Monday Musings Boos

Monday musings in paper and inkI can’t believe that October is almost over — what with Halloween just around the corner.  Wow.  And before you know it, we are celebrating Christmas and then bidding the year goodbye.  We always find ourselves caught unaware although the passing of time and the arrival of the end of the year is a given.

Life just takes us over.  So back to the Monday ritual of writing random thoughts here.  (I know, I’ve fallen silent yet again.)

My Art Journal: A new beginning.  Yay!  I’m trying to keep it small and simple — and I’m working off of upcycled paper.  (Size: 5.5″ x 7″).  I managed to create the cover page and completed around five 2-page spreads to journal in later.  I am determined to get this going before the year ends, and I think for the first time in what must be around a half dozen tries, I’m going to get one going — FINALLY!

Granny Square crazy.  I thought I would do this project for spring next year, but now it looks like I’m going to finish my sweater in a week or two.  My crochet needles have been put to good use and if I could only start taking photos, I might actually be able to complete a post in the craft blog about it.  (Neglected space… I am not proud about that.. but will get to it soon.)  Crocheting has been very therapeutic for me, and I’m already on my 6th or 7th project for the year.  (Three hats, two triangle scarves, one still in progress, and now, a granny square cardigan.)  My hands have been busy, and I just love what I’ve come up with.

Back to meditating.  One habit I’ve been trying to get back into is meditating — but sometimes it can be such a struggle to find the time, but at least I am trying and will hopefully get back to it with more regularity. Not because I’m particularly feeling stressed– I just want to get into the habit consistently. Fingers crossed.

 

 

Long weekend by design

I’ve been writing this post in my head since Saturday morning, but I thought I’d chill and really enjoy the weekend by not doing anything. And I loved it! Although Columbus Day is really just a banking and school holiday (which means we labor on!), I decided to give myself a long weekend and took the day off Monday.

Monday and almost noon saw me still on morning mode. I actually got to sleep in — and then I remembered I forgot to turn my “out of office” on. It’s not really a work holiday for us but it is for my big guy so I thought I’d just enjoy the day off. Turns out he has plans with his Dad but I’m not complaining. I get to be here when he wakes up. He actually woke up before I did!

Work is light this week but I didn’t want to push it. I have the days in my vacation bank and I really need to use up the ones that will not carry over. Why do I need a reason for a day off? Resting and recharging is enough reason. I’m all for taking a break, more so after having quite a challenging week.

I didn’t make any specific plans. At first I wanted to take a day trip this Saturday but decided I’d do that another weekend. I wanted to not have to stress about anything. And there were shows to watch and things to do at home. (Like bedding that needs washing.. 4 comforters washed, thank you!)

I wanted to take a walk in the sunset but then the couch and the comfort of a warm and cozy perch was too good to give up.  My feet refused to carry me out the door.  The scented candles had me all hypnotized and set.

It was a productive weekend, and I got to rework and semi-finish two triangle scarves I’ve been crocheting. (I will write about that more in the craft blog.)

I went to the office on Tuesday with less of a “wish it was the weekend still kind of feeling”.  With only so many weeks left to the year and knowing that some of my vacation days will not carry over, I think I will plot my next few long weekends just to make sure I get the most of my “me” time.  I find that I need more “relax and recharge days” at this age — and it’s not just the physical — sometimes I just need a mental break.

I even allowed myself the luxury of whole wheat bread toast slathered with butter and mango calamansi (calamondin) jam.. for breakfast.. and then lunch.. and whenever.  I let the diet go and went on vacation mode, only to switch back when the work week began.  And that felt good.. pounds gained notwithstanding.

I have always said that we must be forgiving of ourselves first, so yes, I gave “me” a pass.  Can’t wait for the next long weekend by design.. hopefully soon.

 

 

 

 

19 for 2019 – An Update

For the past couple of years, I’d start the year with a list of things I wanted to accomplish, and I usually revisit it sometime during the middle of the year and before the year ends just by way of a personal check in.  Life’s been hectic, so I don’t have an update before today, and I don’t have a ton to report as accomplished, but I like going back if only to remind myself about the things I had hope to do.

1.  Read six books. – Take two. (Or is it three?). Reading has been slow.  I am trying.  Just to move this along, I’ve also started reading on my apps, but still crawling away.  And no, I’m not counting the audible stuff because listening is not reading.  (Plus, I do tend to fall asleep or wander off when it’s the spoken word.)  I am currently reading three books — so I am hoping that gets chalked up to the first half of the six.

