you are not familiar.

I am subscribed to the daily prompts and the idea is to write a post and tag yourself in a comment following the post, so that you and other like-minded bloggers can give their two cents’ worth on the subject matter.  There are times when the prompts are very easy to write about like today. The question is, Why do you blog?

.. it helps me to chronicle not just my every day, but the thoughts and feelings that visit my mind and heart, and doing so enables me to see the world around me more clearly.  I have been blogging for 11 years now and it is always a journey to go back to older posts or even last week’s.  Be it to remember or look back or relive something that had come to pass, my life in words has been a way for me to reflect on what I have and what I once had.  Those times I look forward and instead dwell on what I want to do or plan to do, writing about how those plans are going or have changed keep me on the path I want to take.

.. I like to remember the things that made an impact on my life — people, places, things and feelings.  It can be something as simple as a beautiful sunset that just had me mesmerized at the end of the day.  Or the imposing Manhattan skyline that I say goodnight to as I head home.   They remind me of where I am and of how precious it is to take the moment to stop and look and just breathe.  I write about them or use that snapshot as a reminder of that moment, and even if I don’t go back to that post until years later, when I do, the feelings come back and I get to relive that happy thought or awesome point in time I just said wow.

.. I believe that we all learn from one another, and my experiences and thoughts can help someone as other people’s words have helped me.  I get many inquiries about law school and dreams about being a lawyer — proof of which is that my most read posts are those relating to this topic.  That was one big part of my life that I had lived through and had left behind, but whose lessons have enriched me in ways beyond learning about the law.  I am happy to have helped others who had questions that needed answering — perhaps a simple prod to go after one’s dream like I did.  I have met people in real life who have stumbled upon my little corner of the blogsphere, and I have been enriched with those interactions in ways I cannot count.

.. it helps me think out loud, and listen to my inner voice better.  That’s the reason why one of my most robust categories in this blog is “Just Me Thinking Online”, which, as of this writing has 365 posts under it.  It really is as random as it sounds — it’s not about anything in particular — just me speaking my mind out.  And I think we often forget there’s that inner voice inside us.  We often fail to listen to the one authority on us that we should really pay mind to: ourselves.  We get caught up with listening to everyone else but the heart that matters — because we think we should be last.  One of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned in the recent years is that that is one of the biggest mistakes we can make: to forget that we should take care of ourselves, too.  We have to trust that we have the inner wisdom to know what is best for us, even when it’s not that easy a thing to do.

I have always said that I blog for very selfish reasons — I blog for me, myself and I.  That others find my words worth reading is a nice pat on the back, but it won’t stop me from writing as I write now, or prod me to go in another direction.  There is writing just to write– and that’s why I’m here.  That’s the reason this blog has existed and will continue to exist for as long as I can spew out the words that find themselves online.

Monday to Monday

I am not at all proud of the fact that a full week has gone by with nary a post here.  Not that there has been nothing noteworthy or blog-worthy that happened in the intervening days, but there has just been a lot going on.  So while I never intended for my Monday litany to become a preview of posts to come, I’m thinking I will aim to develop at least two of whatever ends up written here into a new and independent post.

I was in candy heaven. The weekend has been a blur of candies– lots of it.  I’m almost sure my hurting tonsils last Saturday were caused by an excessive barrage of sugar it had weaned itself away from in the last year.  While I still indulged in the occasional piece or, okay– a bar– of chocolate, I have been pretty good keeping my consumption to a minimum. I am sad to report that I made up for what I missed over Halloween.  But all was not lost.

imageFor the first time, I donned a costume — handmade at that– and proudly sashayed to my doorstep to give out candy.  It was a last minute idea which I would’ve done a whole lot better pulling together, had I given myself enough time to come up with something better.  Still, I got a lot of compliments from the tweens and teens who came around to knock on my door.  I told them they should try it next year.  This early, I’m declaring I will come up with something even more elaborate next year and will start work on it weeks ahead.  There are a ton of ideas and inspiration out on the web.  It’s worth considering for next year if you’re thinking of doing something different and eco-friendly.  Think a newspaper gown perhaps?

My throat feels normal again and I don’t think my gown caused me to catch a cold or what not — and I made for some new memories of Halloween.  Speaking of holidays —

It’s time to think of this year’s holiday card.  I haven’t been very good with Christmas cards except in 2009 when I came up with a doodled tree.  This year, I haven’t totally discounted succumbing to the lure of store bought cards, but if I can come up with a design I’m happy with, I’m ready to make them again.  The past few Christmases have not been quite as festive, and I am forever grateful to those who have kept sending cards even if I have been so bad with sending out mine.  This year is a new beginning in many ways for Angelo and I, and while we are not quite where I had hoped we would be at this time, we are on a journey to a new life which I am really looking forward to kicking off with a holiday card.

Is it the moon or what?  People should chill.  I’m generally very generous with my time and cheer.  Perhaps it’s wrong for me to expect the same kind of optimism and positivity from the people around me, but I can’t help but notice that there’s a lot of negativity floating around today.  What a way to start the week… perhaps it’s Halloween hangover?  Who knows.  I was tempted to go that route myself but decided that anger was not worth the energy when I have other things to focus on.  There are days when you find yourself wanting to bop the cheerful and smiling co-worker who greets you a “Happy Monday” as you get into work — well, I’m that coworker today and I don’t really care.  I had long ago decided I will decide how I feel about the day — and I won’t let anyone try to convince me a happy day is not happy, or that a gloomy day cannot be an upbeat one either.  (I’m rambling, I know..)

Fall pictures, hopefully coming soon.  This is the most photo-gorgeous season in my part of the world — and I had started collecting snapshots of autumn in 2009 when I had walked the pathways of Central Park to take photographs.  I have managed to catch up but not as much as I had hoped to in the years between then and now, and again, I am hoping to do this on my own before the leaves are all on the ground.  There is such a dramatic turnaround that you can miss out on the splendid curtains of fire that the landscape turns into if you wait too long.  This year will be my second year doing it with the iphone, but I am hoping to grab some camera shots as well.  You can always monitor my photo adventures via my Instagram feed here on the sidebar or via Instagram itself if you have an account.  I’m there as GothamChick.

I keep wanting to make my own bags.. maybe start with something small?  A minaudiere perhaps?  I’m just afraid that if I get into it in earnest, I might forget that I have the store to prop up again..

And yes, GothamChick on Etsy will be opening again soon..  I have my first batch of new pieces ready and photographed.  The Sell on Etsy app has been installed on the phones with the pictures (edited and branded), and so I hope to start posting — maybe, just maybe — tomorrow.  I keep hearing girlfriend Laine Laine telling me NOT to purchase any new supplies and to concentrate on what I have which is what I’ve been doing.  I’ve also continued with experimenting with new ways to work my findings.  My metalwork hammer has been a buddy of late, and of course, my tiny anvil not far behind.  I’ve gathered my army of pliers in different shapes and sizes, and I’m getting to some serious creating.  With the holidays just around the corner, I have to get this up and running soonest.

So it looks like I’ve started the week with quite a mouthful here, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed I get to follow through.  Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of the many things that we need to do to get them done.  (For some, lists work.. there are times it does for me.)

Here’s to a fab and happy Monday for you all — wherever you may be, whatever you may be up to.