2. Travel to one destination outside the tri-state area. – BFF Donna is planning to visit the US again with her family sometime in the summer had to cancel plans for a US trip so instead, I went back to Sydney for a quick stop during this year’s trip home.  Still hoping to do something different before the year ends, visiting another place outside the tristate area.

3. Learn something new via an actual class.  Working on this.

4.  Take better care of myself by exercising, losing more weight.  So I did get on the Keto Diet (which is begging for a series of posts) and I lost the weight.  I dropped down to a number that made me my lightest ever in practically the last 5-6 years, but there was a big BUT to the whole things.  Long and short of it is, I’ve dropped the diet, gained a few back, and trying to eat healthier.  I haven’t done as well with the exercising bit — but there is hope that I will actually find myself in the gym one of these days.

5.  Visit Central Park all four seasons.  I actually haven’t had the chance to visit Central Park all year, although I was at the periphery once or twice.  Fall being my favorite time to visit, (and practically the only time I regularly visit, at that), I will definitely drop by and try to come back each season hence.  (On to 2020)

6. Crafting reboot.  Although I haven’t been as diligent writing in my craft blog as I am with updating things here in my personal blog, I  have started crocheting again.  The jewelry bit needs a jumpstart, and I have to get on with the sewing soon.  Much progress here!

7. Destash more systematically. Still working on it, but I have been able to identify a lot to give away.  I need to work on the books, and the other things that I can just leave out for others to enjoy.  The ex had left a dinnerware set or two with me which I have absolutely no use for.  Time to leave them in the community dumpster with a sign and hopefully there will be takers.

8. Work on the Gift of 53. Epic fail.  The birthday came and went and I didn’t quite even get to anything close to doing what I did when I hit the big five -oh.  I am hoping the Gift of 54 will be a way for me to make up for being remiss.

9.  Write more.  For starters, I want to set a goal of posting once a week in the blogs.   (Which is principally this one and my craft blog.) –Although I have not posted once a week, I’ve tried to be more disciplined about writing and of challenging myself to write more.  I just concluded the 10 Day Writing Challenge which saw me writing spontaneously everyday for 10 days.  I must say I’m proud of myself, and am now looking at doing this for 30.  (!)

Work on my other social networking accounts by doing scheduled posts at least once a week.  Thing have rather slowed down, maybe because I try to be more deliberate with my posts instead of just writing something for the heck of it.  Still, my social media accounts are moving..

Resume my handwritten projects.  Journaling has always been such an outlet of release for me but I haven’t been doing it. Hardly did any in 2018. I am hoping I can go back to this in 2019, but I have not been able to despite a few slow starts.  I am thinking of doing something this last quarter, even if only to provide a springboard for 2020.  Let’s see.

10. Keep snail mail alive by writing a letter or sending out a card at least once a month.  I have around 5 cards written, but I really want to write the letters, and as of today, I am writing — just haven’t sent.  So this will surely be a happy ending when the year closes.

11. Rebind my art journal, begin a new one.  I just caught a glimpse of my art journal which I finished more than a year ago.  Almost two years now — and like I wrote up there, I haven’t been able to start a new one.  I am hoping to — soon.

12. Sample something new or visit a new restaurant or place (i.e., museum, intallation, etc.) and write about it.  I have visited a few restaurants but haven’t been able to write about it.  The museum visits continue to remain as plans.  Let’s see what happens for the rest of the year.

13.  Publish a postcard set.  I have the photographs but I haven’t quite gotten to this.  I am thinking this is better done in 2020.

14.  Visit at least one lighthouse.  At the start of the year, I wrote : “I would love to visit the Montauk lighthouse which I have visited maybe 3 times since I became a New Yorker, but which I last saw more than a decade ago.”  I’m actually looking to do this sometime soon, making plans, and hopefully doing it on the fly one of these weekends.  It is truly something I’m looking forward to doing for many reasons, and maybe this time, I might even catch a sunset there.

15.  Encode my poetry.  Another project in limbo.  The good news is, I’ve started writing again, although not quite as much as I used to.  The point is, I’m writing again.  After years and years of silence, that is good news, indeed.

16.  Visit more blogs / IG accounts. I joined “Medium” a few months back, and although I haven’t written anything in that forum, I have enjoyed reading others who right with a purpose, and who intimidate me into my corner by their writing.  It’s always a good read — and I’m just afraid that if I start writing there, I might actually lose focus here.  So, yes, reading other people more — and it’s been a fun journey.

17.  Do a fundraiser for Barangay San Vicente.  “My mother hails from a very poor community in Sorsogon in the province of Bicol.  x x x I want to be able to do a fundraiser for the young children there in time for the school opening. If not, for the Christmas season when my mom used to do a gift giving celebration for the young kids.”  I actually got to visit Barangay San Vicente this July after my mother fearlessly declared she wasn’t coming to Manila even if my son and I were arriving.  (And of course, in the end she did.)  It was quite the trip to get there and back — and I did take pictures, just not as much as I wanted.  And yes, I’d still like to do the fundraiser — just not hitting 2019.  For 2020 then.

18. Watch a live show or concert once a quarter. Another miss.  I have one quarter left — and hopefully will get that one show.. or two.

19. Undertake some home improvement projects. I’m almost at that time when the Christmas decorations need to be put up again.  I am seriously thinking of reconfiguring my living room, but it’s a little more complicated than moving the TV because I might actually have to reconfigure the cable connection.  And yes, the bathroom needs more work.. and the kitchen, too.  And I haven’t even started figuring out the budget.  Short of going DIY, I hope to get a few things done.  There is hope.

So that’s more or less where I am with the list right now. I’m not exactly disappointed but I think I’ve done okay. Plus, I do have a quarter of the year to go so all is not lost.

The 10 Day Writing Challenge – The Round up

I am proud to say that I finished the 10 Day Writing Challenge without missing a post during the period (please see links below for all the posts), and I’m actually thinking of doing something longer next time.

Yes, I wrote spontaneously — sometimes very briefly — but I wrote what came to mind or what was happening to me at that moment.  I usually found myself scampering to write before midnight, sometimes finishing the post just a few minutes after.  Surprisingly, the pressure wasn’t all that bad.  The topics weren’t difficult to find.  So I wrote on and you can see that the topics were varied, although most of them were about what I was thinking of at the moment.

There were posts where I wish I had more energy or time to write — they were like the many draft posts that never found themselves published because I just wasn’t happy with the content because I wanted to write about it more.  There were times when I got into the groove of writing, but then I lost myself somewhere and in the process, decided to hit the pause button. Not this time.

Lessons learned:

I can actually write everyday.  I just need to find the focus and deliberately set aside time to complete a post, no matter how short or how long a piece it is.

I can still write more than one post in the course of a day, but I am more productive if I focus on one until I hit “Publish”.

I should start writing early during the day instead of looking at the clock only to realize my deadline is looming overhead.  I know these aren’t my best 10 pieces, but the point was to write 10 — period.  I wanted to see if I can actually go 10 straight days writing a post here, and I did.  Some of my better pieces I did in one sitting, but without the pressure of midnight tolling.  So I still need the leeway to write and go and edit my work.   One thing I’ve learned is that that is best earlier during the day.

10 day challenge done! So what’s next? Maybe I’ll go thirty..

Out of Focus

One Day Soon

Sewing Decisions

Fridays be like

Slow Saturday

Getting back up on your feet again 

Autumn Monday

Taking it easy

When you fail again

Self love

Paying closer attention

Friday sunsetThat there, is my everyday view of an autumn sunset when I stay late enough at work when the sunsets come earlier. I probably have a couple of hundred different shots of the view from this perch and in our former building a few blocks down. I have two different views of the same landscape, and I can’t quite make up my mind which one is the better one.

Once upon a time, I only saw this on the screen and in postcards. You’d think that after almost two decades of looking at this cityscape, it would’ve become ordinary in my eyes. And yet I find myself continually awed by this breathtaking skyline.

I normally take pictures at the end of the day to capture the sunset, but from time to time, I’d do it when the skyline becomes a silhouette in the rain or under then clouds.

Muggy day

There is no view of this cityscape that is ever ordinary. Be it the play of lights or the shadows that the sun casts on the buildings or the water, nature’s brushstrokes never fail to amaze. You just have to pay closer attention to what you think might be ordinary– and there you will find the fabulous..

Simply breathtaking.

Self love

I always harp on the fact that we must take care of ourselves, too– something we forget when we are so busy taking care of others. Most people find the ideal to be putting others before yourself, when the truth of the matter is, you need to be whole to take care of the people you hold dear. So many lessons I’ve learned through the years come to mind. And these bits of wisdom need some reinforcement even in my own world. Sometimes we need reminding, too. (I do.).

You need to find your balance to help others keep theirs. There is always some chaos in our lives– be it at home, at work, or in the world we live in, in general. I am thankfully past my personal crisis which saw me take my journey to singlehood, but being a single parent to a teen has its challenges. I work in a fast paced and very demanding environment supporting a chief something in our company and there is the everyday stress of getting things done and making things happen.

I find my balance through meditation (which, unfortunately, I have neglected for quite a bit.). I have a subscription to Headspace which I recommend to friends. It’s really not the app — it’s the meditation that I recommend. You can find your own — it just so happens that this one works for me when I get to it. It’s literally a voice in my head.

When I cannot meditate, I try to find some quiet time just to recalibrate. I look at a picture or remember something that brings me to my happy place. Those happy thoughts can do wonders when we are besieged or otherwise in turmoil. Otherwise, our imbalance spills to others. You are human. There is only so much that you can bottle up. Dealing with your own chaos will help you find the calm you will need to bring that calm to others.

Stay beautiful– literally. Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. So if “beautiful” to you is no make up– that’s fine. But hold that idea of beauty close and live it. Do what makes you feel beautiful. Hair coloring? Red lipstick? Instagram make up? Wearing your favorite color. Do it for you and not because you want to be pretty in someone’s eyes. Accept your flaws and love yourself in spite of it! Even “simple” can be beautiful — just do what makes you feel like you look like your best “you”.

Be more forgiving of yourself. We are always our harshest critics. We criticize ourselves and mete punishment out as if there was no undoing our mistakes — when the truth of the matter is that we are simply being human. To accept that we make mistakes like everyone else is an act of kindness we owe ourselves. Kindness should begin within for us to be able to give it. Like one of my older mentors kept saying, you cannot give that which you don’t have. You cannot give genuine kindness if you cannot be kind to yourself, and that begins with self forgiveness.

Accept who you are– both the good and the bad. One thing I notice is that most people have a difficult time accepting compliments. It is actually easier to accept criticism because to some, swallowing it all is a form of self-flagellation.

When I was in grade school, we were taught by the nuns that the gracious way to accept a compliment was to say “Thank you,” instead of pulling an excuse out of thin air to deny the compliment. We were taught that that was “fishing” for more compliments because you needed to be convinced you were as good or as pretty as you were being told. Which was actually true.

Now that we’re older, I’ve had to do the same with fellow adults who had a hard time accepting simple compliments — and now they accept those words as truth without being bashful about it.

If someone says something nice to you, just say thank you. That is accepting the good that is in you– and there is a lot of that deep inside if you only let yourself acknowledge it.

Acknowledging we are actually good and beautiful is our way of loving ourselves. When we become comfortable enough in our own skin, we find something to anchor us to the ground when things get rough. Only in loving ourselves can we truly love another.

#10daywritingchallenge Day10

When you fail again

It’s been a couple of months since the 2018 Bar Exam results came out in May, and I’m sure the world has moved forward for those hopefuls, whether they passed or failed. Through the years before I passed to several years after, I always knew of someone who was waiting on those results. There was a sense of joy for those who hurdled the exam, and a sense of sadness for those who did not. Having known the struggle and having had a particularly challenging bar review and bar exam myself, I can only imagine the heartache and disappointment of not seeing your name on the list of successful board passers. I was one of the lucky ones who made it on my first try.

I still feel envious of those who can and could afford to take a sabbatical from work and devote themselves to reviewing and getting ready for the four weeks of exams 24/7, or even those who can take it slow even just the six months prior. I was only able to do that the four weeks that the exam was on.

It was a long and arduous journey and I clung to blind faith. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I studied and listened to the pre bar week lecture reviews and hung on to every word for dear life. During the exams itself, I had many friends who assisted me and made sure I got home and was fed. They brought me lunch for the breaks in between. And they prayed with me.

I am not a stranger to friends who suffered failure taking the bar exams. It isn’t an easy task to hurdle. And each time I know someone close to me has failed, I feel the pain up close.

I am hopeful. Yet I respect their choice to plod on or not. That is a choice for them to make. I can only stand by their side and support them in the decision they choose. My friend says he’s good.. he has achieved a lot in his career and to that, I agreed. He is already a success, bar exam fail notwithstanding.

#10DayWritingChallenge Day8